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Proposed changes to aviation frequency use

The UK communications regulator has decided to allocate frequencies in the aviation frequency band to the Programme Making and Special Events industry thus creating a potential risk to aviation users. Other EU communications agencies are proposing the same.

Ofcom (the UK’s communications regulator) has decided to move the Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) industry into the 960-1164 MHz frequency band (the “air band”), which is globally allocated for use by aviation communications, navigation and surveillance systems and is also used for certain military systems. Although the impact of this has not yet been assessed by all industry stakeholders, it does seem credible that this change will pose increased risk to aviation operations. 

  • Many cooperative aviation surveillance systems, including conventional SSR, Mode-S, ADS-B and MLAT, use 1030 MHz for uplink and 1090 MHz for downlink, ACAS/TCAS systems also use this pair of frequencies. 
  • DME operates in the frequency band 960-1215 MHz, avoiding guard bands around 1030 and 1090 MHz. 
  • Similar with TACAN. 
  • GNSS is to operate in the band 1164–1215 MHz.
  • SESAR envisages that the Future Communications System (air/ground and air/air data link) will also use this frequency band, e.g. for clearances, route changes and airborne separation. 

Ofcom are holding a stakeholder event at their London office on Monday 16 January 2017 from 10:00-12:30. The point of contact is Martin Brock: Martin.Brock@ofcom.org.uk

Ofcom communication: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0026/96254/Ofcom-CAA-joint-communication-on-PMSE-sharing-in-the-960-1164-MHz-band.pdf

Ofcom consultation (completed): https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-2/new-spectrum-audio-pmse