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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB007 (2018)

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ARLB007 ARRL Requests Expanded HF Privileges for Technician
Licensees

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ARRL Bulletin 7  ARLB007
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  March 1, 2018
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB007
ARLB007 ARRL Requests Expanded HF Privileges for Technician
Licensees

ARRL has asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician
licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15
meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10
meters. The FCC has not yet invited public comment on the proposals,
which stem from recommendations put forth by the ARRL Board of
Directors' Entry-Level License Committee, which explored various
initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.

"This action will enhance the available license operating privileges
in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the
Amateur Service," ARRL said in its Petition. "It will attract more
newcomers to Amateur Radio, it will result in increased retention of
licensees who hold Technician Class licenses, and it will provide an
improved incentive for entry-level licensees to increase technical
self-training and pursue higher license class achievement and
development of communications skills."

Specifically, ARRL proposes to provide Technician licensees, present
and future, with phone privileges at 3.900 to 4.000 MHz, 7.225 to
7.300 MHz, and 21.350 to 21.450 MHz, plus RTTY and digital
privileges in current Technician allocations on 80, 40, 15, and 10
meters. The ARRL petition points out the explosion in popularity of
various digital modes over the past 2 decades. Under the ARRL plan,
the maximum HF power level for Technician operators would remain at
200 W PEP. The few remaining Novice licensees would gain no new
privileges under the League's proposal.

ARRL's petition points to the need for compelling incentives not
only to become a radio amateur in the first place, but then to
upgrade and further develop skills. Demographic and technological
changes call for a "periodic rebalancing" between those two
objectives, the League maintains.

"There has not been such a rebalancing in many years," ARRL said in
its petition. "It is time to do that now." The FCC has not assessed
entry-level operating privileges since 2005.

The Entry-Level License Committee offered very specific data and
survey-supported findings about growth in Amateur Radio and its
place in the advanced technological demographic that includes
individuals younger than 30. It received significant input from ARRL
members via more than 8,000 survey responses.

"The Committee's analysis noted that today, Amateur Radio exists
among many more modes of communication than it did half a century
ago, or even 20 years ago," ARRL said in its petition.

Now numbering some 378,000, Technician licensees comprise more than
half of the US Amateur Radio population. ARRL said that after 17
years of experience with the current Technician license as the
gateway to Amateur Radio, it's urgent to make it more attractive to
newcomers, in part to improve upon science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics (STEM) education "that inescapably accompanies a
healthy, growing Amateur Radio Service," ARRL asserted.

ARRL said its proposal is critical to developing improved operating
skills, increasing emergency communication participation, improving
technical self-training, and boosting overall growth in the Amateur
Service, which has remained nearly inert at about 1% per year.

The Entry-Level License Committee determined that the current
Technician class question pool already covers far more material than
necessary for an entry-level exam to validate expanded privileges.
ARRL told the FCC that it would continue to refine examination
preparation and training materials aimed at STEM topics, increase
outreach and recruitment, work with Amateur Radio clubs, and
encourage educational institutions to utilize Amateur Radio in STEM
and other experiential learning programs.

"ARRL requests that the Commission become a partner in this effort
to promote Amateur Radio as a public benefit by making the very
nominal changes proposed herein in the Technician class license
operating privileges," the petition concluded.
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