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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB027 (2016)

ARLB027 FCC Proposes Rule Changes in Response to ARRL's "Symbol
Rate" Petition, Seeks Comment

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 27  ARLB027
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  July 29, 2016
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB027 FCC Proposes Rule Changes in Response to ARRL's "Symbol
Rate" Petition, Seeks Comment

The FCC has proposed to revise the Amateur Service Part 97 rules in
response to the ARRL's so-called "Symbol Rate" Petition for Rule
Making (RM-11708), filed in late 2013, and it has invited comments
on its recommended changes. The Notice of Proposed Rule Making
(NPRM) in WT Docket 16-239, released on July 28, had been making the
rounds at the FCC since May. ARRL had asked the FCC to change the
Part 97 rules to delete the symbol rate limits in Part 97.307(f) and
replace it with a maximum bandwidth for data emissions of 2.8 kHz on
amateur frequencies below 29.7 MHz.

The NPRM can be found on the web in PDF format at,

"[W]e believe that the public interest may be served by revising the
Amateur Service rules to eliminate the current baud rate limitations
for data emissions, consistent with ARRL's Petition, to allow
Amateur Service licensees to use modern digital emissions, thereby
furthering the purposes of the Amateur Service and enhancing the
usefulness of the service," the FCC said in its NPRM.

"We do not, however, propose a bandwidth limitation for data
emissions in the MF and HF bands to replace the baud rate
limitations," the NPRM concluded, "because the rules' current
approach for limiting bandwidth use by amateur stations using one of
the specified digital codes to encode the signal being transmitted
appears sufficient to ensure that general access to the band by
licensees in the Amateur Service does not become unduly impaired."

Under the current rules, "specified digital codes" in Part 97 may be
used with a symbol rate that does not exceed 300 baud for
frequencies below 28 MHz, with the exception of 60 meters, and 1200
baud in the 10 meter band. The baud rate limits were adopted in
1980, when the FCC amended Part 97 to specify ASCII as a permissible
digital code.

Comments in the proceeding will be due 60 days after the date that
the NPRM appears in the Federal Register.


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