Serge Bertuzzo, VA3SB
RAC International Affairs Officer
Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN
RAC Special Advisor at World Radiocommunications Conferences
The sole purpose of the Defence of Amateur Radio Fund (DARF) Trust is to support the travel expenses of a certified Amateur as a member of the Canadian official delegation at the International Telecommunication Union’s World Radiocommunications Conferences (WRC) and Preparatory Meetings in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WRC is the mechanism that sets international allocations for all users of the radio spectrum. Our delegate’s role is to assist our regulator, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), in all agenda issues that may influence allocations to the Amateur Radio Service. This may include helping defend existing Amateur bands from being reallocated or being subject to harmful sharing by other interested parties. And when an opportunity arises, this could also include advocating for new allocations.
The DARF Trust’s role is to provide funding for our delegate’s travel and living expenses in order to attend these various conferences. While made a member of the Canadian delegation, ISED does not provide any funds towards his participation. As most of these meetings are held in Geneva, one of the most expensive cities in the world, DARF’s funding is essential. Without DARF, there would be no Canadian Amateur presence at these international meetings or in the many meetings that take place developing and working out what becomes Canada’s position.
Canada is one of a small number of countries – Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil – who regularly include a Radio Amateur in their official delegation. These Amateur delegates work closely with each other and with the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) representatives, including IARU President, Tim Ellam, VE6SH. This is important, as WRC voting is limited to member states.
The IARU is one of many industry sector members representing various special interests – telecommunications companies, marine and air carriers, etc – that attend, but have no vote.
World Radiocommunication Conferences
Our delegate, Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN, the RAC Special Advisor at World Radiocommunication Conferences, regularly keeps us all up to date – through articles in The Canadian Amateur and on the RAC website – on the issues and processes that ultimately determine Amateur Radio frequencies around the world.
Bryan was in Geneva, Switzerland in November 2017 attending Preparatory Meetings for the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19). These meetings were the fourth of a series of meetings which will continue until just before WRC-19 which is scheduled to be held from October 28 to November 22, 2019.
The DARF Trust was created by Tom Atkins, VE3CDM (SK) and Bill Loucks, VE3AR (SK), in 1991 to provide funding to ensure that a Canadian Radio Amateur would be part of these critical processes. Over the years, this need has only grown more critical with the explosion of mobile services and the need for more spectrum to service them. DARF is an independent legal Trust which is administered by RAC to ensure that any funds disbursed are only used for the purposes allowed by the Trust as follows:
1) Ensure that there are sufficient funds on hand for the Amateur delegate’s expenses to attend WRC meetings.
2) If sufficient funds are on hand, to also support travel to Preparatory Meetings when issues directly affecting our frequencies are being debated.
It may seem that this is a once every four year expense for the Conference. However, that’s just the end of one cycle of the process and the beginning of the next. Between one WRC and the next are many preparatory sessions where the real work to shape, negotiate and defend allocations take place. Our delegate typically attends two of these meetings each year, each lasting 10 to 12 days. Even with discounted airfare and hotel rates, it costs a lot to send a person to Geneva to work and live for two to four weeks each year.
DARF Trust Financial Summary for 2017
The summary provided in the table below shows that DARF is still viable and will be able to support our delegate for several years to come. However, inflation and the trend that new donations are less than expenses continues to be worrisome in the longer term. The insatiable demand for mobile device connectivity means continued and increasing pressure on spectrum from large corporate and government interests with deep pockets. Only a strong Amateur presence at the ITU table to defend the bands we already have will protect the future of Amateur Radio. Without the funds to work with, our voices will not be heard. So once again, please consider a donation.
Donations can be made online by clicking on the “Donate” button on the RAC website or sent to RAC HQ. One easy way to donate is to include an extra $10 or $20 or more when you renew your RAC membership. Please make your cheque payable to “Radio Amateurs of Canada” and note in the memo field “DARF donation”. Call or email RAC HQ if you wish to donate by other payment methods or have a question on how to donate.
It costs a lot to send a person to Geneva to work and live for almost a month, even with discounted airfare and hotel rates. We all experience rising costs and are aware of the loonie’s falling buying power. If you have not contributed to DARF, please consider making a personal donation and also suggest a club donation to DARF at your next club meeting.
Donations of any amount are welcome. Every dollar helps and it only goes to defending and expanding our access to spectrum. We especially thank those clubs and individual Amateurs who have made their DARF contribution an annual event. Special recognition goes to the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club for its two donations of $600 each, and also to Le Club Radio Amateur de Granby for its $600 donation in memory of Robert Leclerc, VA2RPL.
The summary below shows the worrisome trend that donations to support DARF have been less than what is needed to support our delegate. The continued demand for mobile device connectivity means even more pressure on spectrum from large corporate and government interests with deep pockets. This demands a strong Amateur presence at the ITU table to defend the bands we already have – not just the WRC Conference, but also at the preparatory meetings to be part of the discussion.
|DARF Trust Financial Summary for 2017|
|Donations and income on investments||$4558.15|
Thank you for your support
Special thanks to the following individuals and clubs for their generous donations:
- Pioneer Amateur Radio Club
- Francois Daigneault, VE2AAY, in memory of Paul Tremblay, VE2ARQ
- Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club
- National Capital Chapter (70) of the Quarter Century Wireless Association
- Paul Wickwire, VE6SC
- Jason Timmis, VE7AG
- Dale Jackaman, VE7GL
- James Thompson, VE3BCA
- BC North Shore Amateur Radio Club
- Mississauga Amateur Radio Club
- Allen McNeil, VE7BJA
- Ottawa Amateur Radio Club
- Penticton Amateur Radio Club
If you have not contributed to DARF, please consider making a personal donation and also suggest a club donation to DARF at your next meeting. Without the funds to work with, we won’t have our voices heard. So once again, please consider a donation.
Donations can be sent to RAC Headquarters at the address shown below. Please make the cheque payable to “Radio Amateurs of Canada” and note in the memo field “DARF donation”. Call or email RAC HQ if you wish to donate by other payment methods or have a question on how to donate.
For more information visit: https://wp.rac.ca/donation/
Radio Amateurs of Canada
720 Belfast Road, Suite 217
Ottawa K1G 0Z5
T. 1-877-273-8304 | 613-244-4367