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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB025 (2004)

ARLB025 ARRL seeks comment on draft "Bandwidth" petition

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 25  ARLB025
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  August 25, 2004
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB025 ARRL seeks comment on draft "Bandwidth" petition

The ARRL wants members' comments on a planned petition to the FCC
seeking to regulate amateur subbands by bandwidth rather than by
mode. The ARRL Board of Directors adopted the petition's guiding
principle in July 2002 and wrapped up its review of a draft petition
late last month.

"The main objective is to make appropriate provision for digital
modes in the HF amateur bands, while preserving amateurs'
prerogatives to use the traditional modes," said ARRL CEO David
Sumner, K1ZZ. "Regulation by Bandwidth" is the title of Sumner's "It
Seems to Us . . ." editorial in the September issue of QST.

The ARRL Executive Committee decided to make a synopsis and
explanation of the petition available to ARRL members before filing
it with the FCC. The idea is to give anyone interested in the issue
a chance to better understand the ARRL's proposal and the rationale
behind it--mainly creating a regulatory environment more
accommodating to newer technologies.

"The regulation of emission modes in Amateur Radio Service
allocations is a limiting factor with respect to Amateur Radio
experimentation," a synopsis of the petition concludes. "It leads to
attempts to put new technology into a regulatory framework that was
designed only to deal with older analog emissions." In order to
implement digital technologies, an underlying assumption in the
League's draft petition is to provide for an intermediate
bandwidth--between what's needed for the legacy CW and phone
modes--in the middle of certain bands.

As drafted, the ARRL's bandwidth petition would preserve
double-sideband AM unchanged, but it would stop short of opening the
phone bands to digital and other modes of the same bandwidth.

FCC rules now permit RTTY and data emissions throughout the HF CW
subbands, although informal agreements typically keep RTTY and data
signals out of those parts of the CW band generally used for CW. The
ARRL's petition proposes to limit bandwidth in the CW subbands to
200 Hz, which also will accommodate data modes such as PSK31.

In addition, the League's proposal would limit bandwidth in the
existing "RTTY/data subbands" to either 500 Hz or 3 kHz, with phone
emissions specifically prohibited in certain subbands where 3 kHz
would be permitted. Under the proposal, these would include
3650-3725, 7100-7125, 14,100-14,150 and 21,150-21,200 kHz.

"The reason for this is to encourage the development of higher-speed
data communications in these subbands by preventing them from
becoming de facto 'expanded phone bands.'" Sumner explained.

The new proposals take into account the ARRL's prior "Novice
refarming" petition to expand some HF phone bands, included in the
FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making in WT Docket 04-140.

Amateurs typically won't have to be able to measure the bandwidth of
their signals, Sumner says, since the bandwidths proposed are more
than sufficient for "clean" signals using traditional HF modes.

The ARRL proposal would eliminate bandwidth restrictions in the
222-225 MHz band--beyond a requirement to keep signals confined
within the band.

Sumner encouraged ARRL members to review the synopsis of the
petition and the specific rule changes the League plans to propose.
It is located on the web at,

Direct questions or comments--favorable or otherwise--via e-mail at,  ARRL staff members will respond to any
questions, while comments will be forwarded to your ARRL division
director. Members also are welcome to comment directly to their ARRL
directors, of which a list can be found on the web at,, and also listed on page 15 in QST.


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