CRAF Newsletter 1995/1

The European Science Foundation is an association of its 50 member research councils and acedemies in 18 countries. The ESF brings European scientists together to work on topics of common concern, to co-ordinate the use of expensive facilities, and to discover and define new endeavors that will benefit from a co-operative approach
The scientific work sponsored by ESF includes basic research in the natural sciences, the medical and biosciences, the humanities and the social sciences.
The ESF links scholarship and research supported by its members and adds value by cooperation across national frontiers. Through its function as coordinator, and also by holding workshops and conferences and by enabling researchers to visit and study in laboratories throughout Europe, the ESF works for the advancement of European science.

Introduction to the ESF - Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies

On behalf of European radio astronomers concerned with interference in the frequency bands used for radio astronomy, the European Science Foundation had formed a Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies (CRAF). The task of the Committee is to coordinate activities to keep the frequency bands used by radio astronomers free from interference. It attempts to fulfil this task by:

The Committee acts also to help EISCAT - the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association - whose expensive radar equipment and important passive experiment in the polar ionosphere faces similar severe interference problems.

1. CRAF membership

The members of CRAF are appointed by the ESF Executive Council for a three year period, after consultation through the appropriate channels. They are drawn among experts active in the field of frequency management at radio-astronomical observatories in Europe complemented by ESF representatives.

At present the members representing their countries are from the Observatoire Royal de Belgique (Belgium), Ondrejov Astronomical Observatory (Czechia), Nançay Observatory (France), Max-Planck Institut für Radioastronomie (Germany), the Istituto di Radioastronomia C.N.R. (Italy), Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center (Latvia), the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (the Netherlands), Torun Radio Astronomy Observatory (Poland), the Observatório Astronómico, Prof.Manuel de Barros, Universidade do Porto (Portugal), Scientific Council on Radio Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia), Centro Astronomico Nacional (Spain), Onsala Space Observatory (Sweden), Institute of Astronomy, ETH Zentrum (Switzerland), Marmara Research Centre (Turkey) and the Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories (United Kingdom), and from the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT) (Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom), the Institut de Radio Astronomie Millimétrique (IRAM) (France, Germany, Spain).

The European Science Foundation (ESF) is represented by a liaison officer.

2. Management and operation of the committee

The Committee is self-managed from its Office at the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy: Dr.R.J.Cohen is the Chairman and Dr.T.A.Th.Spoelstra the Secretary. The committee meets usually at least twice each year.

The address of the CRAF clearing house is: Dr.T.A.Th.Spoelstra, Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy, Postbus 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands, tel.: (+31)521-595100, telefax (+31)521-597332, Email:

3. Major activities

The Committee became operational in July 1988. Since that time attention has been paid to current problems in the Radio Regulations as well as technical aspects such as interference reduction techniques.

3.1 Outstanding problems

3.1.1. Acute problems

Very important are the bi-annual ITU World Radio Conferences (WRCs), which started in 1993. The agendas are usually known 2-4 years in advance. However, this new set of meetings related with the new ITU structure requires a continuous alterness to the developments which may have implications for the future of the Radio Astronomy Service.

The Committee paid special attention to current frequency allocation and spectrum management problems in Italy between the Italian private TV network (TV-5) and the "Istituto di Radioastronomia" in Bologna about the use of channel 38 (608 - 614 MHz). In spite of actions taken by CRAF and the Italian radio astronomers, the Italian radio astronomers have had to abandon the attempts together with the hope of ever observing the sky in this frequency band.

Other important items the Committee had discussed are:

3.1.2. Long term problems

Long term problems are in particular those problems which today and very probably in the near future have not been fully studied by the ITU Radiocommunications Bureau and which will cause severely harmful interference when they come into effect. The indication "long term" indicates that certainly in the next few years an adequate solution is very unlikely and methods and techniques have to be found in the radio astronomical community to cope with them.

Urgent problems are:

4. Relations with other bodies

5. Outlook

It is CRAF's experience that the new developments after the WARC 1992 require that it is more than ever necessary that the radio astronomical community speaks with one voice on interference and frequency management problems in communication with administrations and other relevant bodies.

In its work CRAF noted that taking into account the characteristics of the work in preparation of the WARC 1992, which deals with many discussion at administration- and frequency-management-level, and also that after this meeting due to the nature of the problems, it is highly desirable that a professional spectrum-manager is available for this work. A position like this exists already for several years in the United States (a spectrum manager as an employee of the National Science Foundation). Also bodies like space agencies have their spectrum management offices. The experience is that this professionalization is urgently needed in CRAF context as well.

To have the radio astronomy voice heard, CRAF needs to continue with an active policy to try to make contact and to communicate with bodies involved in matters of frequency-management.

6. Publications

On behalf of CRAF, the European Science Foundation published a Handbook for Radio Astronomy in 1995. The CRAF Newsletter will be published twice every year (usually shortly after the CRAF meetings). It is published by the European Science Foundation. The CRAF Newsletter will also be made available through the World-Wide Web.

7. CRAF memberlist

R.J.Cohen, Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories, Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9DL, England
T.A.Th.Spoelstra, Netherlands Foundation for Radio Astronomy, P.O.Box 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands


R.Bachiller, Centro Astronomico Nacional, Apartado 1143, E-28800 Alcala de Henares, Spain
A.O.Benz, Radio Astronomy Group, Institute of Astronomy, ETH Zentrum, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland
E.Bervalds, Latvian Academy of Sciences, 19 Turgeneva Street, LV-1524 Riga, Latviaff
G.F.Block, ESA, Frequency Management Office, Directorate of Telecommunications, 8-10 rue Mario-Nikis, F 75738 Paris Cedex, France
P.Cugnon, Observatoire Royal de Belgique, Ave Circulaire 3, B-1180 Bruxelles, Belgium
B.Darchy, Nançay Observatory, Station de Radioastronomie, F 18330 Neuvy/Barangeon, France
B.A.Doubinski, Scientific Secretary, Scientific Council on Radio Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, centre, GSP-3, Marx Avenue 18, Russia
S.Gorgolewski, Toru Radio Astronomy Observatory, Katedra Radioastronomii Uniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika, ul. Chopina 12/18, 87-100 Torun, Poland
D.Morris, Institut de Radio Astronomie Millimétrique, IRAM, Headquarters, Domaine Universitaire de Grenoble, F-38406 St.Martin d'Hères Cedex, France
M.E.Özel, Marmara Research Centre, Space Sciences Department, P.O.Box 21, 41470 Gebze-Kocaeli, Turkey
J.E.B.Ponsonby, Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories, Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9DL, England
W.Reich, Max-Planck Institut für Radio Astronomie, Radioobservatorium Effelsberg, D-53902 Bad Münstereifel, Bundesrepublik Deutschland.
K.Ruf, Max-Planck Institut für Radio Astronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Bundesrepublik Deutschland
A.A.Sanches de Magalhaes, Observatório Astronómico, Prof.Manuel de Barros, Universidade do Porto, Monte da Virgem, 4400 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
A.Tlamicha, Astronomical Observatory, 25165 Ondrejov, Czech Republic
G.Tomassetti, Istituto di Radioastronomia C.N.R., Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
A.P.van Eyken, EISCAT Scientific Association, Ramfjordmoen, N-9027 Ramfjordbotn, Norway
A.Winnberg, Onsala Space Observatory, S 43900 Onsala, Sweden

ESF liaison officer:

H.U.Karow, European Science Foundation, 1 quai Lezay-Marnésia, F 67080 Strasbourg Cedex, France

European Science Foundation:

1 quai Lezay-Marnésia, F 67080 Strasbourg Cedex, France, tel.: (+33), telefax (+33)