Amateur radio includes amateur and amateur satellite services, defined as radiocommunication services in the Radiocommunications Regulation of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Management of these service is undertaken by ANACOM, within the scope of its assigned powers and responsibilities of spectrum management.
In the pursuit of its mission, ANACOM has considered it particularly important to promote this activity and increase its appeal, especially among new generations.
In addition to being a recreational activity, which is important in itself, amateur radio has great relevance in terms of radiocommunications experimentation and research, and in terms of promoting education in radio science among younger people. It reinforces the spirit of solidarity in the communities where radio amateurs are located, enabling communications by those who live in remote areas and, even, in extreme situations, helping people caught in emergency or disaster situations.
In this framework, ANACOM sent the Government a draft amendment to the Decree-Law that defines the rules applicable to amateur and amateur satellite radiocommunication services, as well as the legal regime governing the issue of certificates and of special authorisations to amateurs, as well as common-use station licensing.
ANACOM's proposal aims to consolidate a previous proposal to amend the same legislation: this was presented to the Government in 2016 with the intention of updating and modernising certain procedures.
The draft Decree-Law that is now being presented continues the process developed by ANACOM and the Government between 2016 and 2019, and follows on from the most recent work undertaken in 2020 and 2021 in a collaborative manner with amateurs and amateur associations, who sent contributions to ANACOM to improve the current regulatory framework for amateur and amateur satellite services.
The proposed amendments, with respect to the current regulatory framework, include the following:
a) Category 3 becomes a permanent category and is no longer subject to a maximum period of permanence; as such, amateurs in this entry category are able to broadcast autonomously on frequencies set out in a transitory rule, pending amendment of the National Table of Frequency Allocations (NTFA).
b) Progression between categories is no longer subject to minimum periods, so that the amateur can decide when to take each of the exams allowing progress through the various categories.
c) There is no longer a minimum age for accessing the activity. However, amateurs under 16 years of age may only take the exam with written authorization from a parent or guardian, under the terms of civil law, and may only use stations when supervised by an adult amateur of equal or higher category in access to spectrum bands.
d) Provision is made for a reduction in examination fees - for candidates under 25 and over 65, and for people with disabilities - and abolition, in line with some other countries, of the annual fee for spectrum use payable by holders of a CAN - Certificado de Amador Nacional (National Amateur Certificate), a measure which aims to encourage the use of amateur and amateur satellite services as a means of scientific and technological dissemination in the field of electronic communications in general and radiocommunications in particular, promoting general population access to radiocommunications through amateur radio, especially among young people.