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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB010 (2019)

ARLB010 FCC Invites Comments on ARRL Technician Enhancement Proposal

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 10  ARLB010
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  March 15, 2019
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB010 FCC Invites Comments on ARRL Technician Enhancement Proposal

The FCC has invited public comments on ARRL's 2018 Petition for Rule
Making, now designated as RM-11828, which asks the FCC to expand HF
privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone
privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode
privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters.

Interested parties have 30 days to comment. The Technician
enhancement proposals stemmed from the recommendations of the ARRL
Board of Directors' Entry-Level License Committee, which explored
various initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.

"This action will enhance the available license operating privileges
in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the
Amateur Service," ARRL said in its Petition. "It will attract more
newcomers to Amateur Radio, it will result in increased retention of
licensees who hold Technician Class licenses, and it will provide an
improved incentive for entry-level licensees to increase technical
self-training and pursue higher license class achievement and
development of communications skills."

Specifically, ARRL proposes to provide Technician licensees - both
present and future - with:

* Phone privileges at 3.900 to 4.000 MHz, 7.225 to 7.300 MHz, and
21.350 to 21.450 MHz.

* RTTY and digital privileges in current Technician allocations on
80, 40, 15, and 10 meters.

The ARRL petition points out the explosion in popularity of various
digital modes over the past 2 decades. Under the ARRL plan, the
maximum HF power level for Technician operators would remain at 200
W PEP. The few remaining Novice licensees would gain no new
privileges under ARRL's proposal.

ARRL's petition points to the need for compelling incentives not
only to become a radio amateur in the first place, but then to
upgrade and further develop skills. Demographic and technological
changes call for a "periodic rebalancing" between those two
objectives, ARRL maintained in his proposal. The FCC has not
assessed entry-level operating privileges since 2005.

The Entry-Level License Committee offered very specific data- and
survey-supported findings about growth in Amateur Radio and its
place in the advanced technological demographic, which includes
individuals younger than 30. It received significant input from ARRL
members via more than 8,000 survey responses. "The Committee's
analysis noted that today, Amateur Radio exists among many more
modes of communication than it did half a century ago, or even 20
years ago," ARRL said in its petition.

Now numbering some 384,500, Technician licensees comprise more than
half of the US Amateur Radio population. ARRL stressed in its
petition the urgency of making the license more attractive to
newcomers, in part to improve upon Science, Technology, Engineering,
and Mathematics (STEM) education, "that inescapably accompanies a
healthy, growing Amateur Radio Service."

ARRL said its proposal is critical to develop improved operating
skills, increasing emergency preparedness participation, improving
technical self-training, and boosting overall growth in the Amateur
Service, which has remained nearly inert at about 1% per year.

The Entry-Level License Committee determined that the current
Technician class question pool already covers far more material than
necessary for an entry-level exam to validate expanded privileges.
ARRL told the FCC that it would continue to refine examination
preparation and training materials aimed at STEM topics, increase
outreach and recruitment, work with Amateur Radio clubs, and
encourage educational institutions to utilize Amateur Radio in STEM
and other experiential learning programs.


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