FCC Grants Waiver to Permit Higher Symbol Rate Data for Hurricane Relief

August 24, 2018--The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today requested and was granted a temporary waiver of section 97.307(f) of the Commission’s rules to permit use of Pactor 4 for amateur communications between the United States mainland and Hawaii related to Hurricane Lane relief. The waiver is in effect through Tuesday, August 28, 2018. Another formal order related to a longer, 30-day waiver will be released next week.

US amateur Pactor gateways capable of running Pactor 4 and are involved in hurricane relief communications with Hawaii are requested to configure their stations to permit connections with this mode. Watch for further news regarding these temporary waivers of FCC rules to avoid violations.

--Winlink Development Team

FCC Proposes Rule Changes in Response to ARRL's "Symbol Rate" Petition

The FCC has proposed to revise the Amateur Service Part 97 rules in response to the ARRL's so-called "Symbol Rate" Petition for Rule Making (RM-11708), filed in late 2013, and it has invited comments on its recommended changes. The Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in WT Docket 16-239, released on July 28, had been making the rounds at the FCC since May. ARRL had asked the FCC to change the Part 97 rules to delete the symbol rate limit in §97.307(f) and replace it with a maximum bandwidth for data emissions of 2.8 kHz on amateur frequencies below 29.7 MHz.

"We believe that the public interest may be served by revising the Amateur Service rules to eliminate the current baud rate limitations for data emissions, consistent with ARRL's Petition, to allow Amateur Service licensees to use modern digital emissions, thereby furthering the purposes of the Amateur Service and enhancing the usefulness of the service," the FCC said in its NPRM. "We do not, however, propose a bandwidth limitation for data emissions in the MF and HF bands to replace the baud rate limitations, because the rules' current approach for limiting bandwidth use by amateur stations using one of the specified digital codes to encode the signal being transmitted appears sufficient to ensure that general access to the band by licensees in the Amateur Service does not become unduly impaired."

The ARRL staff was still reviewing the NPRM at publication deadline, and we will report further on this proceeding.

Published with permission of the ARRL. Copyright 2016 Amateur Radio Relay League, Inc.

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