Change in Amateur Radio rules in India to facilitate rising Amateur and Student Satellites
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Last decade has seen a rapid increase in Amateur Satellites, especially the once made by educational institutes. As we are slowly moving towards an era when Space will be democratized, more and more students are becoming interested in joining the Amateur radio community, just with the view of being able to develop and directly work with the space-technology (May it be in the form of educational satellite or communicating with the amateur satellites already in the orbit). Such increasing interest calls for certain changes in the rules to encourage more participation in this domain. Following are the few suggested changes and rationales for them. We hope WPC and Department of Telecommunication will consider them and make the changes and additions.
1. Allow Restricted Grade (VU3)license holders to work with Amateur Satellite Service: Unlike in past, when the satellites used to be in higher orbits or were less sensitive and one would have to pump a lot of RF power to ping them, today many amateur radio satellites like AO-92, ARISS on ISS etc. are in Low Earth orbit and have sensitive receivers, which can be triggered even with power <10W with proper antennas. By keeping the amateur radio service bound to General grade license, we are preventing a vast majority of restricted grade operators consisting of a major portion of students yet to get general grade license, from operating these satellites even if it is possible to operate them within the power bounds of restricted grade. We request you through this petition to allow restricted grade operators to operate amateur satellite service within their emission power bounds.
2. Grant special callsigns for Amateur Satellite and satellite groundstation setups: Nowadays, many educational institutes and organizations are building amateur satellites. Generally, these projects are multi-year projects and team involved in such projects change over time due to passing out of the institute or leaving the organization. As the satellites and ground stations are basically remotely operated stations with separate setup, one needs to give these stations operational callsigns. However, this rotation in a team makes it difficult to maintain the custody of the stations with a single person. Through this petition, we request you to make provision to grant the institutes and organizations special callsigns for these on showcasing capabilities of build and operate one. The custody for which should be easily transferrable to another person within the organization/institute. To avoid misuse, these callsigns could be made valid only until the time there is a valid amateur operator in the organization with custody of the same. The emission powers of these may also be bound by the limits of the emission power bounds on the grade of the license of the custodian.
3. Publish Portal and Standard registration procedure for development and operating amateur radio satellites in India: With the launch of a portal like Saral Sanchar, registering for amateur radio license exam is about to become easier and as members of this community we congratulate and welcome this move. Through this petition, we request you to add the ability to register for above mentioned special callsigns and of completing frequency co-ordination process for these amateur satellites from a single window.
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