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                                     Graham Shirville – AMSAT-UK

Background                                                      •   Antenna gain, physical size(s), placement(s),
                                                                    and pointing accuracy (if needed) will be
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) is the                 adequate for the mission
organisation the coordinates the international activities       •   Transmitter power requirements, emission,
of the national amateur radio societies around the                  and coding types will be selected for
world and has more than 150 members in the three                    efficiency and performance
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)                     •   Receiver design will be selected for
Regions.                                                            sensitivity, bandwidth, and susceptibility to
                                                                    interference so that it will perform adequately
Both the Amateur Service and the Amateur Satellite                  for the mission
Service are defined in the ITU Radio Regulations. The           •   Space station power generation and storage
IARU helps to ensure that the ITU gives radio                       will be adequate for the mission
amateurs the best available access to frequencies in the
whole radio spectrum and works within the amateur
                                                            Radio frequency (RF) planning at the beginning of the
radio movement to ensure the best possible level of
                                                            project will mean fewer design changes, lower project
spectrum management within the allocated spectrum.
                                                            costs, and a greater chance of the project succeeding.

The Amateur Satellite Service                               Our documentation will help by explaining and
                                                            defining some basic frequency management issues to
The Radio Regulations provide access to a number of         help at the beginning of RF planning. Important topics
HF, VHF, UHF and microwave frequency bands for              include:
the Amateur Satellite Service.
                                                                •   Treaty basis for worldwide radio regulation
A number of these frequencies are shared with                   •   Special frequency management terms and
terrestrial amateur and other non amateur activity so a             definitions
“clear channel” cannot be assured.                              •   Frequency coordination process
                                                                        o Amateur service and amateur-
                                                                             satellite service station coordination
The IARU Service                                                        o Starting the frequency coordination
The IARU team is able to provide a full set of                          o IARU frequency coordination
background information which enables potential users                         assistance
with information and advice concerning the need for                     o International frequency planning
careful and detailed mission planning -- particularly                        requirements
radio frequency planning.                                       •   Operational guidelines
                                                                        o Amateur satellites
                                                                        o Station control
Working out space station and Earth station operating
                                                                        o Multi-service satellites
frequencies and link operating parameters at the very
                                                                        o Permissible communication
beginning of the design process means:
                                                                        o Open access
                                                                        o Broadcasting (not permitted!)
    •    Communication links will work because the              •   Review of mission plans and service options
         link budget is planned to be adequate for the
Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination                     Examples of such technical investigations include:
                                                             propagation studies, operational analysis of protocols
Amateur radio satellites present a special challenge         used for digital voice and data communication,
because satellites may have global effects. Only a           development of attitude determination methods,
global frequency coordination system can work.               development of command and control procedures,
Uncoordinated satellites would cause harmful                 studies of radiation effects on various electronic
interference to stations around the world and receive        components, studies of meteor trail reflection, and
interference from them -- which could result in failure      measurement of the orbital environment useful in
of the mission.                                              designing future amateur satellites.

The IARU Administrative Council has appointed Hans           The Radio Regulations also require that “Space
van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV as the IARU Amateur                stations shall be fitted with devices to ensure
Satellite Advisor. He has appointed a panel of experts       immediate cessation of their radio emissions by
to assist him to coordinate frequencies and assist           telecommand, whenever such cessation is required
satellite builders and prospective builders with advice.     under the provisions of these Regulations" This
                                                             requirement applies to all space stations, not just those
                                                             operating under amateur licenses."
The coordination process is started by satellite project
managers completing and emailing an application to
the Advisor, who will submit it for review by the            Finally, of course, activities in the amateur satellite
panel. Normally this process takes only a few weeks          service should always consider the opportunities for
but in some situations more information can be needed        amateur radio payloads in addition to telemetry
and it may take longer as a result.                          downloads and telecommand uplinks. By this means
                                                             developers can be certain of obtaining the highest
The IARU frequency coordination process does not             possible level of support from the worldwide amateur
                                                             radio community!
replace the Radio Regulations requirement for
notification of the operating frequencies of the satellite
to the ITU. These notifications have to be made by the       Links
National PTT or similar Governmental Organisation
that is responsible for RF Regulatory matters. The           More information is available from these websites:
exact process varies between countries – even between
EU Member States.                                   - for full information

For University and similar “smallsat” projects, the use - for details on the
of frequencies within the Amateur Satellite Service          current coordination status of individual satellites
results in number of benefits but imposes a number of
responsibilities and constraints.                            or send an email to satcoord @

The benefits include the possibility of “acquiring” an
instant worldwide ground station network, a frequency
planning system and availability of simple COTS

The responsibilities and constraints include limitations
in regards to encryption systems and the need for a
licensed radio amateur to be the responsible operator.
Note: In many countries they cannot be employed by
the owning organisation.

The purpose of an amateur satellite should be related
to one of the purposes of the amateur services, i.e.,
self-training, intercommunication, and technical

Technical investigations carried out using frequencies
allocated to the amateur-satellite service should be
relevant to the development of "radio technique," that
is, have a reasonable possibility of application to the
development of radio communication systems.

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