ARRL has filed reply comments stressing the need to update Technician privileges in a digital world
ARRL filed its reply comments on April 29, urging the FCC to disregard comments irrelevant to its petition and maintaining that Technician privileges must be relevant within the context of today’s technological environment.
ARRL characterized its proposal to update the rules as “balanced and modest.”
“If adopted, there would be no change to the operating privileges for all licenses classes other than those of the Technician class,” ARRL said. ARRL in 2018 asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, and 15 meters. The FCC invited comments on the proposal in April.
ARRL pointed out that some comments filed on its petition address subjects related to other open proceedings rather than expanding Technician privileges, citing comments cross-filed in such proceedings as WT Docket 16-239, RM-11708, RM-11759, and RM-11831. “Those filings should be considered in the proceedings that they address, rather than here,” ARRL said.
ARRL said some opposition appears based on fears of increased interference potential due to additional digital operation by Technicians. “It is improbable that all, or even a majority, of Technician licensees, suddenly would develop a passion for the same digital technology,” ARRL said. “Our hope and expectation are that many will engage with digital modes on the high-frequency spectrum at issue, but it is unrealistic to suggest that every Technician licensee blessed with new privileges would suddenly appear on the same band.”
The comments note the development of very efficient digital modes such as FT8, which occupies just 90 Hz of spectrum per signal. “The experience with FT8 clearly demonstrates the attraction of the digital modes and the spectrum efficiencies that can be achieved,” ARRL said. “This is why opening up limited digital opportunities to new radio amateurs so clearly would serve the broad public interest as well as the specific purposes of Amateur Radio in experimentation and innovation, as enumerated in the governing FCC rules.”
ARRL further said that comments regarding disagreement on the definition of encryption for masking the content of certain digital transmissions also are “out of place in this proceeding” and “should not delay initiation of a proceeding” proposing to update Technician privileges.
March - FCC invites comments on ARRL Technician Enhancement proposal - http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2019/march/arrl-technician-enhancement-proposal.htm