FCC RELEASES LONG-AWAITED "OMNIBUS" AMATEUR RADIO REPORT AND ORDER
andre.kesteloot at verizon.net
Sat Oct 14 09:49:39 CDT 2006
>From the ARRL Newsletter
==>FCC RELEASES LONG-AWAITED "OMNIBUS" AMATEUR RADIO REPORT AND ORDER
Ending a protracted waiting period, the FCC's Report and Order (R&O) in the
so-called "omnibus" Amateur Radio proceeding, WT Docket 04-140, was adopted
October 4 and released October 10. In it, the FCC adopted nearly all of the
changes it had put forth in its 2004 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in
the proceeding. The R&O the FCC released this week does NOT include action
on the Commission's proposal to eliminate the Morse code requirement. A
Report and Order in that proceeding, WT Docket 05-235, is pending. ARRL
President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, expressed the League's gratitude to the FCC
for acting this week in the wide-ranging proceeding.
"On behalf of the ARRL and the Commission's licensees in the Amateur Radio
Service I want to express appreciation for your release yesterday of the
Report and Order in WT Docket 04-140 (FCC 06-149) amending Part 97 of the
Commission's Rules," Harrison wrote October 11. "The Commission's action in
clearing this pending proceeding will assist the Amateur Radio Service in
meeting its objectives, particularly with regard to providing emergency and
public service communications."
The new rules are expected to become effective later this year. Among the
highlights in the October 10 Report and Order, the FCC:
* "refarmed" the current Novice/Tech Plus bands to expand certain phone
* agreed to allow Novice and Tech Plus licensees to operate CW in the
General class CW subbands on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters.
* implemented rules to discourage multiple vanity call sign filings on the
same day from the same applicant;
* permitted auxiliary stations to transmit on portions of the 2 meter band;
* permitted amateur licensees to designate a specific Amateur Radio club to
receive their call sign in memoriam;
* eliminated certain restrictions governing the manufacture, marketing and
sale of external RF power amplifiers intended for Amateur Radio use;
* clarified that "amateur stations may, at all times and on all frequencies
authorized to the control operator, make transmissions necessary to meet
essential communication needs and to facilitate relief actions";
* deleted the requirement to publicly announce Amateur Radio examination
locations and times, and
* deleted the frequency bands and segments specified for Radio Amateur Civil
Emergency Service (RACES) stations.
In response to an ARRL Petition for Rule Making, the Commission agreed to
"refarm" the HF segments currently authorized to Novice and Technician Plus
licensees. The reallocation will expand the phone subbands for General,
Advanced and Amateur Extra licensees, although not all commenters agreed
with the idea.
"We are persuaded, however, by ARRL's contention that increasing the amount
of spectrum for voice communications will reduce interference among stations
using voice communications," the FCC said in its R&O, "thereby benefiting
all licensees." The FCC said authorizing more phone spectrum would "more
closely reflect licensees' operating preferences" and mean more efficient
On 75 meters, the FCC went well beyond the modest expansion the ARRL had
proposed and the FCC had tentatively adopted in its 2004 NPRM. Generals will
be able to operate on phone from 3800 to 4000 kHz, Advanced class licensees
from 3700 to 4000, and Amateur Extras from 3600 to 4000 kHz -- greatly
reducing the amount of 80-meter spectrum available for RTTY and data (the
only segment where automatically controlled digital stations may operate on
80 meters is 3620 to 3635 kHz).
The FCC said the amateur community wanted as much phone spectrum as
possible. "Indeed, a number of commenters argue that the NPRM proposal to
increase the amount of spectrum permitted for voice communications would
still not meet the demand for voice communication spectrum in the HF bands,
particularly in the 80 meter band," the FCC said.
On 40 meters, Advanced and Extra Class licensees will be able to operate
phone from 7125 to 7300 kHz, and Generals from 7175 to 7300 kHz. On 15
meters, General class operators may operate phone from 21,275 to 21,450 kHz.
The FCC affirmed its intention to permit Novice and Tech Plus (or Technician
with Element 1 credit) licensees to operate CW in the current General
exclusive-CW allocations on 80, 40 and 15 meters and CW/data on 10 meters,
where the FCC provided an additional 100 kHz for Novice/Tech Plus licensees.
Novice/Tech Plus licensees still may run no more than 200 W PEP, but the
Commission has done away with Novice band power limitations for higher-class
The FCC revised its vanity call sign rules to discourage the filing of
multiple applications for the same call sign on the same day, and many
commenters supported this concept. As implemented in §97.19(d)(1), if the
FCC receives more than one application requesting a vanity call sign from a
single applicant on the same receipt day, it will process only the first
application entered into the Universal Licensing System. "Subsequent vanity
call sign applications from that applicant with the same receipt date will
not be accepted," the rule concludes.
"We are persuaded that we should adopt rule amendments to discourage
multiple vanity call sign applications," the FCC said in the R&O, "and we
believe that a one-application-per-day-per-applicant rule, as requested by
ARRL and others, will eliminate multiple applications requesting the same
assignable call sign on the same day." The FCC concedes that its
one-application-per-day rule "will not prevent an individual from requesting
multiple vanity call signs per se," because an applicant may request up to
25 call signs at a time.
When the FCC receives multiple valid applications from several individuals
requesting the same vanity call sign as a first choice on the same day, it
uses a lottery system to decide which application to process first.
The R&O also affirms changes to Part 2 and Part 97 rules the FCC had
proposed regarding the manufacture, marketing and sale of external RF power
amplifiers. Current FCC rules prohibit commercial manufacturers from
marketing RF power amplifiers capable of transmitting on the 12 and 10 meter
bands. The rules were put in place as a way to prevent use of such
amplifiers by CBers.
"We agree with ARRL that the requirements imposed on Amateur Radio operators
by the current rule are unnecessary because, under the present rules, 'the
equipment, once authorized, can be modified to transmit on all amateur
service frequency allocations,' and that revising the rule 'will enhance use
of the 12 and 10 meter amateur bands,'" the FCC said.
To prevent the use of Amateur Radio amplifiers by CBers, the FCC says
manufacturers of Amateur Radio amplifiers must design their products to
avoid operation between 26 MHz and 28 MHz. They also must certify that
amplifiers are not easily modifiable to operate between 26 MHz and 28 MHz
prior to a grant of equipment certification.
The various rule changes become effective 30 days after their publication in
the Federal Register <http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html>.
A copy of the R&O appears on the FCC Web site
ARRL has posted a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the
A downloadable chart shows the band changes
More information about the Tacos