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World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC)

Every few years the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) holds a World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) to review and revise the international Radio Regulations in accordance with an agreed agenda. The most recent WRC was held in January - February 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. The next WRC is also scheduled to be held in Geneva, 2 - 27 November 2015.

WRCs are large affairs. WRC-12 attracted more than 3,000 delegates from 165 countries. They considered about 30 agenda items, including one that led to the creation of a new secondary allocation to the amateur service at 472 – 479 kHz.

The predecessor to the WRC was the World Administrative Radio Conference, or WARC. Until 1992 WARCs were held on a more irregular basis than are WRCs today. The most significant WARC from the Amateur Radio perspective was held in 1979; it was at this conference that the amateur bands at 10.1, 18.068 and 24.89 MHz were allocated. The original plan for WRCs was for them to be held every two years in order to keep up with rapid changes in technology, but budgetary and other practical considerations have caused them to be scheduled less frequently.

Preparations for a WRC begin literally on the day after the close of the previous WRC. A short Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) is held to lay out the plan of preparatory work by the relevant Study Groups (through their Working Parties) of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector and the Special Committee for regulatory/procedural matters. This work culminates in a longer CPM held several months prior to the WRC. This second CPM prepares a consolidated report of several hundred pages on the regulatory, technical, operational and procedural matters to be considered by the WRC.

As a Sector Member of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector, the IARU is able to participate fully in the preparatory work. In addition, the ARRL and some other national member-societies of the IARU participate in the domestic preparations in their respective countries and on their national delegations. The IARU regional organizations participate in the preparations of the regional telecommunications organizations such as CITEL. The IARU is invited to attend WRCs as an observer in an advisory capacity.  


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