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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB031 (2023)

ARLB031 ARRL Hails FCC Action to Remove Symbol Rate Restrictions

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 31  ARLB031
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  November 14, 2023
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB031 ARRL Hails FCC Action to Remove Symbol Rate Restrictions

The FCC Commissioners unanimously voted to amend the Amateur Radio
Service rules to replace the baud rate limit on the Amateur HF bands
with a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limit to permit greater flexibility in data

"The Federal Communications Commission today adopted new rules to
incentivize innovation and experimentation in the amateur radio
bands by removing outdated restrictions and providing licensees with
the flexibility to use modern digital emissions," announced FCC.

The announcement can be found online at, .

The new rules can be found online at, .

"Specifically, we remove limitations on the symbol rate (also known
as baud rate) -- the rate at which the carrier waveform amplitude,
frequency, and/or phase is varied to transmit information --
applicable to data emissions in certain amateur bands," concluded
the FCC Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
adopted November 13, 2023. "The amateur radio community can play a
vital role in emergency response communications but is often
unnecessarily hindered by the baud rate limitations in the rules."

Consistent with ARRL's request, the amended rules will replace the
current HF restrictions with a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limit. "We agree
with ARRL that a 2.8 kilohertz bandwidth limitation will allow for
additional emissions currently prohibited under the baud rate
limitations while providing sufficient protections in the shared
RTTY/data subbands," concluded the FCC Report and Order.

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, hailed the FCC's action to
remove the symbol rate restrictions. Roderick stated that "this
action will measurably facilitate the public service communications
that amateurs step up to provide, especially at times of natural
disasters and other emergencies such as during the hurricane season.
Digital technology continues to evolve, and removing the outmoded
data restrictions restores the incentive for radio amateurs to
continue to experiment and develop more spectrum-efficient protocols
and methods while the 2.8 kHz bandwidth limit will help protect the
shared nature of our bands. We thank Congresswoman [Debbie] Lesko
(AZ-08) for her efforts on behalf of all Amateurs to get these
restrictions removed."

In a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), the FCC proposes
to eliminate similar restrictions where they apply in other bands.
"We propose to remove the baud rate limitation in the 2200 meter
band and 630 meter band - and in the very high frequency (VHF) bands
and the ultra-high frequency (UHF) bands.

"Additionally, we seek comment on the appropriate bandwidth
limitation for the 2200 meter band, the 630 meter band, and the
VHF/UHF bands."

ARRL has previously expressed its support for eliminating the symbol
rate limits in favor of bandwidth limits where they apply on the VHF
and UHF bands but suggested that the bandwidth limits themselves be
reviewed in light of today's technology and tomorrow's
possibilities. Similarly, when eliminating the baud limits on the
2200 and 630-meter bands, consideration should be given to what, if
any, bandwidth limits are appropriate.

The FCC will announce a period for public comment on the additional
proposed changes based upon publication of the FNPRM in the Federal


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