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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB005 (2020)

ARLB005 ARRL HF Band Planning Committee Seeks Comments on

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 5  ARLB005
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  February 5, 2020
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB005 ARRL HF Band Planning Committee Seeks Comments on

The ARRL HF Band Planning Committee is seeking comments and
suggestions from the Amateur Radio community on its report to the
ARRL Board. At the Board's January meeting, the committee presented
its specific recommendations in graphical form for each HF band and
each US license class, with the goal of increasing harmony on the HF
bands, particularly between CW and digital users.

The recommendations can be found online in PDF format on the 
web site.

"In general, the committee is of the opinion that there is
justification for additional space to become available for digital
modes, as well as for the operation of digital stations under
automatic control," the committee told the Board. "The very changes
in spectrum usage that have required our committee's resurgence
indicate that digital modes of communication are already increasing
in popularity, and the trend is expected to continue or even
accelerate. To this end, we have tried to ensure that digital
allocations are sufficient for at least a modicum of growth."

The committee also anticipates an increase in automatically
controlled digital stations (ACDS). The report further points to
"significant use" of modern data modes in emergency communication
and said its recommendations provide significant support for the
evolution and continued relevance of amateur radio.  "Our failure to
adapt to these needs could consign amateur radio to the
technological scrap heap," the report said.

The committee was revived last summer to consider conflicts between
FT and JT modes and other modes. The panel's approach has been to
designate distinct assignments for CW, narrowband (NB) data 500 Hz,
wideband (WB) data 2800 Hz, and ACDS. For its work, the committee
presumed approval of three ARRL petitions to the FCC: RM-11708 (WT
Docket WT 16-239-"symbol rate" proceeding), RM-11759 (80/75 meter
allocations), and RM-11828 (enhanced Technician privileges).  The
committee also assumed that users can agree to sharing arrangements
within a given allocation-narrowband vs wideband sharing within the
ACDS allocation, for example. It also took into consideration how
mode usage is regulated or planned elsewhere in the world.

In terms of mode classes, the committee agreed on CW, NB data, WB
data, NB with ACDS, and WB with ACDS. The committee said it
considered these mode classes incompatible and that they should not
have overlapping allocations, with the exception of CW, which is
authorized within any amateur radio allocation. The committee's
approach would maintain the existing low-end 25-kHz CW-only
sub-bands for exclusive use by Amateur Extra class licensees.

The panel encouraged CW identification and a
listen-before-transmitting protocol for ACDS, if feasible. It also
decided that a single allocation for ACDS without regard to
bandwidth would be the best approach. "We note that this will put
responsibility on the digital community to hold an effective dialog
on the issue and to then self-regulate the users of this segment to
adhere to the eventual agreement." A need for flexibility in
allocations is desirable, the committee said, and considered whether
allocations might be time-of-day or time-of-week dependent, for

"Modern amateurs must expect to adapt to this kind of fluid
assignment of spectrum to incompatible uses, using time-based
sharing, rather than only a single assignment," the committee said,
expressing the hope that as band plan/sharing agreements are reached
that they consider the advantage of non-simultaneous sharing

Reiterating the position ARRL has taken in recent FCC filings, the
committee said it sees encryption and open-source as enforcement
matters as being outside the scope of the Band Planning Committee.

The Committee would like comments by February 19.  Comments may be
filed online at, .