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Author Topic: H. R. 607 - A bill to Enhance Public Safety by taking away 420–470 megahertz  (Read 4974 times)
KE6TDP
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« on: March 06, 2011, 08:37:48 PM »

I recently received an email from the ARRL informing me of H. R. 607 - A bill to Enhance Public Safety.  The ARRL email was a bit vague on why we, as amateurs, should object. Basically, we will loose access to 420-470 megahertz band. Not mentioned by the ARRL email is the issue of privatization of the spectrum.  What this will mean for many public agencies is that they will have to pay private corporations to use the frequency band.  So how will they pay, by raising taxes of course. Moreover, though the purpose of the proposed legislation is to promote interoperability, private corporations tend to promote proprietary technologies that are NOT interoperable. Basically, it seems that HR607 will become another case of corporate welfare.

I see that there was a prior thread here:  http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,72481.msg486676.html#msg486676

A copy of the bill is located here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr607ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr607ih.pdf

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First, how are you making more spectrum available for public safety by removing the 420–470 megahertz band which is already in use by amateur radio. As such it is is already available for public safety, should amateur help be required.

Particularly disingenuous is the use of the word "recovered" in one of the titles "RECOVERED PUBLIC SAFETY SPECTRUM". Exactly how do you recover something that was never lost. The intent, I assume, is make the band appear vacant for publicity purposes so that it can be claimed to be an expansion of the frequencies dedicated to public use.

The real intent if this proposed legislation appears on page 25 of the proposed bill, the spectrum is to be auctioned off.

Quote
"(1) AUCTION.—Not later than 10 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the paired electromagnetic spectrum bands of 420–440 megahertz and 450–470 megahertz recovered as a result of the report and order required under subsection (c) shall be auctioned off by the Federal Communications Commission through a system of competitive bidding meeting the requirements of section 309 of the Communications Act of 1934."

Follow me through here. The spectrum will be auctioned off, I would assume, to private corporations for the purpose of public safety. The public safety agencies (that will actually use the frequencies) will then be forced to lease (spend money) to utilize the formerly free public frequencies. To obtain the money required to use these "public safety" frequencies the public agencies will have to raise taxes. (The use of tax dollars is hidden by the word "grant".  Ultimately grants are supported by tax dollars.) Sounds like a sweet deal for the telcos!

If Congress really wishes to increase the frequencies devoted to public safety, they do not have to auction it off. The public agencies should be able to obtain "free" licenses for public service applications. This will keep costs down and meet the true intent of public safety.

In conclusion, establishing public safety frequencies, if free, will still substantially benefit private industry. Private industry will benefit through the sale of equipment and consulting services. That would be the correct way to "help" private industry. Privatizing the spectrum is an abomination.

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In the interest of balance, below is a link to the Public Safety Alliance videos. This group is in support of HR607. I just watched the first video, I think it is "junk", but at least you can see what those in support of HR607 have to say.

Public Safety Alliance website: http://www.psafirst.org/videos

To me the basic fallacy of the video supporting HR607 is that without this bill, you cannot have interoperability. Bunch of garbage. Interoperability is a MANAGEMENT problem. You do not need commercial "interests" or the sale of public spectrum to solve this problem.

Another problem with the first video, there is no mention of those who would loose access to the spectrum. Based on the presentations in the first video it would seem that the spectrum is unoccupied. At a minimum they could acknowledge that other PUBLIC services would be disrupted. The self-serving commentary of the video makes me wonder if they really have the interests of the "first responders" at heart or if these people are simply acting as corporate shills.

If the videos makes sense to you let me know! I hope that I am not going "overboard".

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LA9XSA
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2011, 02:23:02 AM »

The spectrum will be auctioned off, I would assume, to private corporations for the purpose of public safety.
No, that's not the idea. The idea is giving what is now commercial spectrum around 700 MHz to public safety use, and then giving 420-440 MHz, which is currently used by users such as the military and amateurs, and 450-470, which is currently used by public service, GMRS and business radio, to commercial auction to make up for the "loss" of 700 MHz. (In other words, since the bill means they can't auction off the 700 MHz range to commercial interests, they're supposed to acution off much of 70 cm instead.)

The public safety agencies won't have to buy frequencies from commercial owners, but they'll obviously will have to buy equipment.

The bad thing is that the military (PAVE PAWS) and amateurs (who are back-up emergency communicators, and also operate satellites in this band) will have their spectrum taken away without anything in return. The ARRL is asking its members to help defeat that particular point in the bill - the rest of the bill is not a problem.

If any frequency swap is to take place, it should ONLY be those channels in the land mobile service which is already allocated to fire/police which should be swapped with fire/police use in the 700 MHz range. 420-440 should be left alone. GMRS and broadcast uplinks in the 450-470 should probably be left alone as well.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 02:34:00 AM by LA9XSA » Logged
N0SYA
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2011, 08:09:28 AM »

Lol this is brilliant! Watch this thing go down like 220, and here no one even uses the part of 220 that was ripped away.
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If you have a clumsy child, you make them wear a helmet. If you have death prone children, you keep a few clones of them in your lab.
KE6TDP
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2011, 08:09:50 AM »

The spectrum will be auctioned off, I would assume, to private corporations for the purpose of public safety.

No, that's not the idea. The idea is giving what is now commercial spectrum around 700 MHz to public safety use, and then giving 420-440 MHz, which is currently used by users such as the military and amateurs, and 450-470, which is currently used by public service, GMRS and business radio, to commercial auction to make up for the "loss" of 700 MHz. (In other words, since the bill means they can't auction off the 700 MHz range to commercial interests, they're supposed to acution off much of 70 cm instead.)

The public safety agencies won't have to buy frequencies from commercial owners, but they'll obviously will have to buy equipment.

The bad thing is that the military (PAVE PAWS) and amateurs (who are back-up emergency communicators, and also operate satellites in this band) will have their spectrum taken away without anything in return. The ARRL is asking its members to help defeat that particular point in the bill - the rest of the bill is not a problem.

If any frequency swap is to take place, it should ONLY be those channels in the land mobile service which is already allocated to fire/police which should be swapped with fire/police use in the 700 MHz range. 420-440 should be left alone. GMRS and broadcast uplinks in the 450-470 should probably be left alone as well.

Thanks very much for the clarification.  AllenP has also provided a comment very similar to yours.
Quote
As written, instead of selling them off as was initially planned,HR-607 gives the D Block (old UHF TV frequencies) to emergency organizations. But to compensate for the funds lost in not selling them off, the bill now wants to take 420-440 MHz and sell those frequencies instead.

420 is used by satellites, Pave Paws radar systems, radio beacons, military and Amateur Radio operators. The seizure and sale of 420-440 MHz does not benefit anyone.
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LA9XSA
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2011, 11:16:45 AM »

Quote
The seizure and sale of 420-440 MHz does not benefit anyone.
Well, it might benefit those who would like to launch ICBMs at North America undetected.

Hopefully this is just a blunder that will be written out of the bill, but you US hams need to make sure it happens. Representative King should perhaps be reminded of what amateur radio did to help in the aftermath of 9/11 2001? Maybe suggest rewording that section of the bill to something like

Quote
(d) Recovered Public Safety Spectrum-


(1) AUCTION- Not later than 10 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the paired electromagnetic spectrum bands of 420-440 megahertz and 450-470 megahertz center frequencies recovered from public safety entities as a result of the report and order required under subsection (c) shall be auctioned off by the Federal Communications Commission through a system of competitive bidding meeting the requirements of section 309 of the Communications Act of 1934.
Alternatively, remove subsection (d) of section 207 entirely.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 11:20:39 AM by LA9XSA » Logged
K1CJS
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2011, 04:55:52 AM »

I wouldn't worry too much about the FCC auctioning off those bands--the military put up an awful lot of money to retool their Pave Paws system, and would have to put up even more to convert it to another frequency range.  After the stink they raised in the Northern California area (less so in New England, but there too) about ham intrusion and interference on the 70 cm band, I don't think they'll be silent about this--and they WILL get what they want.
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KD8HMB
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2011, 04:27:13 PM »

 I came across this link from another article about this issue - http://www.kd4pyr.net/HamLetter.htm     You input your call sign and the site will print a form letter for you to sign and forward to your congressman.
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N8FNR
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2011, 02:50:00 PM »

I wonder how they plan to get around the fact that the Air Force PAVE PAWS RADAR system uses 420 - 450 MHz to detect imcoming ICBM's?

http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/track/pavepaws.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAVE_PAWS
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KD4LLA
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2011, 02:43:05 PM »

We, the ham radio operators, are the little fish here.  Congress can do whatever they want, but I doubt they will allocate funds to change frequencies and antennas at those PAVE PAW radar sites.  If I remember it was just a couple of years ago we had to mitigate 440 repeater ops near those in CA and MA.  I don't see a reason to write anyone as the DoD/Air Force isn't going anywhere and we are secondary users at best.

This isn't the first time a congress critter wrote a ill-conceived bill...

Mike
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