Delegates to the 19th International Amateur Radio Union Region 2 (IARU-R2) General Assembly in mid-October adopted ARRL-proposed changes to the Region 2 (the Americas) band plan as well as other recommended revisions. Representatives of 24 IARU member societies took part in the General Assembly, held in Viña del Mar, Chile, either in person or by proxy. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, headed the League contingent. Alternate head of delegation and ARRL Second Vice President Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, chaired the IARU Region 2 B/C Committee, which handled LF/MF/HF and VHF+ band-planning matters and proposals and made recommendations to the full assembly — or plenary.
“The IARU Region 2 has established this band plan as the way to better organize the use of our bands efficiently,” the introduction to the updated document states. “To the extent possible, this band plan is harmonized with those of the other regions. It is suggested that member societies, in coordination with the authorities, incorporate it in their regulations and promote it widely with their radio amateur communities.”
General Assembly delegates approved minor modifications to band segments and modes of operation within 160, 80, and 15 meters, to align the Region 2 band plan with the Region 1 and 3 band plans, where appropriate. Changes also acknowledged AM operation within band plans where it commonly occurs (e.g., 160 meters), and added narrowband (i.e., 200 Hz bandwidth or less) digital operation to accommodate such modes as WSPR.
The revisions adopted also called for changing references to 660 meters to 630 meters, to more accurately describe the wavelength of the spectrum actually allocated to Amateur Radio; adding 60 meters to the Region 2 band plan, and making minor modifications to bands at 13 centimeters and above, with respect to Amateur-Satellite operation — again, to bring the Region 2 band plan into alignment, as appropriate, with the Region 1 and 3 band plans. The General Assembly also approved various editorial changes to improve readability, and clarified various footnotes and definitions.
The General Assembly unanimously approved the formation of a region-level working group that will interact with Region 2 member societies in order to become better informed of and to track band planning issues, challenges, and opportunities. The working group will report its findings and recommendations to the Region 2 Executive Committee as well as to future General Assembly band-planning committees, and it would interact with corresponding Region 1 and 3 groups toward developing a more global approach to band planning. Driving formation of the working group was a desire to transition Region 2 band planning to an ongoing process, rather than addressing it every 3 years — especially given the rapid pace of technological development within Amateur Radio.
Mileshosky stressed that while the FCC provides more explicit direction regarding the use of Amateur Radio allocations in the US, other countries prefer not to regulate allocations by mode and to allow amateurs to adopt voluntary band plans. The Region 2 band plan was last revised in 2013.
Recommendations of Committee A, which addressed administrative issues, were also adopted. The panel recommended that the Region 2 Executive Committee ask the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) to request uniform technical treatment under International Telecommunication Union (ITU) rules.
The committee specifically pointed to problems in Mexico, where Amateur Radio is not considered an internationally permitted activity, and rules and regulations constrain licensing and activity by operators visiting from other countries.
The committee recommended voluntary coordination of operating and technical requirements between Region 1 and 2 member societies for automatic reciprocal operation, in accordance with European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) Recommendation T/R 61-01; countries accepting the CEPT reciprocal standard would permit operation by any CEPT-country radio amateur meeting its standards, and vice versa.
The committee also called for promoting the use of Logbook of The World (LoTW) and for the IARU Administrative Council to retain current QSL bureau oversight.
In the plenary, the General Assembly elected members of the IARU Region 2 Executive Committee. Elected for new 3-year terms were Reinaldo Leandro, YV5AM, president; Ramon Santoyo, XE1KK, vice president; Jose Arturo Molina, YS1MS, secretary and Area D director; Jay Bellows, K0QB, treasurer and Area B director; George Gorsline, VE3YV, Area A director; Noel Donawa, Area E director; Gustavo de Faria Franco, PT2ADM, Area F director, and Ernesto Syriani, LU8AE, Area G director. President Leandro encouraged member societies to participate more actively in the organization and thanked the coordinators and volunteers who cooperated in making the 19th IARU Region 2 General Assembly a success.
The proposal of Radio Club Peruano for Lima, Peru, to be the venue of the 20th General Assembly in 2019 was adopted unanimously.