|[AMRadio] FCC Proposes to Permit Amateur Access to 2200 and 630 Meters|
ars.w5omr at gmail.com
Tue Apr 28 18:41:41 EDT 2015
I mostly *yawn* over VLF activity, especially with a 5w IERP limit. But
there are those that would be interested in knowing about this.
FCC Proposes to Permit Amateur Access to 2200 and 630 Meters
Amateur Radio is poised to gain access to two new bands! The FCC has
allocated a new LF band, 135.7 to 137.8 kHz, to the Amateur Service on a
secondary basis. Allocation of the 2.1 kHz segment, known as 2200
meters, was in accordance with the Final Acts of the 2007 World
Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07). The Commission also has proposed
a new secondary 630 meter MF allocation at 472 to 479 kHz to Amateur
Radio, implementing decisions made at WRC-12. No Amateur Radio operation
will be permitted in either band until the FCC determines, on the basis
of comments, the specific Part 97 rules it must frame to permit
operation in the new bands. Amateur Radio would share both allocations
with unlicensed Part 15 power line carrier (PLC) systems operated by
utilities to control the power grid, as well as with other users. In
addition, the FCC has raised the secondary Amateur Service allocation at
1900 to 2000 kHz to primary, while providing for continued use by
currently unlicensed commercial fishing vessels of radio buoys on the
The allocation changes, associated proposed rules, and suggested topics
for comment are contained in a 257-page FCC Report and Order, Order, and
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing three dockets --- ET-12-338,
ET-15-99, and IB-06-123 --- which affect various radio services in
addition to the Amateur Service. The FCC released the document on April 27.
With respect to the new LF sliver band at 135-7-137.8 kHz, the FCC
concluded that Amateur Radio and PLC systems can coexist there. "Since
the Commission last considered this issue, amateurs have successfully
operated in the band under experimental licenses without reported PLC
interference," the FCC said. "We are also encouraged by the fact that
numerous fixed radionavigation beacons, which operate at much higher
powers, share spectrum with PLC systems without reported interference."
In 2003 the FCC turned down an ARRL proposal to create a 135.7-137.8 kHz
Amateur Radio allocation, after utilities raised fears of a clash
between Amateur Radio and PLC systems operating below the AM broadcast
band. This time, the FCC said, "It is clear that we will have to
establish appropriate requirements for amateur use of the band, if we
are to ensure compatibility with PLC systems." WRC-07 set a maximum
effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) limit of 1 W, which is what
the FCC is proposing.
The FCC said it "explicitly" rejects the suggestion that it choose one
use of the spectrum over the other. "Our objective is to allocate
spectrum on a secondary basis to amateur stations in a
manner...compatible with existing PLC systems," the FCC said. "However,
we also expect to permit amateur operators to make use of the allocation
in a manner that is less burdensome and more productive than they are
currently afforded under the experimental authorization process."
The Commission said that if it concludes, after considering the record,
that Amateur Radio and PLC systems cannot coexist, it would "defer the
adoption of service rules, and amateur users will have to continue to
use the experimental licensing process to operate in the band."
With respect to the proposed 630 meter allocation, the FCC has proposed
limiting amateur stations in the US to a maximum 5 W EIRP. In the US,
435-495 kHz is allocated to the Maritime Mobile Service on a primary
basis for federal and non-federal use, and to the aeronautical
radionavigation service on a secondary basis for federal use.
The ARRL submitted a Petition for Rule Making in 2012 asking the FCC to
allocate 472-479 kHz to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis and to
amend the Part 97 rules to provide for its use. Several countries,
including Canada, already have access to the band. The ARRL has pointed
out that during its extensive course of experimentation in the spectrum
around 500 kHz, no interference reports have been received.
The FCC said that the "cornerstone" of the technical rules it's
proposing for both bands is "physical separation between amateur
stations and the transmission lines" carrying PLC signals. "Such a
separation, in conjunction with limits on the amateur stations'
transmitted EIRP and antenna heights, will enable PLC systems and
amateur stations to coexist in these bands," the FCC asserted. "In
addition, we propose to limit amateur stations to operations at fixed
locations only, to ensure that this separation distance can be
The FCC said it wants to hear from both PLC system users and radio
amateurs regarding technical requirements it would have to put into
place to permit both users to operate comfortably and without
compromising the PLC systems. The Commission suggested that other
requirements might include limits on antenna heights, transmitter power
limits, and operating privilege limits based on license class or mode.
The ARRL will file comments in the proceeding.
The FCC will accept comments for 60 days following publication of the
Report and Order, Order, and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the
Federal Register. Reply comments would be due 30 days after the comment
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