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FCC Speedily Dismisses Petitions to Alter Amateur Service Rules


Acting with near lightning speed, the FCC has dismissed two petitions for rule making calling for separate amendments to the Part 97 Amateur Service rules. Willison H. Gormly, WD0BCS, of Des Moines, New Mexico, filed both petitions on June 16, and the FCC turned them away on July 1. Gormly had requested that the FCC amend §97.301(e) of the rules by dividing it into separate sub-paragraphs for technician and Novice class privileges. He had also asked the FCC to amend §97.305(c) to authorize spread spectrum emissions in the 2 meter band.

“The rule changes you propose were previously rejected by the Commission,” Scot Stone, deputy chief of the Mobility Division in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, told Gormly in the FCC’s dismissal letter. “Your petitions do not demonstrate or even suggest that any relevant circumstances have changed such as to merit reconsideration of these decisions.”

The FCC noted that while §97.301(e) had been divided into two paragraphs in the past, these were consolidated when the Commission streamlined the rules in 1999. Gormly argued that the present configuration was confusing, but the FCC pointed out that §97.301 “has been in this arrangement for a number of years without any reported difficulty.”

Regarding Gormly’s second petition, the Commission noted that it had sought comment in 2004 as to whether it should expand the bands authorized for spread spectrum to permit such emissions on the 50 MHz, 144 MHz, and 222 MHz bands. Agreeing with the majority of comments, the FCC subsequently determined that authorizing spread spectrum was not warranted on 6 meters and 2 meters, “because of concerns over the compatibility of spread spectrum emission types and other Amateur radio operations in those bands,” the FCC explained in its denial letter.

The FCC had said it was concerned about raising the noise floor on the band, with potential adverse effects on so-called “weak signal” communications or “otherwise affecting experimentation.” The Commission also had noted that both bands are heavily used for other types of communication.





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