ARRL General Bulletin ARLB037 (1998)

ARLB037 Rule request clarification

ARRL Bulletin 37  ARLB037
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  May 22, 1998
To all radio amateurs

ARLB037 Rule request clarification

The ARRL says its recent request seeking an FCC declaratory ruling
affirming the value of band plans has been mishandled by the FCC and
misunderstood by the amateur community. In comments on RM-9259 filed
with the FCC, the ARRL says it never intended to propose any changes
to the amateur rules, and its request should not have been treated
as a rulemaking petition.

The ARRL said it does not dictate how bandplans are developed and
was not asking to make specific bandplans mandatory or to
accommodate certain uses to the exclusion of others. ''Exactly the
opposite is intended,'' the League's comments declared. ''Voluntary
bandplans should be voluntary, and adherence to them should remain

The League said its only goal was to have the FCC interpret and
clarify the scope of ''good amateur practice'' as the term is used in
Part 97 of the Commission's rules. It wants the commission to
affirm--as the then-Chief of the Private Radio Bureau did in
1983--that, ''given the widespread acceptance of band plans in the
Amateur Service, operation not in harmony with those plans, which
results in interference to other amateur uses, is not good amateur

The ARRL reiterated that voluntary bandplans that enjoy general
acceptance and adherence among hams are ''indispensable'' and a
keystone to self regulation.

The FCC's handling of the request as a rulemaking petition ''has
caused confusion in the amateur community,'' the League said. ''This
misunderstanding has led commenters to presume that to grant the
request would provide absolute authority on the part of the League
or to volunteer repeater coordinators'' to decide bandplans with the
force of rule, the League said. ''Not so,'' the League's filing said.
''Nothing gives voluntary band plans any more force or effect than is
afforded by the amateur community that accepts, rejects, or modifies

The ARRL's comments conclude by again asking the FCC to issue a
declaratory ruling stating that '''good amateur practice' anticipates
compliance with accepted, voluntary, international, national, and
regional bandplans adopted by cooperation and coordination among
individuals and licensees.''

A copy of the League's comments to the FCC is on the ARRLWeb page at