FCC Considering Amateur Services Changes

The FCC are considering making changes to two Amateur Services Rules

Part 97, commonly known as “Symbol Rate, is being reconsidered. The ARRL have requested that the FCC change the rate limits 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.

The change would allow Amateur Radio Services to utilise modern digital emissions, enhancing the usefulness of the service.

A bandwidth limitation maybe imposed for data emissions in the MF and HF bands to replace the existing baud rate limitations.

Under the current rules, “specified digital codes” in Part 97 may be used with a symbol rate that does not exceed 300 baud for frequencies below 28 MHz, with the exception of 60 meters, and 1200 baud in the 10 meter band. The baud rate limits were adopted in 1980, when the FCC amended Part 97 to specify ASCII as a permissible digital code.

Comments in the proceeding will be due 60 days after the date that the NPRM appears in the Federal Register.

A waiver is also being considered in relation to  §97.317(a)(2) of the Amateur Service rules to permit it to import, market, and use its model 1.3K FA amplifier in the US.

Texan company, Expert Linears America LLC, is seeking the waiver pending resolution of its earlier Petition for Rule Making (RM-11767), which called on the Commission to eliminate the 15 dB gain limitation on Amateur Radio amplifiers altogether. Expert said the version of the model 1.3K FA amplifier it now imports has been modified to comply with current rules.

The ARRL are strongly supporting the company in their attempts to make the change.

Successfully making the change would allow Expert Linear America LLC to import the unmodified version of the Model 1.3K FA, which is capable of considerably more than 15 dB amplification.

Expert argues that the public interest would be served by permitting use of a higher-powered amplifier, because it would improve the communications capabilities of amateurs using portable, low-power transmitters by enabling them to approach the maximum legal power output.” Expert assured the FCC that its model 1.3K FA has proprietary software to prevent it from transmitting in the 26-28 MHz band, so it cannot be used in the Citizens Radio Service.

Comments on Expert’s waiver request are due by 29 August 2016, reply comments by 13 September 2016.