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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB013 (2014)

ARLB013 FCC Decides Not to Adopt New Rules Affecting 902-928 MHz

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 13  ARLB013
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  June 12, 2014
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB013 FCC Decides Not to Adopt New Rules Affecting 902-928 MHz

The FCC has terminated a longstanding proceeding involving the
902-928 MHz (33 centimeter) band. In 2006, the FCC, in WT Docket
06-49, proposed rule changes to encourage development of the
Multilateration Location Monitoring Service (M-LMS) - a terrestrial
service for location of objects and tracking. Amateur Radio is
secondary in the band to federal radiolocation systems, industrial,
scientific and medical devices, federal fixed and mobile systems,
and the M-LMS. This week, the FCC, with little fanfare, concluded
that proceeding. The notice can be found on the web in PDF format

"Based on the record before us, and on recent developments
pertaining to M-LMS operations in the 902-928 MHz band, we conclude
that the various proposals for wholesale revisions of the applicable
rules do not merit further consideration at this time," the FCC

Commenting on the 2006 proposal, the ARRL expressed concern about
increasing noise levels in the band. "This 'kitchen sink' of
allocations is acceptable from ARRL's perspective, provided that the
noise floor is regulated, in terms of aggregate noise levels from
unlicensed devices," the League said. "The high power levels
permitted in this band in particular bear careful watching, lest the
allocated radio services, including federal systems, suffer
decreased utility of the band."

After the FCC last June gave consent to Progeny LMS to begin
commercial operation of its M-LMS in the upper portion of the
902-928 MHz band, the ARRL worried that a portion of the band could
become less useful to radio amateurs in urban areas. "Progeny is
deploying a wide-area positioning system to provide more precise
location services in areas where Global Positioning System (GPS) and
other existing services may not work effectively, particularly
indoors and in urban canyons," the FCC explained at the time.
Progeny's location service is designed to operate on approximately 4
megahertz - about one-half of the M-LMS portions of the band between
919.750 and 927.750 MHz - where Progeny holds licenses.

While M-LMS operations, at least on paper, have a higher priority
than unlicensed Part 15 devices on the band, Progeny had to
demonstrate through field testing that its network would not cause
"unacceptable levels of interference" to such Part 15 devices as
cordless telephones and baby monitors. This was a result of an FCC
policy to promote "co-existence" in the band, while not elevating
Part 15 devices to co-equal status with M-LMS systems.

In his June 2012 "It Seems to Us..." editorial in QST, ARRL CEO
David Sumner, K1ZZ, pointed out that effectively setting unlicensed
services such as Part 15 at a higher priority than licensed services
"is the reverse of the usual situation in which Part 15 devices are
at the bottom of the pecking order." Federal (military)
radiolocation and ISM Part 18 devices are at the top of the 902-928
MHz food chain. Sumner predicted that operations such as Progeny's
"will pose some new challenges for amateurs in a band that is
already impacted by other users."

The latest FCC action will not affect Progeny's M-LMS deployment. In
terminating the 2006 proceeding, the Commission said it had
concluded that Progeny could commence commercial M-LMS operations
"within the framework that the Commission initially had established
to promote the co-existence of M-LMS operations and unlicensed
operations in the band."


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