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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB043 (1998)

ARLB043 FCC proposes 5.9 GHz allocation

ARRL Bulletin 43  ARLB043
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  June 17, 1998
To all radio amateurs

ARLB043 FCC proposes 5.9 GHz allocation

The FCC has proposed allocating 5.850 to 5.925 GHz for use by
intelligent transportation systems (ITS).  The Amateur Service has a
secondary allocation at 5.650 to 5.925 GHz with government radar
systems and nongovernment fixed satellite service uplinks.  Under
the proposal, dedicated short range communications (DSRC) highway
safety systems would share the band as coprimary users.

The FCC seeks comments on the need for nationwide operational
standards and channelization and on the potential for DSRC
operations to share with other services.

The June 11 NPRM was in response to a rulemaking petition from the
Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America)
requesting the allocation on a coprimary basis.  Proponents said the
band is optimal for DSRC on the basis of propagation, consistency
with international allocations, and compatibility with existing

ITS America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ITS,
has worked with the ARRL and others to develop a sharing plan.  The
League has said it is prepared to work with ITS entities to resolve
spectrum sharing issues.

In its comments, the ARRL questioned whether the 5.9 GHz band was
appropriate for DSRC and urged the FCC to look into frequencies
above 40 GHz, where DSRC systems could avoid interference from other
users.  The League said the ITS proposal and the FCC decision to
deploy unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII)
devices in the band could render 175 MHz of spectrum in the 5.8 GHz
range significantly less useful to hams.

3M, a DSRC proponent, argued that hams could be displaced from the
band because they already have plenty of spectrum between 50 MHz and
50 GHz and make only light use of 5.9 GHz.  3M suggested a powerful
amateur station could ''swamp out'' DSRC services.

The FCC said interference problems that might crop up could be
resolved by changing the frequency of the amateur operation, by
power reduction, or by using directional antennas.

Possible ITS applications include what's known as automated roadside
safety inspection.  This would permit transmission of vehicle safety
and other data between roadside inspection stations and commercial
trucks moving at highway speeds, the FCC said.  Another potential
application, incident management operations, would use roadway
sensors and DSRC-equipped vehicles to more quickly detect traffic
congestion and dispatch any emergency personnel or take other
action.  Other emerging DSRC applications include traffic control
and en-route driver information systems.

ITS DSRC transmissions would be ''narrowly focused and rapidly
dissipating signals,'' according to ITS America.  The FCC proposes a
maximum of 30 W EIRP for DSRC systems.

Comments on ET Docket 98-95 are due 75 days after publication in the
Federal Register.  The complete NPRM is available on the FCC Web
site at


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