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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB012 (2004)

ARLB012 FCC proposes wide-ranging changes to Amateur Service rules

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 12  ARLB012
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  April 16, 2004
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB012 FCC proposes wide-ranging changes to Amateur Service rules

The FCC has released an "omnibus" Notice of Proposed Rule Making
(NPRM) that seeks comments on a wide range of proposed Amateur
Service (Part 97) rule changes. The FCC also denied several
petitions for rule making aimed at altering portions of the Amateur
Radio regulatory landscape and ordered minor changes in Part 97. The
NPRM is a result of a dozen petitions for rule making, all filed
more than a year ago and some as long ago as 2001.

Comments on the proposals put forth in WT Docket 04-140 are due by
Tuesday, June 15, with reply comments by Wednesday, June 30. Among
other changes, the FCC has recommended adopting the ARRL's "Novice
refarming" plan, which can be seen on the web at,

"Because the ARRL petition addresses the operating privileges of all
classes of licensees on these Amateur Service bands, we believe that
the ARRL petition provides a basis for a comprehensive restructuring
of operating privileges," the FCC said.

The ARRL referenced its Novice refarming proposal in its recent
Petition for Rule Making, RM-10867, which, along with three other
petitions remains open for comment until April 23.

The FCC also has proposed essentially eliminating its rules
prohibiting manufacture or marketing of Amateur Radio Service power
amplifiers capable of operating between 24 and 35 MHz. The current
rules "impose unnecessary restrictions on manufacturers of Amateur
Radio equipment and are inconsistent with the experimental nature of
the Amateur Service," the FCC said.

The FCC proposed amending Section 97.201(b) of the rules to permit
auxiliary operation on 2 meters above 144.5 MHz, with the exception
of the satellite subband 145.8 to 146.0 MHz, in addition to
frequency segments already authorized.

The FCC proposed extending the bands available for spread spectrum
experimentation and use to include 222-225 MHz as well as 6 and 2
meters. Current rules limit SS emissions to frequencies above 420

Among other things, the FCC also proposed to prohibit acceptance of
more than one application per applicant per vanity call sign; permit
retransmission of communications between a manned spacecraft and its
associated Earth stations, including the International Space
Station; allow current amateurs to designate a specific Amateur
Radio club to acquire their call sign in memoriam; eliminate Section
97.509(a) of the rules, which requires a public announcement of
volunteer examiner test locations and times; and add to Section
97.505(a) to provide Element 1 (5 WPM Morse) credit to any applicant
holding a Technician license granted after February 14, 1991, and
who can document having passed a telegraphy examination element.

The Commission ordered some changes in Part 97 without requesting
comment. It ordered, among others, the revision of the definition of
an "amateur operator" in Section 97.3(a)(1) to reflect that entry in
the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS), not a license document,
determines whether a person is an Amateur Radio operator.

The FCC adopted a technical change to specify that the mean power of
any spurious emission from a new amateur station transmitter or
amplifier operating below 30 MHz be at least 43 dB below the mean
power of the fundamental emission.

Among other petitions, the FCC turned down a proposal to establish
distinct CW and phone segments in the 160-meter band. Also denied
were petitions that would have imposed restrictions on the time,
length or transmission frequencies of bulletins or informational
transmissions directed at the amateur community and a request to add
to the special event call sign system certain call sign blocks
designating territories and possessions that lack mailing addresses.

The FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making, on the web at,,
in WT Docket 04-140, is available on the FCC Web site.

As soon as the document has been posted, comments on the NPRM may be
filed via the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System at, Click on "Submit a filing." To view
filed comments, click on "Search for filed comments." In either case
enter the NPRM number in the "Proceeding" field as "04-140" (without
the quotation marks).


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