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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB004 (2017)

ARLB004 ARRL Asks FCC to Allocate New 5 MHz Band, Retain Channels
and Current Power Limit

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 4  ARLB004
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  January 13, 2017
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB004 ARRL Asks FCC to Allocate New 5 MHz Band, Retain Channels
and Current Power Limit

ARRL has asked the FCC to allocate a new, secondary contiguous band
at 5 MHz to the Amateur Service, while also retaining four of the
current five 60-meter channels and current operating rules,
including the 100 W PEP effective radiated power (ERP) limit. The
federal government is the primary user of the 5 MHz spectrum. The
proposed action would implement a portion of the Final Acts of World
Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) that provided for a
secondary international allocation of 5,351.5 to 5,366.5 kHz to the
Amateur Service; that band includes 5,358.5 KHz, one of the existing
5 MHz channels in the US.

"Such implementation will allow radio amateurs engaged in emergency
and disaster relief communications, and especially those between the
United States and the Caribbean basin, to more reliably, more
flexibly and more capably conduct those communications [and
preparedness exercises], before the next hurricane season in the
summer of 2017," ARRL said in a January 12 Petition for Rule Making.
The FCC has not yet acted to implement other portions of the WRC-15
Final Acts.

The Petition for Rule Making can be found on the web in PDF format
at, .

The League said that 14 years of Amateur Radio experience using the
five discrete 5-MHz channels have shown that hams can get along well
with primary users at 5 MHz, while complying with the regulations
established for their use. "Neither ARRL, nor, apparently, NTIA is
aware of a single reported instance of interference to a federal
user by a radio amateur operating at 5 MHz to date," ARRL said in
its petition. NTIA - the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration, which regulates federal spectrum - initially
proposed the five channels for Amateur Radio use. In recent years,
Amateur Radio has cooperated with federal users such as FEMA in
conducting communication interoperability exercises.

"While the Amateur Radio community is grateful to the Commission and
to NTIA for the accommodation over the past 14 years of some access
to the 5-MHz band, the five channels are, simply stated, completely
inadequate to accommodate the emergency preparedness needs of the
Amateur Service in this HF frequency range," ARRL said, adding that
the five 2.8-kHz wide channels "have not provided sufficient
capacity to enable competent emergency preparedness and disaster
relief capability."

Access even to the tiny 15-kHz wide band adopted at WRC-15 would
"radically improve the current, very limited capacity of the Amateur
Service in the United States to address emergencies and disaster
relief," ARRL said. "This is most notably true in the Caribbean
Basin, but the same effect will be realized elsewhere as well, at
all times of the day and night, and at all times of the sunspot

In its Petition, ARRL also called upon the FCC to retain the same
service rules now governing the five channels for the new band. The
WRC-15 Final Acts stipulated a power limit of 15 W effective
isotropic radiated power (EIRP), which the League said "completely
defeats the entire premise for the allocation in the first place."

"For precisely the same reasons that the Commission consented to a
power increase on the five channels as recently as 2011 [from 50 W
PEP ERP to 100 W PEP ERP], the Commission should permit a power
level of 100 W PEP ERP, assuming use of a 0 dBd gain antenna, in the
contiguous 60-meter band," ARRL said. "To impose the power limit
adopted at WRC-15 for the contiguous band would render the band
unsuitable for emergency and public service communications."

ARRL pointed out that the ITU Radio Regulations permit assignments
that are at variance with the International Table of Allocations,
provided a non-interference condition is attached, limiting the use
of such an assignment relative to stations operating in accordance
with the Table.

The League asked that General class or higher licensees be permitted
to use the band. The FCC will not invite comments on the League's
Petition until it puts it on public notice and assigns a Rule Making
(RM) number.


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