ARLB025 Comment Deadlines Set on Proposed 60 Meter Band Changes

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 25  ARLB025
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  October 5, 2023
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB025 Comment Deadlines Set on Proposed 60 Meter Band Changes

A public period is open until October 30, 2023 for radio amateurs to
comment on proposed changes to the 60 Meter band. The ARRL is asking
all radio amateurs to join it in urging the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) to continue the existing use of the band. ARRL is
encouraging expressions of support to the FCC for the current 100
watt ERP power limit (instead of reducing the power limit to 15
watts EIRP) and continuing secondary access to the current channels.
An opportunity to reply to comments ends on November 28.

Currently, radio amateurs in the US have use of five discreet
channels on a secondary basis on which they are permitted an
effective radiated power (ERP) of 100 watts ERP. In the NPRM the
Commission solicits comment on reducing the secondary allocation to
15 kHz of contiguous spectrum between 5351.5 - 5366.5 kHz with a
power limit of 15 watts EIRP (equivalent to 9.1 watts ERP). The
lesser spectrum and reduced power limit was adopted by the 2015
World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15).

The federal government is the primary user of the 5 MHz spectrum.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration
(NTIA), the federal government's spectrum regulator,  has argued
that the WRC-15 proposals should be implemented as written.  Doing
so would result in amateurs losing four of the discreet channels
they have been using on a secondary basis and having the maximum
permissible power reduced by more than 10 dB, from 100 watts ERP to
9.1 watts ERP.

In 2017, ARRL petitioned the FCC to keep four of the current five
60-meter channels - one would be within the new band - as well as
the current limit of 100 watts ERP. "Such implementation will allow
radio amateurs engaged in emergency and disaster relief
communications, and especially those between the United States and
the Caribbean basin, to more reliably, more flexibly and more
capably conduct those communications [and preparedness exercises],
before the next hurricane season," ARRL said in its petition.

ARRL said that years of amateur radio experience using the five
discrete 5-MHz channels demonstrated that amateurs coexist well with
the primary users at 5 MHz. "Neither ARRL, nor, apparently, NTIA is
aware of a single reported instance of interference to a federal
user by a radio amateur operating at 5 MHz to date," ARRL said in
its 2017 petition.

ARRL will continue to advocate to maintain the 100-watt limit for 60
meters, continued authorization for the four channels outside the
WRC allocation that are being used today, and adoption of the new 15
kHz allocation with the same 100-watt power limit.

In the NPRM, the FCC recognizes that Canada adopted rules equivalent
to those proposed by the ARRL. "Finally, we note that Canada has
essentially implemented the same rules as ARRL has requested," the
Commission wrote.

The FCC seeks comment on the proposed 15 kHz of contiguous spectrum,
but also on whether the existing channels should remain allocated to
amateur radio on a secondary basis, and whether the maximum power
limitations should be reduced from 100 to 9.1 watts ERP. The FCC
also requested comments on whether the power limitation should be
expressed as EIRP as the WRC-15 recommends or as ERP as in the
current rules.
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