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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur Radio Frequencies:

from The ARRL Letter, Vol 27, No 17 on May 2, 2008
Website: http://www.arrl.org/
View comments about this article!

FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur Radio Frequencies:

On Thursday, April 24, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, filed an Informal Objection with the FCC regarding a pending application for a Special Temporary Authority (STA) filed by Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. One day after filing the Objection, the FCC agreed with the ARRL, saying, "Due to the possibility of interference to Amateur operators and also the race teams utilizing the proposed frequencies, we feel that it is not in the public interest to grant [Miller Motorsports Park's] request."

The FCC also advised Miller Motorsports that if they "wish[ed] to pursue other frequencies, [they] should coordinate with the ARRL and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)."

Miller Motorsports requested the use of frequencies 448.525, 448.650, 448.060, 448.290 and 448.610 MHz at 4 W ERP. They proposed to use 100 mobile units on each of these and other channels at or above 450 MHz for a race event scheduled May 26-June 1, 2008. The application filed by Miller Motorsports stated that the radios would be used for "security, medical and maintenance for the entire event" and that communications service is "vital to the life and safety of the spectators and drivers of this race event." Miller Motorsports also implied that the NTIA had approved the use of the 448 MHz channels.

The League's Informal Objection pointed out that "Amateur Radio Service licensees make extremely heavy use of the band 420-450 MHz, and especially the segment 440-450 MHz for FM voice repeaters. There are repeater stations in Salt Lake City, of which Tooele is a close-in suburb, using frequencies throughout the 448 MHz range for outputs, including 448.525, 448.625, 448.050 and 448.075 MHz. In addition, there are repeater outputs in other areas of the greater Salt Lake City area which are in regular operation at all times of the day or night, and radio amateurs using mobile stations would be predictably interfered with by operation as proposed in the STA."

The Objection also stated that there was the possibility that some of the spectators at Miller Motorsports Park, or otherwise in the area, might be Amateur Radio operators who might be operating using their portable transceivers "on the precise channels sought by the STA."

The ARRL called the Miller Motorsports Park choice of channels "completely inappropriate. The radio amateurs who are licensed to use these frequencies are under no obligation to either tolerate interference or to cease their own operation, regardless of the interference that might be suffered at any time" by Miller Motorsports.

While the FCC has issued STAs on the amateur allocations from time to time, the ARRL wrote, "many, perhaps a majority, are of no concern to the ARRL due to the choice of frequency band, duty cycle or power level proposed," what Miller Motorsports is requesting is "a completely incompatible and inappropriate use of Amateur Radio allocations." Citing "harmful interference to and from the Amateur Radio Service on channels in the 448 MHz band," the ARRL requested that the FCC deny Miller Motorsports' STA application.

Source:

The ARRL Letter Vol. 27, No. 17 May 2, 2008

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur Rad  
by W6EZ on May 3, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Well, racers using ham radio freqs is NOT a new thing.

Here is just an example.

http://www.race-dezert.com/forum/showthread.php?t=41636
 
FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur Rad  
by N4QA on May 3, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
"The FCC also advised Miller Motorsports that if they "wish[ed] to pursue other frequencies, [they] should coordinate with the ARRL and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)."

huh?

WHAT?!

FCC now puts ARRL in 'league' with NTIA?

innnnncredible...

72,
Bill, N4QA

 
An opportunity lost........  
by WA4D on May 3, 2008 Mail this to a friend!

Response
WA4D.NET

An opportunity lost due to.......

A routine request by a sporting company for a five day use of a few UHF frequencies drew my attention. The spectrum is to be used during an auto race in Utah.

Miller Motor sports stated that the radios would be used for "security, medical and maintenance for the entire event" and that communications service is "vital to the life and safety of the spectators and drivers of this race event." Transmitter to be used would have a rated output of 4 watts ERP

The league challenged this request and the FCC responded.

"The radio amateurs who are licensed to use these frequencies are under no obligation to either tolerate interference or to cease their own operation, regardless of the interference that might be suffered at any time" by Miller Motorsports."

Hams cannot cooperate with this legitimate organization requesting a temporary use of the spectrum?

The league complained that this request is/was "" completely incompatible and inappropriate use of Amateur Radio allocations." The ARRL also notes that there are repeaters on or near these frequencies that would be impacted.

I'd like to do a band loading study the 440 spectrum in the Salt Lake area and see how much time these systems are in use. Say a random week in the month preceding the event, the week of the event and a random week in the future. I'm betting that these repeaters sit dark the vast majority of the time and what traffic that does pass is the meaningless drivel that is commonplace on UHF.

The league's objections (and the FCC's agreement) are ridiculous and indicative of the siege mentality that the aging white men in Newington feel. To cooperate with this venue would be magnanimous and beneficial. (Who knows the Miller people might give the local Ham group access to facilities or infrastructure that coulb prove beneficial. At the very least they'd have been good neighbors)
 
FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur Rad  
by K1XT on May 3, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Someone sitting by their beloved but never used repeater must have objected. Here in St. Louis 70cm is all but dead. I see no problem with sharing space for five short days with a group of people who bring in loads of money to a community. Indianapolis has been doing it for years on 2 meters and 440.
 
FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur Rad  
by AB9RF on May 4, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I don't think the issue here is so much protecting the ham community in SLC as it is dealing with the widespread unauthorized use of 2m/70cm by racers. The reason they want an STA on 2m/70cm is that the racers and their teams already have 2m/70cm ham gear, which they are already using without bothering with the appropriate licensing. The STA just lets them continue using it.

These people should be using GMRS radios and licenses; they just won't because they don't want to pay the $80 per five years licensing fee.

I can't say that the FCC's decision here is specifically intended to push racers into GMRS, where it can collect fees, but that's certainly what they should be doing.
 
RE: FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur  
by W6WBJ on May 4, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Would anyone have a link to the actual FCC decision in the case? I really don't trust the ARRL to summarize it correctly.

I heard that the Commission made a bunch of statements in the decision which are totally inconsistent with its position in various amateur enforcement cases.
 
RE: FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur  
by KD6NEM on May 5, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
This is the tip of the iceberg with the racing community trying to inappropriately use frequency allocations which they are not entitled to. There are "volunteer" organizations at many other tracks who use amateur bands without appropriate licensing, and possibly to some degree for commercial use. Why should they be exempt from the same laws we and every other citizen has to follow? There are ways to go about this legally and legitimately. We did, so can they. I don't care if they did already spend a load of money on HT's which they cannot legally use. Do it right, or don't do it at all! And by the way, those who asked an online group I'm involved with about assistance with their radios were invited to become hams. Had they at least showed real interest I might have even helped them- but I will not condone bootleg operations- which is exactly whet they continue to routinely do with or without the FCC's approval. Maybe not in SLC, but I bet that won't stop them even there.

AF6IT (Former KD6NEM)
 
FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur Rad  
by AB9RF on May 5, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
The totality of the FCC's comments on the issue are: "Due to the possibility of interference to Amateur operators and also the race teams utilizing the proposed frequencies, we feel that it is not in the public interest to grant your request. If you wish to pursue other frequencies you should coordinate with the ARRL and NTIA." You can get the letter the FCC sent Miller Motorsports at the bottom of the ULS filing for their application (link below). Doesn't say a whole lot.

Miller already has two commercial licenses covering 7 base stations and 170 mobile units for this facility; for more analysis, see my blog (link in profile).

http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/ApplicationSearch/applAdmin.jsp?applID=4424333
 
RE: FCC Denies Utah Motorsport, NTIA Approves?  
by K4RAF on May 6, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Ironically, if I read this correct, the NTIA had no problem with the use, nor do I... Use it or lose it, not a threat during 1 race for God's sake... This actually has to do with foreign participants' frequencies, during the race:

For all the data on application (what little makes sense on FCC site) can be found at; http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/ApplicationSearch/applAdmin.jsp;JSESSIONID_APPSEARCH=TGH4LgLH7q3pKvcb8wZJCvwnp1tPh68m1WrYVKLQRkYGSJcGQCyN!1292559694!1123255325?applID=4424333#


Want to keep chasing bear hunters, race teams, etc...?

This is proof that it is easier to beg for forgiveness, than ask for permission... denial based on the absurd!
 
RE: FCC Denies Utah Motorsport, NTIA Approves?  
by AF6IT on May 6, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
So do I understand correctly that some among us see no problem with anyone anytime deciding on the spot that they are free to use any frequency they choose just because? Hey, we could ALL become radio pirates! "Who cares about the rules, make our own as we go!" Anarchy is fun until someone steps on OUR toes then suddenly it ceases to be either fun or fair. When we legally sanction anarchy (remember 11 meters?) we no longer have the ability to go home & cry to mama FCC when someone takes over our sandbox. And anyone saying "pretty please let me break the rules" before they do so helps HOW??? Please do not allow personal mistrust for the ARRL or the FCC cloud your judgment- see this for what it is: encroachment on our bands is encroachment on our bands. And "for only one race"? GET REAL! This happens all across the country as often as weekly, and has for several years! Once the camel's nose is under the tent's wall...

I don't care if it be hot-air balloon crews, bear hunters, race tracks, local crank radio pirates, chicken banders, or whatever- if they want to join us in the use of our bands then they just need to go through proper channels to earn their license just as we did! If they don't like the requirements then there are several other bands they can legally use which they should find more suitable. When I offered assistance to some in getting licensed there was little interest. Choosing to overlook this issue is to contribute to making the problem worse. Don't we already have enough disorder in the world- and chaos over the airwaves? Will it still be OK when these clowns decide to take their HT's with them to Disneyland, a ball game, or the mall? After all, they paid good money for them, why should they be denied use of your repeater just because they lack a license? (sarcasm, by the way)

Any repeater owner/trustee who allows this is as guilty as the bandits are. Either it stops here or we give it all away, end of story!

Stu AF6IT
 
RE: FCC Denies Utah Motorsport, NTIA Approves?  
by K4RAF on May 6, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Blah, blah, blah...

Fact remains, they requested an official for an OFFICIAL STA for a few days... To actually do the very same thing that "When ALL Else Fails" touts as the montra for our existence as a "Service"... Is that the problem? NO...

The arguments AGAINST everything as any official sharing arrangement will eventually force the FCC's hand into doing an actual band-loading assessment & when that ARRL stuff-the-ballot-box "loading" is found to be a loading of PURE 100% BS (i.e. EMPTY), they'll yank our allocation totally out from under us... justifiably so...

I just have to wonder how much actual interference a narrowband 4 watt ERP simplex signal would have wreaked to shut down amateur "operations"?

NONE... Absolutely NONE...

What a bunch of !#$%$#!
 
FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur Rad  
by N0MKC on May 7, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Looking over the ULS filing that Miller Motorsports made, I noticed this in the STA statement attached to the application:

"Miller has been request by the World organizing body FGSPORT of Rome, Italy to use these channels in their radios. They use these channels all at their world races, and they have them in their radios. We this approval so the organizers can ship radios." (syntax in the original)

Since the frequencies in question are not worldwide ham allocations (being equivlaent to GMRS usage in some other countries), it is quite probable that the Italian-based organizers are able to use those frequencies legally in many (perhaps most) of the countries their races are held in - thus, the request to use those frequencies being submitted by Miller Motorsports.

The latest amendment Miller has filed is now asking for frequencies between 450 and 469 MHz; I'd expect them to be well within the range of the radios to be used.

Applying Occam's Razor to the facts at hand, I'm inclined to think that this isn't part of any great conspiracy to take over the 70cm band; more likely, Miller's stated explanation is the correct one. The whole affair looks like a tempest in a teapot - it's possible that no one at Miller was aware of the US ham frequency allocation schema, and submitted the application in good faith.
 
RE: FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur  
by K4RAF on May 7, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
For the knuckleheads who can't consult an ITU band chart, 446MHz is the FRS band outside the US... Ours is at 462 & 467MHz

Everyone forgets that there was a request years ago to allow travelers to US to use their legal HTs, on those freqs, when visiting the US... While I can understand the open ended nature of that request, this one seems so insignificant, I can not believe the FCC accepted the ARRL tripe of interference from 4W ERP MAX radios on motorcycles...

They (Miller) try to do it right (an STA for just 5 days?) & the self-proclaimed amateur radio vanguard shoves it back in their faces... What fosters of international good will. Is it any wonder some DX stations refuse to answer stateside ops?

Not to this writer... Enjoy your silent repeaters Utah!!!
 
RE: FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur  
by AF6IT on May 7, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
CJ, I concede these particular folks are at least asking. But the trend is in many more areas there are groups not asking- they have just gone pirate. Doesn't that concern you at all? The folks I've had contact with were not from EU at all, they are essentially local "freebanding" pirates who mostly know they are illegal. Would you defend them as well? Who will ensure they don't try to monopolize local repeaters? This has gone way past the hypothetical in some areas, by the way.

I still say there are much better options. I cannot understand why you defend them so much unless perhaps it is really more a shot against the ARRL & FCC who you might for some reason resent. Am I right? I cannot categorically defend either of these organizations across the board; neither has a perfect track record, although I submit neither is entirely as evil as their chronic bashers make them out to be. The reality remains this is a much larger issue than just one race track in Utah, like it or not. And there ARE more appropriate frequency allocations available! There is simply no justification at all for this. Race teams are multi-million dollar businesses. If they cannot afford a few hundred dollars to get on a legal band then they can just go without!

Stu AF6IT
 
RE: FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur  
by AB9RF on May 7, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I don't think Miller is the "bad boy" here; I am convinced that they're just the unfortunate victim in a wider battle against widespread freebanding by bikers. Miller may not even be aware of this (although I rather doubt it).

If freebanding is without consequence, then freebanders will have no reason to stop freebanding.
 
RE: FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur  
by K4RAF on May 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!

Stu,

What do I see as the result of this irrational decision? Freebandering continues, as it does every day on every other band & there is no example to lead them the right way. This COULD HAVE been an example.

I am located 150 West of the nearest saltwater, yet I have local deer hunters using marine radios during hunting season. Am I only supposed to be "concerned" if they are using amateur radio? NO! Having tracked down many freebanders myself, gathered the evidence needed & provided it to the right "authorities, guess what? Nothing was done by anyone. I had an Extra "class" freebander that I tried to get Hollingsworth to find. I gave him everything he needed. Nothing. It took a crippled ham to find the offending 40M operator & got his callsign. We then embarrassed the daylights out of him. Nothing is done to freebanders, not in the last 15 years. Freebanders know this when they are on 27.555 daily from their homes & every other operator knows it too. You are kiding yourselves into thinking this will even phase those freebanders, like it or not.

Miller used the system as it was designed (or so it ws intended), to ask for legal authorization to use a few preset frequencies, for 5 days. This involves international teams with preinstalled equipment & use these frequencies in 90% of other countries they race in. Again, I restate, AT 4 WATTS ERP (or less). SO instead of granting them a bit of micro slack, you want to use them as the only example you can grab on to? That is just plain absurd, ignorant of fact & makes US amateurs look like spoiled children in a sandbox they are not even sitting in! That is akin to a group of kids throwing stones at windows. When you chase the crowd to catch them, all escape so you only grab the fat one who can't run fast like the others & puts his hands up rather than resist arrest!

This whole ARRL "potential interference" game is getting really old & in this case, has done much more damage than good IMHO. This proves to the world that the old adage "it is far easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission" is indeed timeless in the US.

Instead of whining about freebanders, the Newington vanguard & its' minions need to try actually catching some. I have always said there needs to be "radio bounty hunters" who would get rewarded for actually doing the footwork involved in determining intel on freeband users. Afterall, the FCC is now all about contract work anyway. Why not create an active pool of hunters who get say $100 per location/name/frequency type info? This Miller STA rejection is clearly "Symbolism over Substance"...

Respectfully,

Chris K4RAF
 
FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur Rad  
by G6NJR on May 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
So what is stopping you over there doing as we have here in the UK , We have a dedicated radio system for Motor Sport used by no one else .

You cannot turn around and say there is no spectrum available because i would call you liars to the highest degree .

A nice Low Band VHF as we have works quite nicely thank you even in the depths of mountainous Wales bieng an operator of one of the said radios and the license holder for the local Motor Club "www.qmc.org.uk" it is a system that works then there would be no need for use of Ham frequencies by anyone other than Hams as for Race teams using Ham Bands i am sorry but they need the radios confiscating and a severe fine there are commercial radios for that sort of thing a lot more private than a HAM set .

Pete
 
RE: FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Part Use of Amateur  
by AF6IT on May 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Chris,

I appreciate your thoughtful response. We actually agree much more than we disagree. The lack of enforcement is a significant problem across the board. When the FCC turns to look the other way when bubblepack GMRS radios are sold by the boatload with full knowledge that they'll never be licensed, it shows that the FCC is not serious about enforcement. Having laws then not enforcing them makes a mockery of all laws in a way. If the law doesn't make sense then don't enact it. (WAY too many are enacted, IMO- both in the realm of administrative law as well as enacted by Congress) If it shouldn't have been enacted then repeal it. But NEVER NEVER make it policy (official or not) to ignore whole categories of violations. That just cheapens all the laws we have and callouses the people against the system which is SUPPOSED to exist as a framework for protecting our rights and freedoms. When we arrive at the place it is OK to be selective in which laws we want to follow (or enforce) we ultimately disrespect ourselves and our neighbors in addition to the institution of Government. When Government chooses to not uphold the laws it is failing to do its job and likewise disrespects its citizens. They must be made to account for this. Unfortunately Mr. Cross has ignored my requests for comment on this very issue a few times now. Why could he not at least look at my comment? I suppose asking my Congressman to look into it will be the next logical step. Have you tried that yet? If enough of us do we may actually be able to salvage this mess. I say lets hold their feet to the fire- sometimes gov't needs to be reminded that they work for "We, the people"! And if the problem really is merely lack of resources than this should help address the need. Allowing any of the bands to degenerate into chaos serves no one well.

We will have to agree to disagree that this particular decision was irrational simply because there remains other allocations available which are better suited. Asking a multi-million dollar team to swap out one HT for another is no real hardship. I still see no compelling reason to grant an exemption. I would not expect or demand and exemption if I were to travel abroad and my ham gear was out of compliance with the allocation at my destination. How is this racetrack thing really any different? If this sort of thing would be allowed to become common who would coordinate the frequencies? Like it or not it does set a precedent. The VHF & UHF repeater coordinators are having enough problems as it is already- and many repeaters are not even listed. It becomes a hassle if not a nightmare. Can you truly guarantee that this wouldn't become common? I believe I am sufficiently informed about this matter. I understand your frustration but believe it slightly misplaced given your characterization of my view. No one has the right to expect authorization for use of a frequency outside its intended purpose anywhere in the world. If I don't like the law someplace I can simply avoid going there. I have zero right to demand my way when I am a guest.

Please understand that my personal axe to grind is not the Miller group or their approach. It is the unlawful or inappropriate encroachment upon ANY service including ours. Miller Team's use would be merely inappropriate, though it is the illegal which really bothers me. It sounds like we fully agree upon the FCC's failure to take responsibility on this. They may well be limited in resources because of budget cuts, but I cannot accept that as an excuse for a policy of looking away when a pattern of abuse is demonstrated by freebanders any more than I can accept their failure to regulate the widespread sale of radios they fully know will never be used legally. There is some superficial enforcement still, but it is hard to avoid concluding that there is insufficient interest in doing enough. THIS is what we really need to fix. Just because one insufficiency exists it cannot justify the creation of a new one.

73 de AF6IT
 
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