ARSFI Board Comments on ARRL Band Planning Recommendations

13 February 2020--The Amateur Radio Safety Foundation Board of Directors today sent their comments to the ARRL Band Planning Committee about their draft recommendations for band changes to promote harmony on the HF bands, particularly between CW and digital operators. The Committee's recommendations can be reviewed here, and their full report here.

Below are the ARSFI comments verbatim. You can file your own comments here.

Dear Band Planning Committee,

The Board of Directors of the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation, Incorporated (ARSFI) applaud and approve the committee’s proposal, with one exception which we hope is a mere oversight. Your proposed changes will go a long way towards reducing the mode collisions that spread ill will on the bands.

Our criticism of the ARRL Board’s minute 31 action combining 97.221(c) <500Hz signals into the same space as signals >500Hz in bandwidth is compensated with wider allocations. And the committee is wise to allow users to manage their usage within the new allocations. ARSFI will do all within our abilities and resources to make this work.

We have a serious concern about your proposal for 40M where there is no allocation for users outside of Region 2 to use wideband (>500Hz) modes. We have no objection to ACDS being limited for US licensees outside Region 2, but the concurrent limitation of using wideband modes by control operators present at their stations has negative consequences, such as prohibiting peer-to-peer communications between US-licensed stations or attended client stations on the high seas or in US territories to use efficient wide-band modes when connecting with lawful ACDS stations, either US- or foreign-licensed. This will make the use of routine and emergency radio email by US-licensed users at sea and in US territories outside Region 2 impractical and unnecessarily inefficient. Accordingly, we suggest adding between 7.100 and 7.125MHz an allocation for wideband (>500Hz) data for all license classes just as there is for users within Region 2. Again, we have no objection if this allocation does not include ACDS operation. Users of our suggested allocation would be client stations or operating Peer-to-Peer and will be present during operation at the control operator position.

We thank you for your dedication, fairness and hard work on behalf of all amateur radio operators. Thank you for standing up to those who resist the adoption of digital technologies and the changes needed to foster digital progress. Thank you for ignoring those who attack, belittle, and oppose changes toward anything that is not traditional or established technology. Future progress of the radio art will be digital.

Lor Kutchins, W3QA
For the Board of Directors
Amateur Radio Safety Foundation, Inc.
And the Winlink Development Team

What Was the ARRL Thinking?

It was recently revealed that in mid-July the ARRL Board instructed Washington Counsel David Siddall, K3ZJ, to take steps to obtain FCC approval for several changes to the Part 97 Amateur Radio Service rules. The requested changes we all should object to:

  • Require ALL digital mode stations operating with a bandwidth greater than 500 Hz to operate within the narrow 97.221(b) Automatically Controlled Digital Station (ACDS) sub bands, whether or not these stations are automatically controlled.
  • Require all automatically controlled digital mode stations less than 500 Hz bandwidth to also operate only 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 six-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 at ARSFI 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 sub bands are only 5 kHz wide, enough for only a single QSO of fast digital data, or two, depending on the modes. Other narrow sub bands allow only 3-6 simultaneous QSOs without interference. This is their answer to the highly contested RM-11831 petition at the FCC?

Bonnie Crystal calls this, "'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." 'read more' below

Winlink to Play Role in 'Cascadia Rising' Exercise

Cascadia Rising Logo

"Cascadia Rising," the largest FEMA exercise of 2016, will get under way on June 7, and Oregon and Washington ARES/RACES organizations both will be heavily involved, with a significant investment in HF activity planned. The scenario will be an earthquake and tsunami disaster involving the entire Pacific Northwest, and the exercise will start with a blackout of all normal, regular communication systems. Amateur Radio will provide emergency/disaster alternate communication systems, and participants will include Maxim Memorial Station W1AW at ARRL Headquarters. The plan calls for W1AW to be active and monitoring, and possibly passing traffic, if necessary, W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, said. ARRL Emergency Response Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said Cascadia Rising will also involve the Emergency Response Team at ARRL Headquarters.

"Along with participation via Winlink and HF voice, we will use it as an opportunity to exercise the ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team," Corey said. "This team is called up to support the ARRL Field Organization during a major disaster, when support cannot be provided during normal business hours. The last activation of the team was during hurricane Irene in 2011."

According to FEMA, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), and the resulting tsunami would present the most complex disaster scenario that emergency managers and public safety officials in the Pacific Northwest could face; Cascadia Rising is an exercise to address that disaster. The exercise will conclude on June 10.

According to FEMA, emergency operations centers (EOCs) and emergency coordination centers (ECCs) at all levels of government and in the private sector will activate to conduct simulated field response operations within their jurisdictions and with neighboring communities, state EOCs, FEMA, and major military commands. The military departments in Washington and Oregon will activate.

"Conducting successful life-saving and life-sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of governments at all levels -- cities, counties, state agencies, federal officials, the military, tribal nations -- as well as non-government organizations and the private sector," FEMA said. "One of the primary goals of Cascadia Rising is to train and test this whole community approach to complex disaster operations together as a joint team."

Thanks to John Core, KX7YT, Oregon ARES District 1 Emergency Coordinator for some information. Republished with permission by the ARRL.
For more information see the FEMA web site
Participating SHARES, Amateur and MARS Winlink operators may want to download, install, and practice the Washington State HTML forms package.


Subscribe to RSS - ARRL
Winlink Linkomatic