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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB007 (2017)

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ARLB007 FCC Invites Comments on ARRL Petition to Allocate New 5 MHz
Band

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ARRL Bulletin 7  ARLB007
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  February 21, 2017
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB007
ARLB007 FCC Invites Comments on ARRL Petition to Allocate New 5 MHz
Band

The FCC has invited comments on the ARRL's January 12 Petition for
Rule Making to allocate a new, contiguous secondary band at 5 MHz to
the Amateur Service. The League also asked the Commission to keep
four of the current five 60-meter channels - one would be within the
new band - as well as the current operating rules, including the 100
W PEP effective radiated power (ERP) limit. The federal government
is the primary user of the 5 MHz spectrum. The FCC has designated
the League's Petition as RM-11785 and put it on public notice.
Comments are due Monday, March 20. ARRL plans to file comments in
support of its petition.

The proposed ARRL action would implement a portion of the Final Acts
of World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) that provided
for a secondary international allocation of 5,351.5 to 5,366.5 kHz
to the Amateur Service; that band includes 5,358.5 KHz, one of the
existing 5 MHz channels in the US. The FCC has not yet acted to
implement other portions of the WRC-15 Final Acts.

"Such implementation will allow radio amateurs engaged in emergency
and disaster relief communications, and especially those between the
United States and the Caribbean basin, to more reliably, more
flexibly and more capably conduct those communications [and
preparedness exercises], before the next hurricane season in the
summer of 2017," ARRL said in its petition.

The League said that 14 years of Amateur Radio experience using the
five discrete 5-MHz channels have shown that hams can get along well
with primary users at 5 MHz, while complying with the regulations
established for their use. "Neither ARRL, nor, apparently, NTIA is
aware of a single reported instance of interference to a federal
user by a radio amateur operating at 5 MHz to date," ARRL said in
its petition. NTIA - the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration, which regulates federal spectrum - initially
proposed the five channels for Amateur Radio use. In recent years,
Amateur Radio has cooperated with federal users such as FEMA in
conducting communication interoperability exercises.

The League said in its petition that while the Amateur Radio
community is grateful to the FCC and NTIA for providing some access
to the 5-MHz band, "the five channels are, simply stated, completely
inadequate to accommodate the emergency preparedness needs of the
Amateur Service in this HF frequency range," ARRL said. Access even
to the tiny 15-kHz wide band adopted at WRC-15 would "radically
improve the current, very limited capacity of the Amateur Service in
the United States to address emergencies and disaster relief," ARRL
said.

The WRC-15 Final Acts stipulated a power limit of 15 W effective
isotropic radiated power (EIRP), which the League said "completely
defeats the entire premise for the allocation in the first place."
ARRL said the FCC should permit a power level of 100 W PEP ERP,
assuming use of a 0 dBd gain antenna, in the contiguous 60-meter
band. "To impose the power limit adopted at WRC-15 for the
contiguous band would render the band unsuitable for emergency and
public service communications," the League said.

The ITU Radio Regulations permit assignments at variance with the
International Table of Allocations, provided a non-interference
condition is attached.

Interested parties may comment on RM-11785 using the FCC's
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) at,
https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/ .
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