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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB025 (2016)

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB025
ARLB025 Amateur 47 GHz Allocation Avoids 5G Juggernaut in the US for
Now, Worldwide Defense Continues

ZCZC AG25
QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 25  ARLB025
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  July 20, 2016
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB025
ARLB025 Amateur 47 GHz Allocation Avoids 5G Juggernaut in the US for
Now, Worldwide Defense Continues

There's good news regarding the future of Amateur Radio's primary
allocation at 47 GHz in the US. Still a test bed for point-to-point
propagation experimentation by dedicated enthusiasts, the 47-47.2
GHz band is among those under consideration at the next World
Radiocommunication Conference in 2019 (WRC-19) to accommodate
so-called 5G wireless broadband devices. Early this year, some FCC
commissioners indicated they would include bands on the WRC-19
agenda in the Commission's "Spectrum Frontiers" 5G initiative. As
the Commission put it this week as it made nearly 11 gigahertz of
spectrum above 24.25 GHz available for licensed, unlicensed, and
shared use: "High-band millimeter wave spectrum is key to unlocking
the potential for 5G." The FCC's Spectrum Frontiers included several
of the bands set for consideration at WRC-19, but not the 47 GHz
band - although it did target 47.2-50.2 GHz.

"Maintaining the status quo in the 47-47.2 GHz band is a win for
continued Amateur Radio use of the band in the United States, and
amateurs continue to do great things there," ARRL Chief Technology
Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, allowed. He pointed to the new
US-Canada distance record of 215 kilometers set recently by radio
amateurs from both countries. But, he suggested, Amateur Radio could
be doing more there.

Spectrum in the millimeter range has come under increasing scrutiny,
because the demand for greater throughput has driven demand for
bandwidth - hence, the greater focus on spectrum above 24.25 GHz for
next-generation 5G wireless broadband applications. As Price
explains, it's easier to find 200 megahertz of spectrum in the
millimeter range than at UHF.

Price noted that radio amateurs have set up broadband networks on
several lower microwave bands - nearly all of them allocated to hams
on a secondary basis. "The 47 GHz band is allocated to the Amateur
Service and the Amateur-Satellite Service on a worldwide primary and
exclusive basis," Price pointed out. "We don't have to work around
others in this space."

He suggested that Amateur Radio broadband experimenters consider and
develop upon the work of Ted Rappaport, N9NB - the founding director
of NYU Wireless at New York University's Tandon School of
Engineering - whose investigations have demonstrated that the
millimeter waves may serve next-generation broadband systems. "For a
long time, millimeter waves were thought to be most suitable for the
point-to-point work that radio amateurs perfected and continue to
advance," Price said. "Ted's work indicates that point-to-multipoint
systems are feasible at this range, and the world has taken notice."

Price stressed the need going forward for the worldwide Amateur
Radio community to maintain a staunch defense of all spectrum
allocated to the Service, as the 47 GHz band remains under
consideration by other countries. The International Amateur Radio
Union (IARU) is organizing the protective effort on this and other
issues as it continues to get ready for WRC-19.
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