What Was the ARRL Thinking?

It was recently revealed that in mid-July, the ARRL 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), and apparently from ANY digital station over 500 Hz in signal bandwidth.

  • Require digital mode stations operating with a bandwidth greater than 500 Hz to operate within the narrow 97.221(b) 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.
  • Require all automatically controlled digital mode stations less than 500 Hz bandwidth to operate within the ACDS bands.

The full action is in the ARRL Board minutes, page 16:

Bonnie Crystal, KQ6XA, founder of HFLink painted a clear picture:

"What ARRL wants," an Analogy:

  • There is a 6 lane superhighway we've all used well for years, but now only bicycles and horse-drawn carts can use it.
  • Fast cars and trucks are forbidden on this highway.
  • All the fast cars and trucks must now use a single lane frontage road alongside the superhighway.
  • The bicycles and horse-drawn carts also have the right-of-way when using the frontage road.

While we fully appreciate the Director's other actions on digital matters, this action is simply crazy without expanding the 97.221(b) subbands. You can't responsibly sort and redirect the traffic to a place that can't handle it. On 40 meters, 17 meters and 12 meters, the subbands are only 5 kHz wide, enough for only a single QSO of fast digital data, or two, depending on the modes. This is their answer to the highly contested RM-11831 petition at the FCC. Bonnie Crystal calls it, "'Regulation By Bandwidth' + 'Regulation By Content' piled high upon 'Regulation by Absurdity'....but the absurdity would only apply to digital data signals, and not to anything else. That is a huge step back into the Technology Jail."

Citadel Rumble Communications Drill - West Coast

Contact Rob K6RJF with any questions.

Seven San Diego Winlink operators supported a Navy West Coast medical exercise on 8/6/19. It was not an ARES exercise, but the ARES name inevitably arose in discussion and appeared in the news story. Many thanks to the volunteers!

San Diego Participants:

Bob Younger AI6KU
Patrick Gooden K6PFG
Gary Asbury N6GLS
Mike Bradbury N2DDS
Rhonda Bradbury KK6KTM
Bill Honaker N9LZ
Rob Freeburn K6RJF
Dennis Yard N1TEN

Mexican Amateur Radio Volunteers Provide Communication in Wildfire Response

Mexican radio amateurs provided communication support in late May from a fire scene in a remote area to civil protection authorities in Monterrey, Mexico. Two-member teams of volunteers were flown in via helicopter since May 20, the first day of radio support, when the fire had already been burning for a couple of days. The fire in Pajonal -- about 20 kilometers south of Monterrey -- covered more than 200 acres in rough terrain. Temperatures topped 100 °F.


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