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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB014 (2008)

ARLB014 ARRL Files Petition with FCC against Experimental License
Using 40 Meter Band

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 14  ARLB014
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  October 22, 2008
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB014 ARRL Files Petition with FCC against Experimental License
Using 40 Meter Band

On Monday, October 20, the ARRL filed a Petition for Modification or
Cancellation of Experimental Authorization (Petition) with the FCC
with respect to WE2XRH. According to the FCC, this experimental
license -- issued to Digital Aurora Radio Technologies (DART) --
proposes to "test digital transmissions in 4.50-5.10 MHz, 7.10-7.60
MHz and 9.25-9.95 MHz for a terrestrial digital radio service to the
citizens of Alaska."

The League's Petition states that DART's hopes that this
experimentation "will lead to a terrestrial, high-frequency (HF)
digital aural (domestic broadcast) service in Alaska. Ostensibly to
study the operation of this 'shortwave' system at high latitudes,
and apparently in order to roll out this domestic broadcast service,
DART specifies exceptionally high power operation in various
segments of the HF spectrum. ARRL's interest in this matter is
limited to the fact that the experimental license includes the band
7.1 -7.3 MHz, allocated domestically exclusively to the Amateur
Radio Service."

"It is astonishing that the FCC would grant this experimental
license for operation at such a high power level in a band that is
allocated exclusively to a service with which such operation is
clearly incompatible," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David
Sumner, K1ZZ. "The only possible explanation is that it was an
error; the only reasonable step for the FCC to take is to correct
its error immediately, either by cancelling the license or by
amending the frequency ranges to delete 7.1 -7.3 MHz."

It is the ARRL's view that "Simply stated, there is a 100% certainty
of severe, continuous, harmful interference from operation of the
DART facilities as authorized by the Commission to ongoing Amateur
Radio operation at 7.1 to 7.3 MHz. This authorization must be
modified immediately (if not cancelled completely), so as to delete
the band 7.1-7.3 MHz" from DART's experimental license application.

The ARRL ascertains that DART has been permitted operation in the
7.1-7.6 MHz band using a 20 kHz bandwidth digital emission at a
transmitter output power of 100 kW and an ERP of 660 kW within a
radius of 1500 kilometers of Delta Junction, Alaska. In the
Petition, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, points out that
while DART says it will coordinate with the High Frequency
Coordination Conference (HFCC), "[i]t does not propose any
coordination with any individual or entity in the Amateur Service.
There is no showing whatsoever how DART proposes to avoid
interference to Amateur Radio operation at 7.1-7.3 MHz. In fact,
there is no indication that DART is even aware of the allocation."

Calling the 40 meter band "perhaps the most heavily-utilized Amateur
HF band in the United States," the ARRL states that it can see "no
compatible use that DART can make of this band in any state or
territory of the United States, at any time of the day or night" and
will cause "preclusive interference" to amateurs using that portion
of the band. "The entire 7.0 - 7.3 MHz band is used heavily within
Alaska, especially by radio amateurs located in its remotest areas,
at all times. It is particularly critical in times of emergency due
to its daytime and nighttime propagation characteristics. The band
is also used at all times of the day and night for worldwide
communications by radio amateurs."

The League's Petition points out that the FCC's Rules at Section
5.83(b) state that experimental license grants are subject to change
or cancellation by the Commission at any time without hearing if in
the Commission's discretion the need for such action arises: "ARRL
submits that this application should never have been granted as
applied for in the first place, and there is an urgent need to
prohibit operation of the DART high power transmitters in the
entirety of the 7.1-7.3 MHz band. It is likely that DART has been
under a misapprehension that the band is among the international
broadcast allocations, because, in ITU Regions 1 and 3, the band is
allocated to that Service. However, in Region 2, in Alaska, it is
not." After March 29, 2009, 7.1-7.2 MHz will not be available for
broadcasting anywhere.

The League goes on to say that Section 5.85 of the Commission's
Rules governs the selection and use of frequencies by holders of
experimental authorizations and adamantly states that "there is no
justification submitted by DART for the use of the frequency bands
requested, particularly with respect to 7.1-7.3 MHz. It is unclear
why such large segments of spectrum were specified by DART, given
its stated course of experimentation, and given its narrow occupied
bandwidth" and notes that DART "should have been required to conduct
its frequency coordination efforts in advance of the filing of its

The ARRL contends that DART's proposed facility cannot meet the
FCC's requirements, as outlined in the Commission's Rules, Section
5.111(a)(2), "and there is no showing that the transmitter power is
the lowest practical value consistent with the program of
experimentation. Nor has it even taken Amateur Radio operation into
account." This portion of the Rules state that when transmitting,
the experimental licensee "must use every precaution to ensure that
the radio frequency energy emitted will not cause harmful
interference to the services carried on by stations operating in
accordance with the Table of Frequency Allocations of part 2 of this
chapter and, further, that the power radiated is reduced to the
lowest practical value consistent with the program of
experimentation for which the station authorization is granted. If
harmful interference to an established radio service develops, the
licensee shall cease transmissions and such transmissions shall not
be resumed until it is certain that harmful interference will not be

Calling for DART's WE2XRH experimental license to "be cancelled
entirely, or at least modified so as to delete the reference to any
Amateur HF allocation," the ARRL reminded the FCC that DART failed
to make any showing as to how it would avoid interference to Amateur
radio operation at 7.1-7.3 MHz: "ARRL submits that such a showing
could not be made in any case."


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