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Defending the Amateur Radio Spectrum: Everyone’s Responsibility


The second edition of Spectrum Defense Matters -- a newsletter aimed at keeping ARRL members updated on issues related to the protection of Amateur Radio frequencies -- has just been released on the ARRL Web site. This newsletter covers both domestic and international topics related to the Amateur Radio spectrum. Your financial support is vital to continue the ARRL’s work to protect your operating privileges. You can do this by contributing generously to the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund.

“We are facing very real and immediate challenges [to the amateur spectrum],” said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. “Over the past couple of months, we have addressed FCC spectrum management issues affecting our 430 MHz and 2.3 GHz bands, as well as interference from unlicensed stations operating in the lower part of 10 meters.” But Sumner said that opportunities lurk among the challenges: “A possible new amateur band just below the AM broadcast band is on the agenda of the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12). We face significant hurdles in getting what would be at best a secondary allocation, but we’re working hard to persuade the radio services in this part of the spectrum that an amateur allocation is compatible with their future requirements. We recently gained crucial support [for this allocation] in the United States.”

This issue of Spectrum Defense Matters includes articles on how both the FCC and the NTIA have agreed to support a secondary MF allocation to the amateur spectrum at 461-469 kHz and 471-478 kHz at WRC-12. ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX -- as the United States spokesperson for Amateur Radio issues at the ITU -- is working hard to effectively and fairly present the case for Amateur Radio over significant resistance by maritime interests both inside and outside the United States

Other articles include the ARRL’s ongoing saga with the FCC over the ReconRobotics waiver. Back in January 2008, ReconRobotics filed a waiver request with the FCC to permit its Recon Scout surveillance robots to operate for law enforcement and public safety purposes in the 430-448 MHz (70 cm) band; the FCC granted the waiver earlier this year. The ARRL opposed the waiver, maintaining that there were other, more suitable frequencies on which the device could operate. The ARRL’s position was that the appropriate solution was to redesign the product for the domestic market, not to force-fit it into an unsuitable allocation. In August, the ARRL filed petitions with the FCC, asking the Commission to deny the first wave of license applications for Recon Scouts, saying these applications contained numerous errors. The FCC recognized this, returning the first of the applications on the grounds that it was not consistent with the waiver Order.

Another article discusses an FCC proceeding that could affect the Citizens Radio Service. In June, the FCC opened a proceeding -- WT Docket No. 10-119 -- “to simplify, streamline and update the Part 95 rules to reflect technological advances and changes in the way the American public uses the various Personal Radio Services.” The Citizens (CB) Radio Service is one of several Personal Radio Services regulated by Part 95. The ARRL filed comments with the FCC in this proceeding, limited to issues affecting the Amateur Radio Service.

How You Can Help Protect the Amateur Radio Spectrum

If you value the Amateur Radio spectrum, help the ARRL protect this valuable resource. For a $50 contribution to the Spectrum Defense Fund, you will receive a beautiful 2010 Spectrum Defense pin that you can wear with pride, knowing you are doing your part to help to protect your on-air privileges. With a donation of $100, you will not only receive the pin, but also a 2010 Spectrum Defense mug.

Sumner said that it takes what he called “a concerted global effort to protect Amateur Radio’s access to the radio spectrum and guard against interference that reduces our ability to communicate.” You can take an important step right now to support ARRL’s commitment to defending the Amateur Radio Spectrum. According to ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, the ARRL is almost $194,000 shy of its Spectrum Defense Fund goal of raising $325,000 by the December 31 deadline.

“Please make a generous contribution to the Spectrum Defense Fund by mail, on the Web or by phone,” she said. “Perhaps you’ll consider a very easy way to contribute by pledging $10 or $20 or $100 a month. Your financial commitment, over and above your annual dues, will ensure that ARRL has the resources to represent you and protect your operating frequencies.” To make a donation via mail, please send to Spectrum Defense Fund, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. To make a contribution over the phone, or to discuss other giving options, please call 860-594-0397.



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