FCC Reaffirms Statement on ROS
In mid-February, European amateurs first used a new, experimental digital mode known as ROS. On February 23, 2010 -- after FCC review of the original documents provided from the developer's Web site -- the FCC made the following statements on ROS:
"Section 97.305 is the rule that specifies where different emission types are allowed to be transmitted on different bands. 'ROS' is viewed as 'spread spectrum,' and the creator of the system describes it as that. We assume that he knows what he created. [Section] 97.305 authorizes spread spectrum emission types (defined in Section 97.3) to be transmitted by FCC licensed amateur stations at places we regulate communications only on 222-225 MHz and higher frequency amateur bands. European telecommunication regulatory authorities may authorize amateur stations in Europe to use SS on the HF bands, but this is of no concern to us. The Commission does not determine if a particular mode 'truly' represents spread spectrum as it is defined in the rules. The licensee of the station transmitting the emission is responsible for determining that the operation of the station complies with the rules. This would include determining the type of emission the station is transmitting and that the frequencies being used are authorized for that type of emission."
Since that initial FCC review, several Internet sites have reported a claim -- attributed to the FCC -- that the original statements made had been reconsidered and that the FCC view was now that "ROS cannot be viewed as Spread Spectrum and it would be encompassed within Section 97.309 (RTTY and data emissions codes)."
When queried about this new statement, the FCC's Consumer Assistance Office stated that "[T]he information contained on the ROS Web site was not provided by the FCC." They then reaffirmed the original statements that originated from the FCC's Wireless Bureau, which handles Amateur Radio rules for the US.
The ARRL supports -- as one of the basic purposes of Amateur Radio -- the experimentation and advancing the technical skills of operators. The development and use of any new mode is exciting to many amateurs, and the League encourage amateurs to experiment within the parameters of the rules; however, the ARRL also reminds US licensees that according to Section 97.307, spread spectrum communications are only permissible in the US on frequencies above 222 MHz.