ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB028 (2002)

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ARLB028 FCC proposes two new amateur bands!

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ARRL Bulletin 28  ARLB028
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  May 10, 2002
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB028
ARLB028 FCC proposes two new amateur bands!

Good news for ham radio this week! FCC has proposed going along with
ARRL's request for a new domestic (US-only), secondary HF allocation
at 5.25 to 5.4 MHz. The FCC also is ready to permit operation on a
136-kHz ''sliver band'' in the low-frequency (LF) region. And, in
response to a third ARRL request, the FCC has proposed elevating
Amateur Radio to primary status at 2400 to 2402 MHz.

''I'm just as tickled as I can be,'' ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP,
said upon hearing the news. ''This is a classic example of our ARRL
at work.''

The FCC voted unanimously May 2 to adopt the Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking in ET Docket 02-98. The Commission released a Public
Notice May 9, and the NPRM is expected to be released soon. A
comment deadline will be announced as soon as it's available.

The FCC said the new 5-MHz band would help amateurs ''better match
their choice of frequency to existing propagation conditions.'' The
band, if approved, would be the first new amateur HF allocation
since World Administrative Radio Conference 1979 gave amateurs 30,
17 and 12 meters--the so-called ''WARC Bands.'' Assuming the 5-MHz
band eventually is authorized, it could be a few years before it
actually becomes available.

The League said its successful WA2XSY experiments demonstrated that
amateurs can coexist with current users and that the band is very
suitable for US-to-Caribbean paths. In comparisons with 80 and 40
meters, the WA2XSY operation also showed the 60-meter band to be the
most reliable of the three. The ARRL also argued that a new 150-kHz
allocation at 5 MHz could relieve periodic overcrowding on 80 and
40.

If allocated to amateurs on a secondary basis, hams would have to
avoid interfering with--and accept interference from--current
occupants of the spectrum, as they already do on 30 meters. The band
5.250 to 5.450 MHz now is allocated to Fixed and Mobile services on
a co-primary basis in all three ITU regions.

The ARRL asked the FCC for two LF allocations in October 1998--135.7
to 137.8 kHz and 160 to 190 kHz. The FCC said its action on one part
of that LF request proposes changes that would enhance the ability
of amateur radio operators to conduct technical experiments,
including propagation and antenna design experiments, in the 'low
frequency' (LF) range of the radio spectrum.''

Several countries in Europe and elsewhere already have 136-kHz
amateur allocations. The first amateur transatlantic contact on the
band was recorded in February 2001.

Hams would be secondary to the Fixed and Maritime Mobile services in
the 136-kHz allocation. The League said its engineering surveys
suggest that hams could operate without causing problems to power
line carrier (PLC) systems already active in that vicinity or to
government assignments. Unallocated Part 15 PLC systems are used by
electric utilities to send control signals, data and voice.

The FCC said its proposal to upgrade the Amateur Service allocation
at 2400 to 2402 MHz to primary ''seeks to protect current amateur use
of this band.'' Hams have shared their other 2.4 GHz spectrum on a
secondary basis with government users.

Amateurs already are primary at 2390 to 2400 and from 2402 to 2417
MHz. The ARRL has said primary status in the intervening spectrum
slice was needed ''to provide some assurances of future occupancy of
the band segments for the next generation of amateur satellites.''

The ARRL has expressed its belief that hams can continue to
accommodate Part 15 and Part 18 devices at 2.4 GHz.
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