Intruder Watch is the process under which radio amateurs observe and report on stations heard inside Amateur Bands that should not be there.
This is a good news story that we received from the WIA Reform Group.
An amateur in New Zealand brought an intruder alert to the attention of the WIA Reform Group in December 2016. Attempts to raise the matter with the WIA failed, as the Intruder Watch email address is inactive. Try it for yourself: firstname.lastname@example.org
This intruder report relates to Australian Department of Defence CW signals on 7, 14, 21 and 29.7MHz. Not only have observations been made, but further investigation reveals that these allocations had been licensed to the Navy by the ACMA. That's right, licences have been granted to Defence within primary amateur allocations under ITU Regulations. The licence allowed 250 watts of CW on 7.000, 14.000, 21.000 and 29.700 MHz...
The WIA Reform Group submitted a report to the ACMA on the 30th December 2016 along with a recommendation that the Defence allocations be shifted below (or above) the primary Amateur Band allocations. On the 19th January 2017, the Reform Group received an acknowledgement from the ACMA, along with advice that the Defence Department allocations would be moved.
This removal of an intruder was successful for two reasons; two parties took an interest and took action.
The first party, a concerned radio amateur, took the time to identify and report the intruder. He conducted some research and provided adequate information.
The second party, a small group of concerned radio amateurs, took the time to review the report, conduct further analysis and then take action. They took effective action; they reported the intrusion to the ACMA along with supportive evidence and also offered a solution.
Why is this important?
The latest WIA Monitoring System report, available from the WIA web-site, shows 496 observations of potential intruders into our bands in December alone.
The Reform Group asks: What is the WIA doing about these reported incursions? Is any analysis being done to determine how many might have originated from within our own borders, thereby allowing ACMA to take some action. Have the ACMA received, reviewed and provided any feedback on these reports?
They go on to say that: Radio spectrum is a finite resource, and in recent years has become extremely valuable to commercial and government users. Whilst this example may have been a narrow band Continuous Wave signal on our band edges, what could happen next if we don't take action? Some wide band digital mode or other experimental signal? Worse still, incursions by commercial users? Those of us who enjoy the 40 metre band in particular will be well aware of the QRM that's has a massive negative impact from our northern neighbours. And of course, every HF user will be aware of the Over the Horizon Radars out of Russia.
You can read the entire report in the Reform Group website at wiarg.org.