While I agree with your assessment of who should give, most of what I hear below 7100 on SSB are our neighbors to the north and south of us.
That's to be expected, given how close they are.
The question is: Why don't they move above 7125 to operate 'phone? The SWBC QRM is gone. They have the whole band just the way we do, why not use it?
The only explanation I can think of is that they're trying to avoid USA stations. So as the US 'phone subbands are widened, they will keep moving downwards. Which is not a good thing.
alot of what I hear in the Extra only CW portions is about what I hear in the 3600 to 3700 KHz. SSB portion of 80 meters. That is, just a few stations (be they CW or SSB) with lots of empty space comparied to what I hear in the non Extra only CW/digital sections of the band. The old "Use it or loose it." should apply.
One of the main reasons to upgrade is to get more spectrum -and away from QRM! Why upgrade if the Extra subbands are as crowded as the rest?
The number of Extras has grown considerably in the past 10 years, from about 75,000 then to over 122,000 now. And the growth just keeps on.
I never understood why the FCC gave so much of 80 meters to SSB. Just doesn't make sense.
I agree - but they did, whether it made sense or not.
Consider this: The added HF 'phone bandspace given by a General-to-Extra upgrade amounts to 400 kHz. 200 of those 400 kHz are on 75 meters.
By comparison, the added HF CW/digital bandspace given by a General-to-Extra upgrade amounts to 100 kHz. 25 kHz on each of 4 bands.
btw, in Part 97, FCC refers to 80 and 75 meters as if they are completely separate bands.
I know I will probably stir up a honets nest when I say this but if any mode should go away it probably should be RTTY. There are new digital modes now available that do more with less and less error prone. To me, RTTY is the digital equivalent of AM in the phone portions of the bands. :-)
In the history of US amateur radio, the only mode that has ever been completely banned is spark. And by the time it was banned (1927 IIRC) only a handful of hams were still using it.
I don't think banning RTTY would be a good idea; it would set a very bad precedent.
I don't think there are very many hams still using electromechanical teleprinters for RTTY. By comparison, a lot of the hams on AM are using restored old rigs, or homebrewed rigs with older technologies.
So why is RTTY still so popular, if newer digital modes are supposedly so much better?
73 de Jim, N2EY