New European Wavelengths Plan 

15 January 2023 tbs.pm/77305

 

Cover of World-Radio for 30 June 1933

From ‘World-Radio’ for 30 June 1933

The New Wave Plan

 

On June 19 the meeting of European Governments known as the Lucerne Conference, which was opened on May 15, brought its considerable labours to an end. The result we have in the wave plan, known as the “Plan de Lucerne,” which we print below. This Plan forms an annexe of the Convention which was drawn up and signed by twenty-seven European States. Seven countries — Finland, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden — did not sign the Convention, although it is hoped that they will see their way to adopt the wavelengths therein allotted to them, for it is a provision of the Convention that the Government of any country within the European region which is a non-signatory of the Lucerne Convention can adhere to it before January 15, 1934, the date on which the new Plan will come into force.

It will be recollected that, in the case of the Prague Plan, frequencies were allotted only to the broadcasting countries of Europe, and it remained for those countries to distribute their allotment as they desired. In the present instance the list is far more complete. Nearly every broadcasting station in Europe, actual and projected, is allotted a definite frequency. Another difference between the Prague Plan and that of Lucerne is that the former, in allotting frequencies, took no account of the power of the stations, whereas it is rightly regarded in the Lucerne Plan as a factor of prime importance.

The Plan itself will repay a careful examination. It will be seen that it comprises 232 stations, which are allotted 130 channels: of these 55 are exclusive, while the remainder are shared. Most of our readers will probably be pleased to find among the 55 with exclusive channels most of the stations which are best received in this country and, therefore, those to which they are accustomed to listen. The allocation of frequencies in respect of power is interesting. With the exception of the Moscow 500 kW. station, which seems to have made good its claim, the maximum power allowed, and that only to waves above 1,000 metres, is 150 kW., while 100 kW. is permitted to those stations enjoying wavelengths between 545 metres and 272.7 metres. The upper limit of power for national common waves is 5 kW.; the lower limit 0.2 kW. It will be observed that, as was inevitable, the number of shared frequencies has been increased. Since, however, very careful consideration has been given to this question from the point of view of power, geographical positions, and programme hours, it will be found that such stations are not necessarily unreceivable.

A satisfactory feature of the Plan is that the day of the unregulated erection of stations, without reference to their capacity for interference with the general concert of Europe, seems to be over, and it includes within its purview a number of stations which may be put up within the next two years.

Thus a serious attempt has been made — the success of which remains, of course, to be experienced — to put Europe’s broadcasting house in order.

Etherviator

 

New European Wavelengths Plan

The Lucerne Convention

 

The Lucerne Conference of European Governments, appointed by the Madrid Conference last year to consider the question of the allocation of waves to broadcasting stations in the European region, was opened on May 15, and reached a successful conclusion on June 19, when the European Broadcasting Convention was signed by twenty-seven European States. This Convention — “La Convention Européenne de Radiodiffusion, Lucerne, 1933″ — contains an all-important annexe, the “Plan de Lucerne,” which we print below. Before dealing with the wave plan, however, there are certain points in the Convention which will be of interest to readers of World-Radio.

The contracting Governments declare that they will adopt and apply the “dispositions” of the Convention and of the plan annexed to it. They also engage themselves not to instal or to put into service broadcasting stations other than those mentioned in the plan, except under certain conditions which are provided for elsewhere in the Convention. The Government of a country in the European Region non-signatory to the Lucerne Convention can adhere to it before the date of its entry into force, which is fixed for January 15, 1934, the date on which the wave plan will become operative. The wave plan can be revised at any time by a subsequent European Conference at the request of one-third of the signatory countries, but in any case a conference will take place immediately after January 15, 1936.

Avoidance of Causes of Interference

The Administrations which are responsible for the technical conduct of broadcasting services have agreed that they will take the necessary measures to assure the maintenance of the nominal frequency attributed to the broadcasting stations in their countries, to avoid all over-modulation which is likely to interfere with other stations, and to remedy as quickly as possible any defects which may be brought to their notice by other Administrations or which may be notified by the International Broadcasting Union (U.I.R.). The Union is instructed to carry out periodical measurements and observations on the technical characteristics of broadcasting stations in the European Region, and to communicate the results to all the Administrations. In case of technical difficulties, the measurements made by the U.I.R. must be taken into consideration by the interested Administrations. The U.I.R. may also be instructed to prepare for subsequent conferences between the Administrations for a revision of the wave plan.

It will be seen from the above that considerably less latitude is allowable in the future than in the past in the matter of the erection and operation of broadcasting stations. It has meant, however, that the stations which do not exist at present, but which are planned for erection in the next two years, have had to be incorporated in the plan. These stations are shown with an existing power of 0 kW., and it will be found that the plan provides for fifty-six of them.

The Wave Plan

The plan contains 232 stations working on 130 channels, of which fifty-five are exclusive (not counting the national common waves). The remainder of the channels are shared. It is to be emphasised, however, that by a suitable choice of stations, taking into account their power, their geographical positions, their programme hours, etc., most of these shared waves are virtually exclusive as far as the service areas of the individual stations are concerned. Readers, therefore, should not be alarmed at what they might, at first sight, take to be a policy of the abandonment of the exclusive wave. As far as distant listening is concerned, a subject which is of particular interest to readers of this journal, it will be seen that there are fifty-five stations using completely exclusive waves, and that among these stations are to be found most of those European stations which are generally well received in this country. It is inevitable, of course, that the majority of these stations are situated in Central Europe, for the geographical distances between them and Eastern and Western European stations are too short to permit of satisfactory sharing. It must again be emphasised, however, that the fact that a wave is shown as shared on the plan does not necessarily mean that all of the stations shown as sharing it will be unreceivable by a distant listener.

Power Considerations

The Prague Plan was made without reference to the power of the stations, but the Lucerne Plan takes this into account as an essential factor. It is not sufficient, therefore, merely to print the list of stations with their respective frequencies. In some cases the power is limited because of interferences between broadcasting stations; in others, because of interference to other services. It will be seen that broadcasting stations have been allotted frequencies in three different bands. Bands 1 and 3 are partly exclusive to broadcasting, whereas Band 2 is the so-called “derogation” band, and broadcasting stations in this band have been chosen and their power fixed so as not to cause interference to the other services. It is therefore necessary to read the plan as a whole, together with the general dispositions and all the various footnotes.

Here is the plan :—

A — General Dispositions

(1) The figure giving the actual power indicates, for each station, the power at the date of signature of the present Convention.

(2) The stations using an identical frequency are indicated in the alphabetical order of their official names.

(3) In the case where the maximum power is not indicated in the plan, the non-modulated power measured in the aerial must not exceed the following values:—

(a) For frequencies below 300 kc/s (waves above 1,000 m.) … 150 kW*

(b) For frequencies between 550 and 1,100 kc/s (waves between 545 and 272.7 m.) … 100 kW†

(c) For frequencies between 1,100 and 1,250 kc/s (waves between 272.7 and 240 m.) … 60 kW

(d) For frequencies between 1,250 and 1,500 kc/s (waves between 240 and 200 m.) … 30 kW

However, the power of stations mentioned in the plan must not exceed the value which is necessary to ensure economically an efficient national service of good quality within the limits of the country in question.

(4) On the other hand, the power of stations using common waves is limited as follows :—

(a) For national common waves … 5 kW

(b) For international common waves Type 1 … 2 kW

(c) For international common waves Type 2 … 0.2 kW

(5) In the case where the maximum power is indicated in the list of stations on the Plan, this power will be modified after agreement of the interested Administrations, if experience, supported by measurements, shows that this modification is useful or necessary. The modifications must be limited to the value which will allow the avoidance of interferences if it is a case of diminution of power, or to the value shown in Section 3 if it is a case of an increase of powder.

(6) The admissible tolerances for the frequency of stations are fixed as follows :—

(a) Stations using an exclusive frequency … ± 50 cycles/sec.

(b) Stations using a shared frequency … ± 10 cycles/sec.

(c) Stations using a national common frequency … ± 50 cycles/sec.

(d) Stations using an international common frequency Type 1 … ± 10 cycles/sec.

(e) Stations using an international common frequency Type 2 … ± 50 cycles/sec.

However, a tolerance of + 10 cycles/sec. is recommended for the frequency of stations mentioned under (a) and (c).

(7) (a) A “shared wave” is a wave used by two or more stations specially named in the Plan.

(b) A “National Common Wave” is an exclusive or shared wave attributed to a country which that country may use for an unlimited number of synchronised stations.

(c) An “International Common Wave,” type 1, and an “International Common Wave,” type 2, are waves used by stations belonging to different countries and fulfilling the conditions laid down in Sections 4 and 6.

(8) Frequencies mentioned in the Plan must only be used for a telephonic broadcasting service. A visual broadcasting service may be admitted on a frequency allotted to a station when this service does not cause any interference to the working of neighbouring stations.

(9) In addition to the frequencies provided for stations of the contracting countries, the Plan also provides attributions of frequencies for stations of countries which are not signatories of the Lucerne Convention.

(10) In conformity with the disposition of Article 1, sec. 2, of the European Broadcasting Convention modifications can be made to the plan only under the conditions fixed in Article 5 of this Convention.

(11) The final Protocol of the European Radioelectric Conference of Prague (1929) ceases to have effect on the date of the entry into facet of the present Plan.

* For the station Moscow I, the maximum power admitted is 500 kW.

For the following stations: Budapest, Leipzig, Paris PTT, Prague I, Rennes PTT, Toulouse PTT, Vienna, the maximum power admitted is 120 kW.

 

List of Stations

 

Frequency (kc/s) Wavelength (m.) Station Country Present Maximum by day Maximum by night (1)
Aerial power in kW
Band No. 1: 150 to 300 kc/s (2,000 to 1,000 m.)
160 1875 Brasov Romania 1
167 1796 Radio-Paris France 75
Syria Syria 0 20 20
175 1714 Moscow I U.S.S.R. 500
183 1639 Ankara Turkey 7
Kaunas Lithuania 7 7 7
Madrid I Spain 0
Reykjavik Iceland 16 30 30
191 1571 Königs Wusterhausen Germany 60
200 1500 Daventry (Droitwich) Gt. Britain 25
208 1442 Minsk U.S.S.R. 100
216 1389 Motala Sweden 30
223 1343 Huizen Holland 7
Kharkov U.S.S.R. 20
230 1304 Warsaw Poland 120
238 1261 Kalundborg Denmark 7.5 60 60
Portugal (North) (2) Portugal 0 20 20
245 1224 Leningrad U.S.S.R. 100 100 100
253 1186 Oslo (3) Norway 60 60 60
262 1145 Lahti (4) Finland 40 150 60
271 1107 Moscow II U.S.S.R. 100 100 100
Band No. 2: 300 to 500 kc/s (1,000 to 600 m.)
355 845 Finmark Norway 1 10 5
Rostov-on-Don U.S.S.R. 20 20 20
364 824 Smolensk U.S.S.R. 10 10 10
392 765 Ostersund Sweden 0.6 10 5
Slovakia (2) Czechoslovakia 0 30 15
401 748 Geneva (3) Switzerland 1.3 1.3 0.5
Moscow III U.S.S.R. 100 100 50
413.5 726 Boden Sweden 0.6 10 5
Voroneje U.S.S.R. 10 10 10
431 696 Oulu (4) Finland 2 5 1.5
Band No. 3: 500 to 1, 500 kc/s (600 to 200 m.)
519 578.0 Hamar Norway 0.7 2 0.5
Innsbruck (4) or (5) Austria 0 2 1
527 569.3 Ljubljana (11) Yugoslavia 5 5 5
Tampere (2) Finland 1.2 1 1
Finnish Common Wave Finland 0.5 1 1
536 559.7 Bolzano (3) Italy 1 1 1
Wilno (2) Poland 16 16 8
546 549.5 Budapest Hungary 18.5 120 120
556 539.6 Beromünster Switzerland 60
565 531.0 Athlone Irish Free State 60
Palermo (9) Italy 3 3 3
Italian Common Wave (Sicily) (9) Italy 0 3 3
574 522.6 Mühlacker Germany 60
583 514.6 Madona Latvia 15
Tunis Tunisia 0
592 506.8 Vienna Austria 120
601 499.2 Athens Greece 0
Radio-Maroc Morocco 6.5
Sundsvall Sweden 10
610 491.8 Florence Italy 20
Murmansk U.S.S.R. 10
620 483.9 Brussels I Belgium 15
Cairo Egypt 0 20 20
629 476.9 Lisbon Portugal 0
Skoplje Yugoslavia 0
Trondheim Norway 1.2
638 470.2 Prague I Czechoslovakia 120
648 463.0 Lyons P.T.T. France 15
Petrozavodsk U.S.S.R. 10
658 455.9 Langenberg Germany 60
668 449.1 Jerusalem Palestine 0 20 20
North Regional Great Britain 50
677 443.1 Sottens Switzerland 25
686 437.3 Belgrade Yugoslavia 2.5
695 431.7 Paris P.T.T. France 7
704 426.1 Stockholm Sweden 55
713 420.8 Rome Italy 50
722 415.5 Kiev U.S.S.R. 100
731 410.4 Seville Spain 3
Tallinn Estonia 20
740 405.4 Munich Germany 60
749 400.5 Marseilles P.T.T. France 5
Viipuri Finland 13
758 395.8 Katowice Poland 12
767 391.1 Midland Regional Great Britain 25
776 386.6 Stalino U.S.S.R. 10
Toulouse P.T.T. France 2
785 382.2 Leipzig Germany 120
795 377.4 Coruña (Santiago) Spain 0.5
Lwów Poland 16
804 373.1 Salonica Greece 0 20 20
Scottish Regional Gt. Britain 50
814 368.6 Milan Italy 50
823 364.5 Romania Romania 0
832 360.6 Moscow IV U.S.S.R. 100
841 356.7 Berlin Germany 1.5
850 352.9 Bergen Norway 1
Norwegian Common Wave Norway 0.7
Sofia (6) Bulgaria 0
Valencia Spain 1.5 20 20
859 349.2 Simferopol U.S.S.R. 10
Strasbourg France 12
868 345.6 Marrakesh Morocco 0 20 20
Poznań Poland 1.7
877 342.1 London Regional Gt. Britain 50
886 338.6 Graz Austria 7
895 335.2 France (Sth. Pyrenees) France 10 10
Helsinki Finland 10
904 331.9 Hamburg Germany 1.5
Spanish Morocco (2) Spanish Morocco 0
913 328.6 Limoges P.T.T. France 0.5
Dniepropetrovsk U.S.S.R. 10
922 325.4 Brno Czechoslovakia 32
932 321.9 Brussels Belgium 15
941 318.8 Algiers Algeria 12
Göteborg Sweden 10
950 315.8 Breslau Germany 60
959 312.8 France (Paris region) France
Gomel U.S.S.R. 1.2
968 309.9 Grenoble France 20 20 20
Odessa U.S.S.R. 10
Oukhta (or Tiraspol) U.S.S.R. 2
977 307.1 Haifa Palestine 0 5 5
W. Regional Gt. Britain 50
986 304.3 Genoa Italy 10
Torun or Cracow Poland 2 or 1.7
995 301.5 Hilversum Holland 20
1004 298.8 Bratislava Czechoslovakia 13.5
1013 296.2 North National Gt. Britain 50
Tchernigov U.S.S.R. 10
1022 293.5 Madrid II Spain 3
1031 291.0 Heilsberg Germany 60
Portugal (South) Portugal 0
1040 288.6 Leningrad II U.S.S.R. 10
Rennes P.T.T. France 2.5
Syria Syria 0 20 20
1050 285.7 Bournemouth Gt. Britain 1
Krasnodar U.S.S.R. 10
Scottish National Gt. Britain 50
1059 283.3 Bari Italy 20
1086 280.9 Tiraspol (or Odessa) U.S.S.R. 10
1077 278.6 Bordeaux P.T.T. France 12
1086 276.2 Falun Sweden 2
Zagreb Yugoslavia 0.7
1095 274.0 Barcelona Spain 7
Vinnitsa U.S.S.R. 10
1104 271.7 Naples Italy 1.5
Kuldiga Latvia 0
1113 269.5 Kosice (Uszhorod) Czechoslovakia 2.6
Oran (10) Algeria 0
1122 267.4 Belfast Gt. Britain 1
Alexandria Egypt 0 5 5
1131 265.3 Hörby (7) Sweden 10
1140 263.2 Turin Italy 7
1149 261.1 London National Gt. Britain 50
Turkey Turkey 5 10 10
West National Gt. Britain 50
1158 259.1 Moravská Ostrava Czechoslovakia 11.2
1167 257.1 Monte Ceneri Switzerland 15
1176 255.1 Copenhagen Denmark 0.8
Malta Malta 0 5 5
1185 253.2 Kharkov II U.S.S.R. 10
Nice-Corsica P.T.T. France 0
1195 251.0 Frankfurt Germany 17
German Common Wave Germany 2
1204 249.2 Prague II Czechoslovakia 5
Czechoslovak Common Wave Czechoslovakia 0
1213 247.3 Lille P.T.T. France 5
1222 245.5 Trieste Italy 10
1231 243.7 Gleiwitz Germany 5
German Common Wave Germany 0.25
1240 241.9 Yugoslavia Yugoslavia 0
1249 240.2 Luxembourg Luxembourg 150
1258 238.5 Riga Latvia 15 10 10
Rome II (8) Italy 0.5 1 1
San Sebastian Spain 3
1267 236.8 German Common Wave Germany 2
1276 235.1 Norwegian Common Wave Norway 0.7
Varna Bulgaria 0
1285 233.5 Belgium Belgium 0
Southern Greece Greece 0
1294 231.8 Linz Austria 0.5
Salzburg Austria 0.5
1303 230.2 Danzig Danzig Free City 0.5 10 10
Sombor Yugoslavia 0 10 10
1312 228.7 Swedish Common Wave Sweden 1.25
1321 227.1 Budapest II Hungary 0.8
1330 225.6 North German Common Wave Germany 0.5
1339 224.0 Montpellier P.T.T. France 5 5 5
Pinsk Poland 0 5 5
East Polish Common Wave Poland 0
1348 222.6 International Common Wave
Aberdeen Gt. Britain 1
Benghazi Cyrenaica 0
Cairo II Egypt 0
Dublin Irish Free State 1
Estonia Estonia 0
France (South-East) France 0
Königsberg Germany 0.5
Lithuania Lithuania 0
Lodz Poland 1.7
Milan II Italy 4
Monaco Principality of Monaco 0
Norway Norway 0
Vorarlberg Austria 0
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia 0
1357 221.1 Italian Common Wave Italy 0
Norwegian Common Wave Norway 0.5
1366 219.6 Cracow or Torun Poland 1.7 or 2
1375 218.2 Swiss Common Wave Switzerland 0.5
1384 216.8 Albania Albania 0
Warsaw II Poland 2
1393 215.4 France (Cent.) France 0
French Common Wave France 0
1402 214.0 Bulgaria Bulgaria 0 5 5
Swedish Common Wave Sweden 0.4
1411 212.6 Bucharest Romania 12 12 12
Portuguese Common Wave Portugal 2
Romanian Common Wave Romania 0
1420 211.3 Finland Common Wave Finland 1.5
Yugoslav Common Wave Yugoslavia 0
1429 209.9 International Common Wave (Type 1)
Alexandria II Egypt 0
Cork Irish Free State 1
France (Ile de France) France 0
Klagenfurt Austria 0.5
Newcastle Gt. Britain 1
Norway Norway 0
Holland Holland 0
Tripoli Tripolitania 0
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia 0
1438 208.6 Hungarian Common Wave Hungary 0
Magyarovar Hungary 1.25
Miskolc Hungary 1.25
Nyiregyhaza Hungary 6.25 6.2 6.2
Pecs Hungary 1.25
1447 207.3 Spanish Common Wave Spain 1
Lithuania Lithuania 0
1456 206.0 French Common Wave France 0
1465 204.8 German Common Wave Germany 0
1474 203.5 British Common Wave Gt. Britain 0
Plymouth Gt. Britain 0.3 5 5
1483 202.3 Soviet Common Wave U.S.S.R. 0
1492 201.1 International Common Wave (Type 2)
1500 200.0 International Common Wave (Type 2)

 

Notes: Band no. 1 –

(1) Applicable one hour after sunset at the transmitter.

(2) Must use a directional aerial towards the south and reduce power during the night in case of interference with services not open to public correspondence of Spain and of France.

(3) Norway will do all that she can to reduce the field towards the south-east without diminishing the national service of Oslo.

(4) May use a power at night up to 150 kW. if an aerial directed towards the north is installed.

Notes: Band no. 2 –

(1) Applicable one hour after sunset at the transmitter.

(2) Must use a directional aerial towards the east.

(3) Under the condition not to interfere with the services not open to public correspondence.

(4) Must use a directional aerial towards the north. The power may be increased if experience shows that trouble does not result to the maritime service.

Notes: Band no. 3 –

(1) Applicable to one hour after sunset at the transmitter.

(2) Must use an aerial directed towards the interior of the country.

(3) In case of interference to mobile services must use an aerial directed away from the sea.

(4) Must use an aerial directed towards the interior of the country and limit the radiation towards the sea to a value which is not likely to interfere with maritime traffic.

(5) To be synchronised with Luy and Salzburg on 1,294 kc/» (231.8 m.) if this station compromises the maritime service.

(6) Must use an aerial directed towards the east.

(7) Must use an aerial directed towards the north if the power exceeds 60 kW, the maximum authorised being up to 100 kW.

(8) In case of interference must use an aerial directed towards the east.

(9) The power of Palermo and that of the stations of the Italian common wave (Sicily) may be increased to 5 kW if the power of Athlone is increased to 100 kW. In this case the Italian stations will use directional aerials, limiting the radiation towards Ireland in order to avoid interference with the service of the Athlone station.

(10) In case of interference with the service of Naples must use an aerial directed towards the interior of the country.

(11) In case of interference with the mobile services or with the services not open to public correspondence, must use a directional aerial and reduce its power during the night.

 

As has been stated above, the plan will come into force on Monday, January 15, 1934, at one minute past midnight. The U.I.R. will have to accomplish much preparatory work in order to ensure as smooth an inauguration as possible, and the closest possible co-operation between all those responsible for the technical side of broadcasting in Europe is essential if the plan is to be successful. Listeners will have to be patient, too, for it does not seem possible that an operation of such magnitude, involving as it does a change of frequency of some 200 existing European stations, can be carried out without there resulting some bad interferences, at any rate, for the first few days. No doubt small adjustments to the plan will be necessary as dictated by experience from time to time, and the U.I.R. will be available to study them.

The success of the Lucerne Plan will depend to a large extent, on the rigid application of good technique throughout the European Zone, and as such it is a courageous, and, it is to be hoped, a successful endeavour to solve a very difficult problem.

 

The Lucerne Conference

 

The following is the text of a talk broadcast in the National Programme on Friday, June 23, by Mr. F. W. Phillips, Assistant Secretary of the Post Office.

 

On Monday last, in a large hotel by the side of Lake Lucerne, the delegates of twenty-seven European Governments signed a Broadcasting Convention, to which is attached an interesting document headed “Plan de Lucerne.” This plan contains a list of the broadcasting stations of all the countries of Europe, and the new wavelengths allotted to them.

There has, of late years, been an enormous expansion of broadcasting and of other forms of wireless services, but, unfortunately, the number of channels, or wavelengths, available for this ever-increasing traffic is strictly limited. Hence, the problem of sharing out these precious wavelengths to the best advantage is becoming increasingly difficult.

The wavelength plan which is at present in force was drawn up at a conference held at Prague in 1929. This plan provides wavelengths for 145 stations, whereas, at Lucerne, it was necessary to find places for 235 stations. In fact, the problem the Conference had to solve was the old familiar problem of how to squeeze a quart into a pint pot. However skilful one may be, this task can never be easy.

Not only were there thirty-five Government delegations at Lucerne, all competing for a place in the sun — or rather, a sunny place in the ether — but most delegations included representatives of the broadcasting service and also of the maritime and air services, whose needs have to be fitted in with those of broadcasting and whose interests are by no means identical. You will thus see that by the peaceful shores of Lake Lucerne there were gathered together all the elements for a very pretty struggle.

At the outset, suggestions were made that wavelengths should be divided between countries in accordance with a mathematical formula, in which account should be taken of such factors as area, population, and the number of wireless licences. There are, however, a number of other less tangible factors which must be taken into consideration, and the Conference decided that it was impossible to establish a mathematical formula which would be fair to all countries. What it did was to agree upon a number of general principles, and then to set up a committee to frame a plan on the basis of these principles. Unfortunately, every country wanted to be represented on this committee; and anyone who is familiar with committees knows that the larger you make your committee the harder it is to make it work effectively. The committee therefore adopted the wise plan of setting up a sub-committee consisting of only two persons — the Chairman, who was the head of the German delegation, and one other member — the President of the Technical Committee of the International Broadcasting Union. This sub-committee of two drew up one plan after another. Each plan, when it appeared, met with a great deal of criticism and had to be modified; and it was not until Plan No. 8 had been produced that a sufficiently large majority could be secured to justify its formal adoption.

In spite of all the efforts of the Conference, it was, unfortunately, found to be impossible to produce a plan which every country regarded as acceptable. Twenty-seven countries approved the final plan and signed the convention. Eight countries did not sign, namely, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Lithuania, and Luxembourg. Any of these countries may, however, adhere to the convention at a later date, and the Conference passed a resolution expressing its earnest hope that they will all do so, or that they will, at any rate, take up the wavelengths allotted to them in the Lucerne Plan.

So far as Great Britain is concerned, the B.B.C. are at present using eleven waves; and this number has been maintained in the new plan. Several of the waves are shared with low-power stations in distant countries, which are not likely to cause interference. The long wavelength of Daventry remains exclusive, and the slight modifications to the other British wavelengths will not materially affect the efficiency of the service. In this connexion I may say that several delegates at the Conference paid tribute to the high quality of the British broadcasting service and spoke almost enviously of its efficient organisation and its five and a half million licensed listeners.

The new plan is to take effect on January 15, or, to be precise, at one minute after midnight of the night of January 14. At that moment almost every broadcasting station in Europe will be expected to change its wave; there will be a kind of wireless general post, and anyone who listens at that time, while the stations of Europe are falling into their new places, may expect to hear some rather startling noises. Listeners may think that the waves of Lucerne are very boisterous, but they will soon settle down.

It is difficult to pass a final verdict on the Lucerne Conference. But one can say that it had an extremely difficult task — a task that was almost impossible if the result was to satisfy everybody completely — and that while it failed for the moment to secure complete unanimity, it made a Convention and a Plan which were accepted by all but a few countries. If the Conference had broken down — if no plan had been agreed to — there would have been a grave danger of chaos in the ether. This peril has been avoided, and if all countries act strictly and loyally in accordance with the new Plan of Lucerne, we may be assured that there will be peace in the ether, and that this important service of broadcasting — the vast potentialities of which were realised by everyone at the Conference — will be able to develop throughout Europe in an orderly and efficient manner.

 

Article typeset by Russ J Graham and edited by David Heathcote for Transdiffusion.

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