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FCC Dismisses Three Petitions for Rule Making Filed By Radio Amateurs:

from The ARRL Letter on October 10, 2019
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FCC Dismisses Three Petitions for Rule Making Filed By Radio Amateurs:

The FCC has dismissed petitions for rule making filed in 2018 by three radio amateurs. All of the petitions were put on public notice earlier this year and comments invited.

Edward C. Borghi, KB2E, of Farmington, New York, and Jeffrey Bail, NT1K, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, submitted very similar petitions seeking changes in how the FCC grants Amateur Radio vanity call sign applications. Borghi's Petition (RM-11834, would have prohibited vanity applicants from requesting call signs not designated for the applicant's geographical region, with some exceptions. He complained that applicants had to compete with "out-of-area people for the few 1 2 or 2 1 or catchy 2 3 call signs available in their area of residence."

Bail's Petition (RM-11835 asked the FCC to give residential preference in competing applications to applicants whose listed FCC address is within the same district/region as the applied call sign. He cited limited availability and increased demand for 1 2 and 2 1 call signs. The FCC dismissed both petitions in a single letter

"When the Commission established the vanity call sign system in 1995, it rejected a proposal to restrict vanity call sign applicants to call signs designated for the region in which the applicant resides," the FCC wrote, because it would restrict a given applicant's choice of vanity call signs to 10% or less of those otherwise assignable.

The FCC concluded that no need exists to require vanity call signs to correspond to a licensee's mailing address, "given that call signs do not automatically change when a licensee moves, and a licensee's mailing address is not necessarily the location from which he or she is transmitting." The FCC said it rejected similar proposals in the past for the same reasons.

The FCC also turned away a Petition (RM-11833 from Jerry Oxendine, K4KWH, of Gastonia, North Carolina, who asked the FCC to clarify that states and localities should have no authority to regulate Amateur Radio with respect to enacting "distracted driving" statutes. Oxendine argued that such statutes violate FCC rules on scope and operation of equipment by licensees; violate the intent of the FCC and Congress with respect to Amateur Radio's role in disasters, and hinder emergency operations using mobile equipment.

In denying the request, the FCC took issue with Oxendine's assertion that the strong federal interest in promoting Amateur Radio communication should preempt distracted driving laws.

"Laws that prohibit talking on handheld communications devices while driving do not preclude or unreasonably obstruct mobile use of handheld two-way radios," the FCC said in denying Oxendine's petition. "These laws apply to the use of handheld devices while driving. A driver can comply with these laws by using a hands-free attachment or by parking the vehicle prior to using a handheld device, both of which are contemplated by our rules regarding two-way radios."

The FCC said, "The record before us does not demonstrate that state and local laws that prohibit talking on handheld devices while driving stand as an obstacle to amateur communications or actually conflict with federal law in any way." Read more


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