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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB053 (2002)

ARLB053 NTIA gives thumbs down to 5 MHz petition

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 53  ARLB053
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  September 10, 2002
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB053 NTIA gives thumbs down to 5 MHz petition

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration--the
NTIA--has recommended that the FCC not grant an ARRL petition for a
domestic-only, secondary Amateur Radio allocation at 5 MHz. The NTIA
regulates radio spectrum allocated to the federal government. The
last-minute recommendation followed hundreds of largely favorable
comments and reply comments from organizations--including the
ARRL--and from individuals.

In an August 21 letter, the NTIA's Fredrick R. Wentland said federal
agencies are making extensive use of HF for emergency services,
including communications support for the Department of Defense, the
Coast Guard and Department of Justice law enforcement activities.
''NTIA believes the Commission's current proposal does not adequately
provide for protection from harmful interference to these critical
government operations primary in the band,'' said Wentland, who is
NTIA's acting associate administrator for spectrum management.

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, and ARRL President Jim
Haynie, W5JBP, plan to meet with representatives of the affected
agencies to address the concerns raised in the NTIA's letter.

In its recent comments, the ARRL called the 5 MHz allocation ''an
urgent priority of the Amateur Service'' and asked that the
proceeding to grant it be expedited. Wentland's letter arrived at
the FCC beyond the cut-off date for reply comments in the
proceeding, ET Docket 02-98.

Wentland said that without a more complete understanding of the
interference potential to federal operations, the NTIA believes the
secondary amateur allocation would be ''premature.'' But he said that
NTIA would work with the federal agencies, the FCC and the amateur
community to determine whether ''some future accommodation'' for
amateurs at 5 MHz would be possible. That could include limitations
on power or emission types, a reduction in the size of the proposed
band, the use of discrete frequencies or geographical restrictions,
he suggested.

Imlay said that while he and the ARRL Board of Directors have been
long aware of the concerns registered by the US Coast Guard and the
US Department of Justice with the NTIA's Interdepartment Radio
Advisory Committee (IRAC), he was surprised by the tone of the NTIA
letter. ''This is a lot worse than we were told to expect,'' he said,
noting that the FCC had cancelled a meeting to discuss issues
expressed by the NTIA several months ago and went forward with its
proposal despite the NTIA's concerns.


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