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Spectrum Defense Matters -- to Everyone


In July 2010, the ARRL launched a newsletter called Spectrum Defense Matters to keep its members information on issues related to the protection of Amateur Radio frequencies. This newsletter -- published on the ARRL Web site a few times each year -- will cover both domestic and international topics. Your financial support is vital to support ARRL’s work to protect your operating privileges by contributing generously to the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund.

“The radio spectrum is a finite and increasingly valuable resource,” said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, in this inaugural issue. “Mobile broadband providers are willing to pay almost any price for access that they can sell back to the public. Yet, who can put a price on a community, devastated and cut off by natural disaster, being able to communicate reliably when normal channels have failed? What is the dollar value of a young person being inspired, by his or her hands-on experience as a radio amateur, to pursue a career in science or engineering? On a more personal level, what is the enrichment that Amateur Radio has brought to our own lives worth to each of us?”

Saying that ARRL volunteers and staff work tirelessly every day to protect our spectrum access, Sumner notes that the ARRL is in partnership “with radio amateurs throughout the world, coordinating our efforts through the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). In future issues of this newsletter we plan to report to you on the status of those efforts as we prepare for the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) and as we meet other challenges.”

This first issue of Spectrum Defense Matters includes articles on how the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is opposing an amateur allocation on 500 kHz. 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 how the ARRL is preparing to advocate for Amateur Radio at WRC-12, coming up in January 2012. WRC-12 will consider a number of items that could, in a worst case scenario, adversely impact Amateur Radio. WRC-12 will consider an allocation to the radiolocation service somewhere within 30-300 MHz, potentially affecting the Amateur Radio 50, 144, and 222 MHz bands. Also on the agenda are potential allocations to HF oceanographic radar between 3 and 50 MHz; these radars have operated on an ad hoc, experimental basis for a number of years, and while they are unquestionably useful, they are incompatible with Amateur Radio. Studies regarding these issues will also be finalized in November.

A major milestone will occur in February 2011 when a two-week Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) will be held in Geneva. The CPM, which is likely to attract more than 1000 participants, will prepare a detailed technical report analyzing various options for addressing the more than 30 Agenda Items for the WRC. Inputs to the CPM are being drafted by Working Parties of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R). “If you can picture a thousand people working in six different languages and debating the placement of every comma in a 500-page document, you have an idea of what a CPM is like,” Sumner said. This report will be an influential document, serving as the starting point for deliberations at WRC-12. Both Price and ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, are working to make sure this document gives Amateur Radio the consideration it requires and deserves.

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.

“You can take an important step right now to support ARRL’s commitment to defending the Amateur Radio Spectrum,” Sumner explained. “Please make a generous contribution to the Spectrum Defense Fund by mail, on the Web or by phone. 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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