Important Message from CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ
Unless you’re Rip Van Winkle you know there is a revolution underway in mobile broadband communications. Most users of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices that connect to the Internet don’t think of them as radio transceivers, but in fact that’s what they are – and they’re worthless without spectrum access.
Right now there is tremendous pressure for more spectrum for commercial mobile broadband services. The pressure comes from consumers who want faster, more reliable Internet connections wherever they go. It comes from the companies that stand to make billions of dollars by meeting the demand. It comes from politicians and others who see wireless broadband as an engine for employment and economic growth.
The mobile broadband revolution is mostly good. Chances are you’re using some of its benefits yourself. But the radio spectrum is a limited resource. The frequencies where mobile broadband works best – between about 400 MHz and 6 GHz – are fully allocated for a wide range of uses, including Amateur Radio.
How to accommodate tens of millions of new wireless devices is an incredibly difficult and complex problem that is occupying the time and attention of thousands of spectrum management specialists all over the world. Even the United States Congress – hardly a repository of spectrum management expertise – is getting in on the act.
Amateur Radio has vital interests – and other challenges in addition to mobile broadband – in this frequency range.
· - Our popular 70 cm band, 420-450 MHz, is already shared with military radar and other systems.
· - The FCC has just given its consent for commercial deployment of a new precision location system in part of the 902-928 MHz band, which already hosts a variety of uses including unlicensed “Part 15” devices.
· - The FAA is deploying upgraded air traffic control radars in the 1240-1300 MHz band, which is also subject to increased use by radionavigation-satellite networks.
· - The 2300-2400 MHz and 3400-3500 MHz bands are already earmarked for mobile broadband in much of the world, and of course 2400-2450 MHz is heavily used by unlicensed Wi-Fi already. While other uses being made of these bands in the United States offer us some protection for now, 3300-3500 MHz is on some broadband proponents’ wish list as part of a “spectrum superhighway” from 2700 to 3700 MHz.
· - Much of our 5 cm allocation, 5650-5925 MHz, is already in use by unlicensed broadband devices; the ARRL is opposing the extension of that use into the rest of the band.
We are not alone in feeling the pressure. Broadcasters, public safety agencies, and even the Pentagon are being forced to relinquish or to share spectrum. We have successfully shared with the military in this frequency range for decades; sharing with commercial services would be much more difficult if not impossible
In short, as radio amateurs we face a huge challenge.
But we have faced huge challenges before – and together we have met them.
There is one reason for that, one cause of our success: the ARRL.
There are many Amateur Radio organizations that are worthy of your participation and support. But there is only one – the ARRL – that looks after the defense of American amateurs’ access to the radio spectrum. There is only one that maintains a full-time staff to represent your interests in our nation’s capital. And just like radio waves, that defense doesn’t stop at the borders. Working with our colleagues in other countries through the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), the ARRL ensures that your voice is also heard in meetings and conferences of the International Telecommunication Union and regional telecommunications organizations.
Backed by more than 161,000 members, the ARRL’s voice is strong. But membership dues only go so far. For more than a decade we have appealed to members and friends to support the Spectrum Defense Fund by going above and beyond basic dues. Your generosity has made it possible for us to field an experienced, effective team of professional staff and talented, committed volunteers in Washington, Geneva and wherever else decisions about the radio spectrum are being made.
Our efforts are not limited to defense. Over the years the ARRL and the IARU have succeeded in gaining new and improved allocations for Amateur Radio. Right now we are preparing for a World Radiocommunication Conference in 2015 where an amateur allocation around 5300 kHz is on the agenda.
I ask you to join me in ensuring that the ARRL can continue its record of success in defending and expanding your access to the radio spectrum – a precious, priceless natural resource.
ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ
The 2013 ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund
Thanks to the support of ARRL members, ARRL has maintained constant vigilance and decisive action throughout the years, including:
- Defeating the threat that Little Leo satellites posed to the 2-meter band;
- Protecting our bands and adding new ones;
- Even the loss of the bottom 40% of the 220-MHz band two decades ago gave us upgraded status, from shared to exclusive, in the remaining 60% of the band;
- Removing high-powered international broadcasting stations from the heart of the 40-meter band - doubling the size of the worldwide band and making it more useful than it had been in 70 years;
- Earning Amateur Radio's first low-frequency(LF) allocation. But ARRL must peitition the FCC to implement the allocation and it will not be granted without argument;
- Battling the Broadband Over PowerLine (BPL) interference for six years including successfully challenging the FCC on its prejudice that tainted the rulemaking process; and
- Preparing for legal arguments to guarantee that the FCC will correct its errors and resolve issues solely on technical grounds.
Your contribution to the Spectrum Defense Fund ensures that ARRL will have the resources to meet future challenges when they appear and to protect your operating privileges.