RADIO SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT ISSUES FOR RADIO ASTRONOMERS

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An IAU Symposium on Preserving the Astronomical Sky will be held in Vienna, Austria 12-16 July 1999.

There are many issues regarding spectrum management that are a critical concern to radio astronomy and radio astronomers. The FCC is the major federal organization that regulates and mediates the licensing of the spectrum for civilian use including protection bands and areas in country for passive use such as radio astronomy and earth observations. I am still trying to sort out the relative roles of the FCC and the executive branch's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA .

Every two years there is an international gathering, the World Radiocommunication Conference or WRC , to decide on global allocation issues. The next WRC is in October 1997. The international body in charge is the International Telecommunications Union, or ITU , with its headquarters in Geneva.

The US radio astronomy observatories commit significant resources to local interference monitoring and reduction and to participation in US and International spectrum management issues that are of vital concern to the future of radio astronomy. At NRAO Green Bank there is a National Radio Quiet Zone ( NRQZ); they have recently established an interference protection group .

The NRAO Very Large Array, VLA, provides a summary of interference in their observing bands, memoranda and Bill Brundage's summary of World Radio Astronomy Frequency Allocations. There is also a summary of RFI at the NRAO Very Long Baseline Array, VLBA sites.

Willem Baan at The Netherlands Foundation for Radio Astronomy maintains a web site to inform radio astronomers about activities of the International Council of Scientific Unions, IUCAF , activities in the area of spectrum management.

Tapasi Ghosh maintains Arecibo Observatory site information about spectrum management issues and interference monitoring activity at the Arecibo Observatory.

Tom Gergely is current head of the Electromagnetic Spectrum Management section of the Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST) which is in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate (MPS) of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Electromagnetic Spectrum Manager represents the interests of the U.S. scientific community in the field of telecommunications management and regulation at national, as well as international forums. For additional information refer to AAS Committee on Light Pollution, Radio Interference and Space Debris.

The US National Research Council (NRC) which is part of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has a number of Boards on Physics and Astronomy (BPA). One of these is the Committee on Radio Frequencies, CORF; here you will find a set of views, list of US radio observatories, and links to IUCAF and ITU. There is a link there to the European equivalent that I will repeat here: the Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies or CRAF . They have issued a handbook on radio astronomy with valuable summary of our service. The US CORF also has a handbook, contact NAS.