An International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) working group has been formed to develop solutions to reduce congestion within very popular mode segments while preventing mutual interference between “incompatible modes” as much as possible. The working group includes representatives of the three regional band-planning committees, marking the first time the IARU three regions have joined together to directly coordinate band planning efforts.
“Because frequency allocations and amateur radio operating interests vary in different parts of the world, the development of band plans — voluntary guidelines on the use of the spectrum that is available to radio amateurs — is a responsibility of the three IARU regional organizations,” the IARU explained in announcing the working group. “Each of the three regions has a band-planning committee to focus on this work.”
The IARU says this approach to band planning has generally kept pace with the evolution of amateur radio operating, but the explosive growth in HF digital modes, particularly FT8, has led to perceived overcrowding of HF digital-mode band segments.
The new working group has already had fruitful discussions with the WSJT Development Group led by Joe Taylor, K1JT. Additional discussions, including with other HF stakeholders, will be held as part of a fundamental review of the different HF digital modes, and how they can be best categorized and arranged to share the limited spectrum available.
In recent years, moves have been made to bring the regional band plans into alignment wherever possible. Final approval of any band plan revisions typically occurs during regional conferences of IARU member-societies, held every 3 years on a rotating basis.
While the proposed band plan revisions will have to be approved by member-societies in each region, recent administrative changes mean that revisions can be implemented without having to wait for the regional conferences.
Amateurs can follow the working group’s progress through their IARU member-societies and their respective IARU websites (all are accessible via the main IARU page).