Sunday, February 26, 2006

Shortwave Broadcasters Seek More Spectrum Space


Shortwave radio is alive and kicking. In fact there are not enough frequencies to go around. Current allocation is densely utilised. To resolve the matter some 130 frequency managers from 60 shortwave broadcasters met in Haikou, Hainan, PRC February 14-17 to discuss exactly how to open up the spectrum further at the 4th Global Shortwave Co-ordination Conference in preparation for the upcoming ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2007 (WRC-07).

The co-ordination conference was hosted by the Radio and Television of the People’s Republic of China (RTPRC).

Sharad Sadhu, Head of Technology Transmission and Spectrum in the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU )said that shortwave broadcasters had clearly demonstrated the need for additional spectrum to meet requirements of their ongoing services that currently stand at 7350 daily transmissions and overcome current congestion in the allocated spectrum in the 4–10 MHz band.

Interference was eliminated in 19 percent of services that were deemed to be affected. When these channels are put to use for transmissions in the last week of March onwards, reception quality is expected to improve significantly.   

On the sidelines of the conference, meetings of the ABU-HFC and HFCC/ASBU Steering Committees took place where several significant decisions on the future development of the frequency coordination were taken. Emphasis was placed on monitoring of quality of transmissions and elimination of ‘wooden transmissions’ – frequencies assigned but not used. Technical experts of all the Coordination Groups also finalised procedures for a more enhanced interference detection system.

The Global Coordination Conferences have evolved over the years after the three coordination groups, the ABU-HFC, HFCC and ASBU decided to work together on a worldwide scale where the objective of the annual conferences is to produce methods and tools to resolve interference and improve the quality of shortwave radio service. The ABU-HFC group, set up by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union in 1996 includes 38 broadcasters in Asia-Pacific and in Europe, Africa and North America. The next meeting of the group will take place in Kuala Lumpur in January 2007.

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