FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Park Use of Amateur Radio Frequencies
On Thursday, April 24, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, filed an Informal Objection with the FCC regarding a pending application for a Special Temporary Authority (STA) filed by Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. One day after filing the Objection, the FCC agreed with the ARRL, saying, "Due to the possibility of interference to Amateur operators and also the race teams utilizing the proposed frequencies, we feel that it is not in the public interest to grant [Miller Motorsports Park's] request."
The FCC also advised Miller Motorsports that if they "wish[ed] to pursue other frequencies, [they] should coordinate with the ARRL and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)."
Miller Motorsports requested the use of frequencies 448.525, 448.650, 448.060, 448.290 and 448.610 MHz at 4 W ERP. They proposed to use 100 mobile units on each of these and other channels at or above 450 MHz for a race event scheduled May 26-June 1, 2008. The application filed by Miller Motorsports stated that the radios would be used for "security, medical and maintenance for the entire event" and that communications service is "vital to the life and safety of the spectators and drivers of this race event." Miller Motorsports also implied that the NTIA had approved the use of the 448 MHz channels.
The League's Informal Objection pointed out that "Amateur Radio Service licensees make extremely heavy use of the band 420-450 MHz, and especially the segment 440-450 MHz for FM voice repeaters. There are repeater stations in Salt Lake City, of which Tooele is a close-in suburb, using frequencies throughout the 448 MHz range for outputs, including 448.525, 448.625, 448.050 and 448.075 MHz. In addition, there are repeater outputs in other areas of the greater Salt Lake City area which are in regular operation at all times of the day or night, and radio amateurs using mobile stations would be predictably interfered with by operation as proposed in the STA."
The Objection also stated that there was the possibility that some of the spectators to the event at Miller Motorsports Park, or otherwise in the area, might be Amateur Radio operators who might be operating using their portable transceivers "on the precise channels sought by the STA."
The ARRL called Miller Motorsports Park choice of channels "completely inappropriate. The radio amateurs who are licensed to use these frequencies are under no obligation to either tolerate interference or to cease their own operation, regardless of the interference that might be suffered at any time" by Miller Motorsports.
While the FCC has issued STAs on the amateur allocations from time to time, the ARRL wrote, "many, perhaps a majority, are of no concern to the ARRL due to the choice of frequency band, duty cycle or power level proposed," what Miller Motorsports is requesting is "a completely incompatible and inappropriate use of Amateur Radio allocations." Citing "harmful interference to and from the Amateur Radio Service on channels in the 448 MHz band," the ARRL requested that the FCC deny Miller Motorsports' STA application.