ARRL General Bulletin ARLB017 (2005)

ARLB017 ARRL board adopts modified regulation by bandwidth proposal

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 17  ARLB017
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  July 20, 2005
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB017 ARRL board adopts modified regulation by bandwidth proposal

Following considerable discussion and debate, the ARRL Board of
Directors has approved a modified set of recommendations to regulate
the use of amateur spectrum by emission bandwidth rather than by
emission mode. Last April, the ARRL Executive Committee reached
consensus on a set of regulation-by-bandwidth proposals (which can
be found on the web at,
to serve as the basis of an FCC Petition for Rule Making. Following
additional fine tuning based on hundreds of comments from the
amateur community, the Board formally adopted a further-modified
plan at its July 15-16 meeting.

The revised plan includes a stipulation that the League "will
promptly undertake a procedure to establish a band plan to be
utilized with the proposed subband allocation petition, and, until
such time as that band plan is in place, the existing band plan will
be in force." ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, remarked after the
Board's 12-3 vote that improved band planning is critical to the
success of the League's regulation-by-bandwidth proposals and will
require the support of the amateur community at large.

"I think it's fair to say that the Board recognizes that regulation
by bandwidth is not going to work without a spirit of cooperation
among amateurs pursuing different interests," he said, "any more
than current regulations would be adequate without a spirit of
cooperation." Sumner pointed out that under the current rules, RTTY
and data enthusiasts may, by rule, operate in the low end of the CW
subbands. "They don't, because to do so would disrupt amateur CW,"
he said.

Sumner said that if the FCC ultimately implements the modified ARRL
recommendations, there's no reason to believe that amateurs will
operate right up to the absolute limit of what the FCC says they
may, any more than they do now.

The regulation-by-bandwidth issue dominated the Board's second
meeting of the year in Windsor, Connecticut. After a great deal of
give and take among its members, the Board ultimately okayed raising
the maximum bandwidth proposed for frequencies below 29 MHz from 3.0
kHz to 3.5 kHz. A provision permitting the continued use of
double-sideband AM with bandwidth of up to 9 kHz was retained.

Significantly, the Board also agreed that maximum permitted
bandwidth should be defined in terms of necessary rather than
occupied bandwidth. In addition, the modified proposal removes the
exception for independent sideband (ISB) emissions and drops certain
mode restrictions on Novice and Technician class operators.

The ARRL proposal would leave two important FCC rules unchanged.
Part 97.307(a) says: "No amateur station transmission shall occupy
more bandwidth than necessary for the information rate and emission
type being transmitted, in accordance with good amateur practice."
Part 97.101(a) reads: "In all respects not specifically covered by
FCC Rules each amateur station must be operated in accordance with
good engineering and good amateur practice."

Per the Board's motion, the ARRL Executive Committee will review the
final rule making petition, which will be filed with the FCC at the
Committee's discretion.

The Board began work on the bandwidth concept in 2002.

In other action, the ARRL Board adopted a resolution to establish an
ARRL VHF/UHF Advisory Committee (VUAC) to address contesting issues
over a period of no more than three years. The new panel, to be
comprised of "exceptionally qualified and recognized members of the
VHF/UHF community," will seek input from VHF/UHF contesting
"public," identify important issues and "seek the sense of the
'public'" on those issues.

The Board also adopted five strategies to address improvements in
the ARRL advocacy program and members-only features of the Web site,
and review and analysis of ARRL programs.

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, chaired this month's Board
meeting. Radio Amateurs of Canada President Earle Smith, VE6NM, was
a guest of the Board.