Defending Our Frequencies
ARRL staff and volunteers work together in concert to protect Amateur Radio both domestically and internationally. On the home front, this includes working with the US government representing its members' interests by keeping in regular contact with the Federal Communications Commission, with other Executive Branch agencies, and our elected representatives the US Congress Internationally, they work to defend Amateur Radio interests by interacting directly in the workings of the International Telecommunication Union--the United Nations agency responsible for managing the radio spectrum and establishing telecommunications standards. International frequency allocations and other international aspects of radio regulations are determined at periodic ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC).
The Technical Relations team works closely with the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) officials and other IARU national societies globally, working to preserve the Amateur Radio allocations globally. The IARU is is a "Sector Member" of the ITU Radiocommunication and Telecommunication Development Sectors. The IARU and its member societies ably defend Amateur Radio through careful planning and coordination for each conference. All hams, whether members of their respective national Amateur Radio societies or not, benefit from this advocacy.
The World Radiocommunication Conference
The ITU convenes a World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) about every four years to discuss changes to the allocation of frequencies in the RF spectrum. Numerous ITU Working Party and Task Group meetings lead up to this conference. Broadcasters, government agencies, satellite users and emerging technology information providers all want a piece of this finite property. It is imperative therefore that Amateur Radio users worldwide be aware of these proposals and prepare responses that their governments can take to WRC-preparatory meetings. ARRL officials and volunteers actively participates in many of these meetings in defense of Amateur Radio interests.
The International Amateur Radio Union
The ARRL also provides support services to IARU. They include:
- Drafting of input papers to international meetings for approval of IARU officers.
- Distribution of documents to IARU officials from international sources such as ITU, CITEL and other regional telecommunications organizations.
- Providing support to IARU displays at ITU TELECOMs and other international expositions.
The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission, known by its Spanish acronym CITEL, is an agency of the Organization of American States (OAS). Practically everything that occurs at the WRC is pre-digested in regional organizations such as CITEL. CITEL is among the beats of ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, our bilingual staff member who maintains liaison with the CITEL secretariat and regularly participates in its Permanent Consultative Committees (PCCs). He also attends many other US meetings relating to ITU preparatory meetings.
The Domestic Scene
Meanwhile, domestic rule-making proceeds at a faster pace. The workings of our Congress are much better reported in the press than are the deliberations of these international bodies. Furthermore US hams can take a much more direct approach in affecting the outcome of congressional deliberations. Recent successes in antenna zoning legislation at the state level are examples of effective ham participation in the political process.
ARRL General Counsel normally takes the lead in ARRL representation before the FCC. Key ARRL staff make frequent telephone calls to several Bureaus and Offices and are at the FCC repeatedly on domestic and international matters. The result is that ARRL has good access and enjoys a professional working relationship with that agency..