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ARRL Board Pledges to Oppose French Proposal for 144 -146 MHz:

from The ARRL Letter on August 15, 2019
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ARRL Board Pledges to Oppose French Proposal for 144 -146 MHz:

At its July meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors resolved that "at the appropriate time" ARRL will oppose a proposal by France to include 144 - 146 MHz among spectrum to study for non-safety Aeronautical Mobile Service applications with an eye toward sharing the spectrum with the Amateur Services. The action came as the Board met July 19 - 20 in Windsor, Connecticut for its second meeting of 2019.

The Board pointed out that 144 - 146 MHz is a primary global Amateur Radio allocation and the band enjoys widespread use for emergency communication. It also noted the investment by radio amateurs of money and effort to build repeaters, beacons, space infrastructure, and propagation research systems that have global reach. The AMSAT and ARISS communities would be severely affected, the Board observed.

ARRL International Affairs Vice President Jay Bellows, K0QB, advised that if it is added as an agenda item for study for WRC 2023, the Board should consider action.

Digital Communication Issues

The Board instructed Washington Counsel David Siddall, K3ZJ, to take appropriate steps to obtain FCC approval for several changes to the Part 97 Amateur Radio Service rules. The requested changes stemmed from discussions regarding the interference potential of automatically controlled digital stations (ACDS); the prohibition of Amateur Radio message traffic that's encoded to obscure its meaning, and false assertions that ARRL -- despite its record of steadfast opposition -- supports or encourages encrypted transmissions. The Board directed that the FCC be asked to make rule changes that would:

- Remove the current 300 baud rate limitation, subject to the conditions requested by ARRL.

- Authorize all automatically controlled digital (data) stations (ACDS) below 30 MHz, regardless of occupied bandwidth, to operate only within the ACDS bands designated in 97.221(b) of the Amateur Service rules.

- Require all digital mode stations operating with a bandwidth greater than 500 Hz to operate within the ACDS bands, whether or not these stations are automatically controlled.

- Limit the maximum bandwidth of digital mode signals below 29 MHz to 2.8 kHz.

- Reiterate to the FCC that ARRL's position is unchanged from that expressed in ARRL's 2013 comments on a Petition for Rulemaking (RM-11699) filed by Don Rolph, AB1PH. Those comments specifically addressed encryption of messages and made clear that such messages generally are prohibited in amateur communications by 97.113 of the FCC rules and by Article 25, 2 of the International Radio Regulations and should remain prohibited.

The Board also wants to request that the FCC remind radio amateurs "by whatever appropriate means available" of the current prohibition in 97.113(a)(4) and Article 25, 2 of the International Radio Regulations against transmitting "messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning."

ARRL-initiated mediation efforts for rival parties to reach consensus on all or some of the issues they raised in the so-called "Symbol Rate" proceeding ended a few days prior to the July Board meeting with useful discussion but no agreement among those parties on recommendations to the FCC.

Other Actions

The Board tasked its Administration and Finance (A&F) Committee to assess the feasibility of a Research Working Group (RWG) and, if warranted, to establish one. The group would help the Board and ARRL management to better gauge trends, collect more accurate membership information, and more closely track the progress of programs.

The Board directed that the rules for all ARRL contests be revised to require that each claimed contact include contemporaneous direct initiation by the operator on both sides of the contact. Contact initiation may be local or remote. The Board extended the same requirement to the DXCC program.

The Board voted to add a QRP Single Operator subcategory for the ARRL RTTY Roundup.

The Board acted to rescind its public censure of ARRL Southwestern Division Director Richard Norton, N6AA. The censure action, taken at a special Board meeting in November 2017, was based on Norton's alleged violation of the ARRL Policy on Board Governance and Conduct of Members of the Board of Directors and Vice Directors, adopted in January of that year and itself since rescinded.

Minutes of the July ARRL Board of Directors meeting are available on the ARRL website. Read more


The ARRL Letter

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