ARRL UHF/Microwave Band Plan Committee Seeks Input on 6 and 3 Centimeter Bands
Last year, in recognition of the need to update the published band plans for our UHF and microwave bands, the ARRL Board of Directors formed the UHF/Microwave Band Plan Committee to develop revised national plans for the amateur bands between 902 MHz and 3.5 GHz. After receiving extensive user input, the committee completed its task and the resulting band plans were approved by the Board in July 2012. The committee has now received an additional assignment to conduct a similar update to the 6 and 3 centimeter bands.
In order to do this effectively, we need to know how various segments of these bands are now being utilized around the country. You can help us by sharing what you know about local usage in your area and by asking other users whom we may not have reached -- both individuals and groups -- to do the same.
Benefits of Band Plans
The FCC has left management of our highest bands to the Amateur Radio community. It’s up to us to promote activity on our bands and to minimize possible conflicts among incompatible uses. The increasing interest in microwaves for communication and experimentation -- along with advances in technology and the proliferation of new digital modes -- presents exciting opportunities for amateurs. Band plans should provide room for existing applications, for experimentation and for new uses and technologies.
Regulators are under pressure to find room for ever-expanding commercial and consumer technologies, and our slices of spectrum are at risk from such pressure. While our 5 and 10 GHz allocations are not under imminent threat from the government’s National Broadband Plan, sharing our collective internal knowledge of current practices and planned applications around the country is still beneficial in many respects.
The Update Process
The purpose of these band plans is not to tell you what to do or where to do it. Rather, it is to share information about how you are using our bands now and about future plans and projects that will make use of them. Thus, the first and most important step is to collect information from you so that we have a better picture of the various uses and projects going on around the country. We know that practices may differ from one geographic region to another, often driven by local conditions or needs. We also recognize constraints that will prevent one plan from fitting every user group. Our current band plans defer to the formal determinations by regional frequency coordinating bodies.
After gathering data, we will evaluate the range of uses and draft a revision for each of the bands under consideration. Those drafts will be published for your review and comment and amended as necessary, after which the proposed plans will be brought to the ARRL Board of Directors for final approval.
What We Need From You
You may know other amateurs or groups who are using -- or have plans to use -- the 6 and 3 centimeter bands. Please share this request for input with them and encourage them to respond. We’re not tallying “votes,” so collective input from user groups will be more helpful and faster to compile than multiple copies of the same data from individual group members.
During our work on the 33, 23, 13 and 9 centimeter bands, we also invited input concerning the 6, 3 and 1.25 centimeter bands for our later use. If you have already responded concerning these bands, we thank you for doing so. You do not need to submit your comments again, as we have them already compiled and will consider them during this round of the committee’s work.
If you have not previously submitted comments concerning our 6 and/or 3 centimeter allocations, we would like to hear from you. We ask that you use the forms below to record your own input, whether as an individual or representing a group, and use the accompanying reply format in order to help speed the compiling of the responses. Use a separate page for each band for which you wish to provide input. If you feel the need to provide more lengthy explanations or discussion, please see “Submitting Additional Information” below.
- Column 1: The general frequency range of each activity, in decimal megahertz.
- Column 2: The mode or modulation type employed, using common descriptors such as FM voice, ATV or video, high-speed data, weak-signal digital or FCC designators.
- Column 3: The approximate bandwidth (in kilohertz) of an individual signal and the number of simultaneous signals needed to perform the function or application.
- Column 4: A description of the function or activity, such as repeater control, D-STAR data link, satellite input/output, real-time video, voice repeater output, EME or weak-signal terrestrial.
- Column 5: Whether the activity is current (“C”), under development (“D”) or proposed for the future (“F”).
- Column 6: Reasons for selecting a specific band or segment for the activity and/or any conditions that would preclude conducting the activity in another segment of the same band or on a different band, such as operating limits of modified commercial gear, noise between xxx and yyy MHz from adjacent non-amateur bands, frequency restrictions faced by operators in other countries / regions, unique propagation characteristics or existing satellite frequencies.
Submitting Additional Information
We also welcome comments you think would be helpful in completing our work. If, for example, you have specific knowledge as to trends in the use of adjacent non-amateur bands or expansion by primary users where we are secondary that may impact the future use of our bands, please share it with our Microwave Band Plan Committee as a separate narrative.
Thank you for helping us to collect this important information.
Rick Roderick, K5UR
ARRL Microwave Band Plan Committee Chair