International Radio for Disaster Relief (IRDR)

International Radio for Disaster Relief (IRDR)

Humanitarian Aspects of HFCC Activities

From its infancy since 1920s shortwave radio has been associated with its potential of being a communication tool in emergencies. This use of shortwave radio is still very much present among amateur radio enthusiasts for example, who discovered its long distance properties early in the twentieth century. Amateur radio provides a means of communication on shortwaves and other frequencies "when all else fails". This role of amateur radio is well recognised, valued and appreciated both by the public and by the world institutions managing and regulating the use of the radio spectrum.

In contrast the huge technical potential of international shortwave broadcasting that operates transmitter facilities tens, or hundred times, more powerful than those of amateur radio, remains almost unused in emergencies. At the moment when local and even regional communication and information networks are needed most, they are destroyed or overloaded and the population suffers from an information blackout. Shortwave radio is capable of remaining the only source of information.

Although the life-saving role of radio broadcasting is widely recognised by the public, and confirmed by surveys conducted after the recent disasters - and even acknowledged by world leaders - no concrete projects have been ever designed and no regulatory framework has been developed.

That is why the HFCC - International Broadcasting Delivery in co-operation with the Arab States and Asia-Pacific broadcasting unions are working on an International Radio for Disaster Relief (IRDR) project that is based on the system of online co-ordination of frequencies managed by the HFCC in accordance with International Radio Regulations.

Frequencies reserved for IRDR

Season A24:

Band MHz
Worldwide IRDR Frequency (kHz)*
Times Already Coordinated (UTC)**
Status 21 Jun 2024
6
5910 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
7
7400 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
9
9430 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
11
11840 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
13
13620 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
15
15650 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
17
17500 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
19
18950 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
21
21840 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
25
26010 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed

Season B24:

Band MHz
Worldwide IRDR Frequency (kHz)*
Times Already Coordinated (UTC)**
Status 21 Jun 2024
6
5910 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
7
7400 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
9
9430 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
11
11840 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
13
13620 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
15
15650 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
17
17500 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
19
18950 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
21
21840 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed
25
26010 ±5
00:00 - 24:00
✓ completed

*The channels adjacent to the frequencies selected for the IRDR project, at +/- 5 kHz, are part of the project too: their complete availability, free of services, is a mandatory conditions to guarantee the global reception of IRDR frequencies free from interference.
**The aim of IRDR is to coordinate emergency frequencies for 24 hours. This goal has already been achieved for the frequencies in 13 to 25 MHz bands. For the bands from 6 to 11 MHz the coordinated times should be extended step-by-step in good cooperation with the FMOs who are using such frequencies beside the IRDR timeslots.
in progress = In Progress
✓ completed = Completed

The HFCC is aware of the humanitarian aspects of international broadcasting. It pointed out in 2012 - as the UNESCO partner for the preparation of the World Radio Day - that terrestrial shortwave radio in particular is still considered as a powerful communication and information tool during emergency situations. Read more >>

Receivers are inexpensive and require no access fees. Shortwave radio is important for people living in remote and isolated regions of the world. It reaches across the digital divide to the most disadvantaged and marginalised societies. This is also in keeping with the Declaration and Action Plan of the World Summit on the Information Society.

The annual edition of the World Disasters Report of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) issued in October 2013 stressed again that with only 6 percent of people in low-income countries using the internet in 2011 the digital divide is still stark, and access to low cost media technology is really the key.

The HFCC is a strong advocate for incorporating terrestrial broadcasting permanently on the disaster risk reduction agendas of the ITU and other UN agencies and institutions. It submitted two documents for the ITU-R Working Party 6A November 2013 meeting:

HFCC - The Importance of Terrestrial radio in International Broadcasting
HFCC - The International Radio for Disaster Relief Project

Both documents are annexes in Section 8 of the ITU-R Study Group 6 Report BT.2266 "Broadcasting for public warning, disaster mitigation and relief". The report can be downloaded via this link.

A workshop was held during the November 2013 meeting addressing these issues. The web site of the Emergency Broadcasting Workshop can be accessed here. The web site also contains copies of all the presentations that were made at the workshop, and a Video interview with Christoph Dosch, Chairman of ITU-R Study Group 6 (Broadcasting service)

The HFCC has applied for membership in the CDAC (Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities) Network in keeping with the conclusion of the debate on emergency communication during the Bratislava B13 Conference. Read more >>

The HFCC is staying in touch with the Information and Communication Sector of the UNESCO agency on the preparation of the World Radio Days that are celebrated each year on February 13th.

Humanitarian aspects of terrestrial broadcasting were also on the agenda of the Global Kuala Lumpur conference in January 2014. Read Opening Remarks.

What's New

[7-Jun-2024] - B24 upload opened. Please review and confirm your contact details prior to uploading the initial version of your B24 data.

[29-May-2024] - Questionnaire on Capacitors - please respond by 15 July 2024. Please, kindly submit the simple form repeatedly for every capacitor type you use.

[26-Feb-2024] - A24 plenary minutes

[5-Feb-2024] - ITU-BR Circular Letter CR/501 containing closing dates for receipt of ITU HFBC A24 and B24 schedules, info on coordination meetings in 2024/2025, IRDR and the new eHFBC platform

[28-Dec-2023] - IMPORTANT: New requirement for foreign citizens entering Malaysia effective January 1, 2024

[11-Dec-2023] - A24 upload opened. Please review and confirm your contact details prior to uploading the initial version of your A24 data.

[13-Nov-2023] - A24 registration and hotel booking opened on the A24 Conference Webpage in the Member's Area

[13-Nov-2023] - eHFBC - new ITU online platform for HF broadcasting

[30-Oct-2023] - B23 GOE report

[20-Oct-2023] - B23 plenary minutes

[9-Oct-2023] - B23 operational data snapshot

[10-Aug-2023] - Follow up on the questionnaire on transmitter tubes and table by CPI

[8-Aug-2023] - B23 initial tentative data snapshot

[26-May-2023] - Encompass Digital Media Ltd are broadcasting Democratic Voice of Burma (DVOB) 1230-1300 UTC (daily) from Dhabayya utilising IRDR frequency 21840kHz transmitting from 29th May for approximately 1 month, providing special programming to Myanmar in response to the recent cyclone

[20-May-2023] - Sad news about Tom Lucey

[5-May-2023] - Summary of the questionnaire on transmitter tubes. The Questionnaire remains open for further responses

[5-May-2023] - Steps to apply for standard (non-ETA) visa added to the B23 webpage

[1-May-2023] - Encompass Digital Media Ltd are broadcasting Agricultural Voices Syria 0300-0330 UTC (weekdays) from Dhabayya utilising IRDR frequency 11840kHz transmitting from 24th April for 2 weeks of special programming educating farmers on how to grow and manage crops within the disaster zone

[9-Mar-2023] - Deadline for answering the Questionnaire on Transmitter Tubes has been extended

[1-Mar-2023] - A23 GOE report

[28-Feb-2023] - A23 plenary minutes

Archive of Earlier News Items

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