Petition Seeks to Limit Digital Modes to Open-Source Software

The FCC is asking for comments on a new Petition for Rule Making RM-11831 which calls for 'Amateur Digital Mode Transparency'

The FCC is accepting comments on a Petition for Rule Making (RM-11831) seeking to amend FCC Part 97 rules that require all ham radio digital transmissions to use techniques “whose technical characteristics have been documented publicly.” The Petition, filed by Ron Kolarik, K0IDT, of Lincoln, Nebraska, expresses concern that some currently used digital modes are not readily and freely able to be decoded, and it asks the FCC to require all digital codes to use protocols that “can be monitored in [their] entirety by third parties with freely available, open-source software,” per §97.113(a)(4).

Kolarik said his petition also aims to reduce levels of amateur-to-amateur interference from Automated Controlled Digital Stations (ACDS) on HF operating under §97.221(d)(2). Kolarik wants the FCC to delete §97.221(c), which permits automatic control of digital emissions provided the station “is responding to interrogation by a station under local or remote control, and [n]o transmission from the automatically controlled station occupies a bandwidth of more than 500 Hz.”

In his Petition, Kolarik maintains that interference from ACDS continues to be “a major problem on the amateur bands.” He suggested that an absence of formal complaints may be due to the fact that such stations are “difficult to identify.”

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