ARRL General Bulletin ARLB097 (1996)

ARLB097 NTIA Report Bullish on Additional HF Allocations for Amateur

ARRL Bulletin 97  ARLB097
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  December 17, 1996
To all radio amateurs

ARLB097 NTIA Report Bullish on Additional HF Allocations for Amateur

High Frequency (3-30 MHz) Spectrum Planning Options, a planning
document released December 13 by the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration, says the HF spectrum is flexible enough
''to accommodate most, if not all,'' demands for additional HF
spectrum, including new and bigger HF ham bands.  The NTIA is an
Executive Branch agency in the Department of Commerce that's
responsible for developing telecommunications policy and advising
the President on telecommunications matters.  The NTIA's latest
report is a follow-on to an NTIA study released in March 1995 (see
QST, June 1995, page 75).

The Options report addresses spectrum availability and long-range
planning options for services that were identified in the earlier
report as needing additional HF spectrum--including Amateur Radio.
The report cites a potential 900 kHz or so of expanded or upgraded
allocations for Amateur Radio in the HF spectrum, including:

+ an exclusive, worldwide allocation at 3500 to 3800 kHz
+ a new band at 4945 to 4995 kHz (additional technical studies would
be required)
+ an ''aligned worldwide'' allocation at 6900 to 7200 kHz
+ expanded worldwide, primary allocations at 10100 to 10350 and
14000 to 14400 kHz
+ expanded allocations at 18068 to 18318, 24740-24890, and 28000 to
30000 kHz.

Some of the potential expansions proposed for amateurs and
broadcasting are mutually exclusive or could involve sharing by the
two services.  These include the potential expansions at 30, 20 and
17 meters.  According to the report, ham radio allocations account
for 13.1 percent of the HF spectrum (3 to 30 Mhz).  ''There are no
current plans to auction any HF spectrum,'' the NTIA report states,
but notes that additional allocations for ham radio would come at
the expense of other services--primarily fixed, fixed-mobile and
broadcasting.  ''The expansion and upgrading of amateur allocations
in the 10 MHz, 14 MHz, 18 MHz, and 24 MHz (bands) appear acceptable;
however, this will depend on future decrease of requirements for the
aeronautical mobile (R) or the fixed services internationally,'' the
report said.  Changes in the 80 and 40-meter bands ''will require the
inclusion of these proposals in US preparations for future WRCs,''
the report added.  A requested allocation at 6900-7200 would serve
''to reduce inter-regional sharing and interference from HF
broadcasting in the 7100-7300 kHz band,'' the report said.  The
report called the requested upgraded allocation at 3500 to 3800 kHz
''a good candidate for a common worldwide exclusive amateur
allocation at the 3.5 MHz band.''

To help satisfy demand for additional HF spectrum access, the report
suggests more efficient use of current allocations, moving current
HF spectrum users to other portions of the HF spectrum, use of other
non-spectrum technologies and use of higher frequencies.  The report
also said sharing--and removal of some ''exclusive''
allocations--might be another option.

Calling ham radio ''the oldest radio service'' and one that ''pre-dates
regulation,'' the NTIA report casts the hobby in a favorable light.
''Radio amateurs have made significant contributions to the field of
radio propagation, HF single-sideband radio, HF data communications
systems, packet radio protocols and communications satellite
design.'' The report goes on to say that ham radio ''continues to play
an important role in disaster-relief communications, where amateurs
provide radiocommunications independent of the telephone network or
other radio services.''

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