[AMRadio] More from Central Division Director

SBJohnston at aol.com SBJohnston at aol.com
Fri Nov 9 23:02:00 EST 2007

I just received a further clarification and apology from the ARRL Central 
Division Director...

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9 NOV 2007 - 1505 CDT

Steven B. Johnston, WD8DAS

Dear Mr. Johnston,

Thank you for writing to me twice about the recently approved IARU Region 2
Band Plan.  I have been slow in responding to your messages because of
coincidental bad timing.  Your two emails and a very few others (current
total of 24) on this issue, along with approximately 300 other unrelated
emails arrived during time period when I was planning for and recovering
from a minor outpatient surgical procedure the past two weeks.  I mention
this only to explain my slow response.

Also, when a given issue appears to be generating some controversy, I like
to wait until I have a reasonable reading on the issue and the emails 
I have received.  For routine ARRL items, I try to respond within 48 
hours, if I am
at home.  Now to get down to business...

I admit I should have used neutral, less inflammatory words in my 
last email posting to the entire Central Division and for this 
apologize to you.
However, I stand by the content of my message because:

1. The Region 2 IARU band plan is only advisory and has no effect on our
    current U.S. Amateur Radio Service HF band plan.  The primary intent of
    this document is to provide guidance to Region 2 amateur radio societies
    in countries that have little or nothing in the way of a band plan.  How
    hams in other parts of the world operate effect us and vice versa.  And
    regardless of your or my personal views on band plans, we would have
    chaos without band plan regulations.

2. There are hams in the U.S. (and other parts of the world) who fear any
    real or perceived change in the status quo.  Regardless of my poor
    description of these people, it does not change the fact that they exist
    and that a very few of them are very quick to publicly take offense.
    Those who fall into this category seldom accept all the facts about the
    issue, or issues that have caused them to speak out.  At best, they 
    pick the facts that support their viewpoint.  The phrase in my mind that
    best describes this situation is, "Don't confuse me with the facts 
    my mind is already made up."

The people I described in #2 certainly have the right to speak out 
and I was wrong in my choice of descriptive words in my last division 
email posting.

But I wish individuals who accept at face value what is being said by 
these people would do their own independent fact-checking.  I'm 
skeptical about a
lot of what is said and published about controversial issues, both 
within and outside of amateur radio, until I have done my own 
homework.  My wife says I
am too suspicious, but this characteristic contributed to my 
longevity as a military and then as a civilian professional 
pilot.  And in retirement, it's still my frame of reference.

This skepticism first had me opposing regulation by bandwidth when it 
gained serious consideration by the ARRL board.  It took me about a 
year to finally understand the rationale for it and to then make sure 
that no existing HF
users would be shut out in the proposal.

The concept of regulation by bandwidth was developed via informal FCC-ARRL
staff discussions over several years before I arrived on the ARRL board in
2001.  When (orthogonal?) modulation systems started showing up that 
legally allow wide-band signals in narrow (non-voice) HF sub-bands, 
work on a band- width regulation proposal was formalized by board 
resolution about 18 months after my arrival.  I believe Winlink 2000 
is the first operating mode to use this modulation system.

With the withdrawal of the ARRL's regulation by bandwidth proposal 
this past February, this situation will get worse.  The only real 
impediment to further Winlink 2000 use is the very high cost of the 
proprietary modem.  Eventually, this cost will come down.  I'm not 
opposed to any operating mode including Winlink 2000.  But I'm 
opposed to it's use in our narrow-band sub-bands.
Under our current Part 97 Regulations, it is legal there.

I seriously doubt if another regulation by bandwidth proposal will be put
forth by the ARRL board in the near future.  We failed to educate the 
U.S. amateur radio community about the history of and rationale for 
our first proposal, and to make sure nearly everyone understood how 
it would work.  The ARRL board of directors has to do it's homework 
if we want to have regulation by bandwidth accepted by the U.S. 
amateur radio community.

I support amateur radio HF regulation by bandwidth.  However, I will 
not support an effort to rush another proposal to the FCC.  I have no idea 
long this educational process will take.  But I currently believe 
anything shorter than two years from 1 JAN 2008 will fail.

- George R. Isely, W9GIG
   ARRL Central Div. Director
   St. Charles, IL

   w9gig at arrl.org

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