FCC Invites Comments on ARRL Petition to Allocate New 5 MHz Band
Posted date: February 16, 2017
The FCC has invited comments on the ARRL’s January 12 Petition for Rule Making
to allocate a new, contiguous secondary band at 5 MHz to the Amateur Service.
The League also asked the Commission to keep four of the current five 60-meter
channels — one would be within the new band — as well as the 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 FCC has
designated the League’s Petition as RM-11785 and put it on public notice.
Comments are due Monday, March 20. ARRL plans to file comments in support of
The proposed ARRL 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. The
FCC has not yet acted to implement other portions of the WRC-15 Final Acts.
“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 its petition.
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.
The League said in its petition that while the Amateur Radio community is
grateful to the FCC and NTIA for providing 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. 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
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.” ARRL said the FCC should permit
a power level of 100 W PEP ERP, assuming use of a 0 dBd gain antenna, in the
contiguous 60-meter band. “To impose the power limit adopted at WRC-15 for the
contiguous band would render the band unsuitable for emergency and public
service communications,” the League said.
The ITU Radio Regulations permit assignments at variance with the International
Table of Allocations, provided a non-interference condition is attached.
We're going to go ahead and call off tonights meeting. I am concerned
about downed trees, mudslides and general safety issues. We don't want
anyone to go out and not be able to get home safely if this rain continues.
Please let others know if you think they might not receive this email.
Thanks, 73, stay safe and dry and we'll see you next month!!
Brian - K6BPM
To All Hands:
Forward from Lou Dartanner, N6ZKJ, ARES SEC.
Attached are the slides from this morning's webinar. These will also
posted on our webpage. Thanks to all who joined and please call or email
us if you have any questions.
/Meteorologist in Charge/
/National Weather Service
Los Angeles/Oxnard, CA/
Should the anticipated heavy weather system present a state of readiness
or response by ARES the K6TZ and W6YJO repeater operations will be
governed by direction from ARES in response to directives from the SBC OES.
Thanks for your cooperation.
ARRL Southwestern Division e-Communicator
Amateurs in California and in several Arizona communities are facing
recently enacted or impending bans on handheld electronic devices while
driving. Here’s what we currently know about these laws.
In California, Assembly Bill 1785 took effect on January 1 of this
year. Now included in Section 23123.5 of the Vehicle Code, this law
provides that “a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding
and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless
communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic
wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured
to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in
that manner while driving . . . For the purposes of this section,
“electronic wireless communications device” includes, but is not
limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized
mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile
data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device.”
Whether intentionally or unintentionally vague, interpretations of this
language have ranged from applying to all mobile communications (a
traffic court commissioner speaking to a radio club) to excluding
mobile radios (a CHP spokesperson in Orange County). One of our ARRL
Volunteer Counsel attorneys spoke with a staff member of the Assembly
Transportation Committee, which introduced the bill. The staffer told
him that the law was intended to apply to smartphones and similar
broadband devices, not to Amateur Radio or other radio communication
services. Another Volunteer Counsel attorney is attempting to get a
clarifying statement to that effect entered into the official record.
Meanwhile, CHP in Sacramento has provided guidance to the Los Angeles
County Sheriff’s office that wired microphones permissible but
handheld radios are not. Until the law is amended or clarified, it
might be prudent for California Hams to avoid wielding a handheld while
In December, the Town of Oro Valley (in Pima County), Arizona adopted a
“hands-free” ordinance that states, "No person shall, except as
otherwise provided in this ordinance, use a mobile telephone or
portable electronic device while operating a motor vehicle upon a
street or highway, unless that device is specifically designed or
configured to allow hands-free listening and talking and used in that
manner while operating a motor vehicle." The ordinance defines "hands
free" as the "use of a mobile telephone or portable electronic device
without the use of either hand by employing an internal feature of, or
an attachment to, the device." Like the new California law, this one
was ostensibly targeting smartphones and the like, but its lack of
clear definitions or specific exclusions has Amateurs concerned. The
town has provided for a warning-only period of a few months during
which mobile radio operators can make their case if stopped. (Source:
Oro Valley Web site)
A similar bill was passed earlier in 2016 in the City of San Luis (in
Yuma County) but has not led to any enforcement cases to date.
On January 10, the Tucson City Council approved in concept a law
similar to Oro Valley’s, and the final language is expected any time
now. The stated purpose was to enable better enforcement of the
city’s four-year- old ban on texting while driving, and it appears
that the implementation will be as a secondary offense, one for which
you can be cited only of you are already being stopped for another
offense such as speeding. (Source: Tucson News Now.)
Tucson Amateurs are contacting their council members to request
inclusion of appropriate exemption or exclusion language.
It is worth noting that an overly broad mobile-communications ordinance
enacted in Coconino County, Arizona in 2014 was amended after pressure
from both Amateurs and commercial trucking interests, according to
Section Manager Robert Spencer KE8DM.
In Dave Sumner’s editorial devoted to this subject in February 2012
QST, he noted that “Safety must be our number one concern. Guiding a
motor vehicle is an awesome responsibility. Radio amateurs have been
operating mobile for decades without being perceived as a threat to
public safety, but if there is ever any doubt in your mind about your
ability to discharge that responsibility you should either pull off the
road (if it is safe to do so) or turn off the radio.” I encourage you
to read the full editorial.
ARRL Southwestern Division
Director: Richard J Norton, N6AA
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