Opening Remarks to the Athens Conference by Oldrich Cip, HFCC Chairman

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues, Distinguished Guests:

We are grateful to the President of ERT Mr. Panagopoulos and Mr Antonis Andrikakis, Director General of Greek Radio for inviting us to Athens. Our HFCC/ASBU Conference has been very much honoured by the invitation to a city whose ancient past was one of the largest contributors to present-day civilization. Geographically speaking it is nearer to home for quite a number of us but others had to cross again a number of time-zones to be here.

We have become a recognised organisation in the radiocommunications field and a sector member of the International Telecommunication Union among other international and regional bodies like the EBU and other broadcasting unions. After a number a decades the very overloaded low frequency part of the spectrum for broadcasting now stands a chance of being enlarged during the World Radio Conference next year. Parts of an important HFCC document that was approved by our last Plenary Meeting in China were incorporated into a number of ITU documents including the text and report to the Conference Preparatory Meeting of administrations. The proposals of our association which are frequently formulated by Geoff Spells - who has now become the member of the Steering Board are not aimed at the requests for additional spectrum for broadcasting only but express our effort to seek overall solutions for that agenda item.

With this idea in mind we agreed in Hainan to raise awareness of the need for positive adjustments of the radio spectrum by addressing administrations either by writing to them from us here or through direct contacts from our members. Unfortunately, we received a handful of contact names and addresses only but these actions are still very much needed. Just before this conference we have decided to improve publicity to this issue by making the HFCC WRC07 Document available in the public area of the website.

One of the principal objectives set forth in the articles of our association is to facilitate and improve global co-ordination of international broadcasting on shortwaves. Novelty improvements in co-ordination procedures are introduced almost every time we meet, and the present Athens conference is not an exception. As you have read in the What s New column of the website or in a reflector-distributed message an almost real-time collision detection and an improved display of collision files has been introduced into our co-ordination. Participants of the Athens conference will have at their disposal for the first time collision lists based on a calculated signal-to-interference ratio - in addition to the lists produced with the old method of detection. I am sure that Jan Willem will take up this subject in more detail after these opening remarks.

While our methods of co-ordination are becoming more and more accurate and sophisticated the same old perennial concern remains: Are we going to keep on applying these exact methods to databases of frequency requirements that are all always accurate? The SB agreed recently to devote more time to the issues related to monitoring here in Athens and to considering further initiatives.

PLT that means telecommunications systems - especially internet - using power lines has been another burning issue for all users of the spectrum below 30 or even 80 MHz. The approval of the American FCC of the BPL that is Broadband over Power Lines system has made a disturbing news this month.

At the same time work on a draft New Recommendation is in progress in the ITU on protection against interference from the power-line sources. This is another subject recommended to be discussed and explained during contacts with the administrations in our home countries. The aim is in that they should support the approval of the Recommendation and take it into account when setting the national standards.

On the contrary the solution of interference between AM and DRM transmissions reported and discussed in our meetings rests mainly on our shoulders. It is quite important that all FMOs (and especially those who enter DRM requirements are aware of the idea of trying to locate DRM transmissions in the same part of a band in clusters and adjacent to each other. This has has been suggested by our last Plenary and also in the conclusions of the Steering Board meetings.

But let us turn to our conference and to its preparation: We have been in touch with the Greek colleagues for a number of weeks now and I can say quite frankly that there would be no conference in Greece without the personal effort and dedication of our colleague and friend Sotiris Vorgias, ERT Engineer in the office of the Director General and his colleague Babis Haralambopoulos from the Technical Department. They have both worked hard on the conference preparation - and as we all know - have made an excellent Greek team during all coordination conferences in the past eight years.

Our Athens Conference Team has consisted almost exclusively of ladies. We would like to thank especially to Mrs. Sofia Tari from the Foreign Relations Department, To Mrs. Lena Kartsonaki from ERA5 and also to Anna and Monica who have been in touch with us during the registration and hotel booking procedures. Their work in the high tourist season was not easy and we are going to think about the measures on how to make this work easier for the future hosts.

The proverb I have chosen this time is from the Greek and it relates directly to the start of our meeting: "The beginning is the half of every action" , it says, and I am sorry that I have not succeeded in learning its Greek version. Anyway, after going through the lists of collisions calculated by the more exact method maybe that that this is a bit over-optimistic under the circumstances. And with this thought I am handing over the microphone first to Horst and then to Jan Willem. Thank you!