Monday, 13 April 2015

Latest ARRL Band Plan Updates Proposed

The ARRL is presently seeking membership input on proposed band plan adjustments for many of our HF bands. According to their recent announcement, these changes are due to "concerns pertaining to the increasing popularity of data modes, and ... to use spectrum so that these data modes may compatibly coexist with each other."


As is often the case, it appears that CW will suffer once again. Of particular interest is the widening of the 40m band plan for digital modes at the expense of the ever-shrinking CW segments.

Those of you that have been haunting 40m CW for some time will well-remember that 7040kHz was once the watering-hole for most QRP and ragchew CW activity. Several years ago, this section of the band became flooded with RTTY and other data modes that made a pleasant CW QSO much harder to come by. CW ragchewers and newcomers then found solace in the region above 7100, near the old Novice band. Over time, the RTTY and digital-moders have gradually moved into this region as well and now the ARRL wants to make it official.

A look at the 40m plan (above) is somewhat misleading as everyone that operates on 40m CW knows that the 7025-7080 'CW' segment is already dominated by digital activity ... most of us know what it is like to have a bone-crushing digital station suddenly open up on top of the frequency with seemingly no regard for the CW stations already there. It would appear that there will now be not much room for the casual CW operator to call home ... no watering hole frequency around which to congregate as in the past.

Many might say that this is all for the better and that CW has passed its 'best-before' date while others would see it as another nail in CW's coffin.

The proposed changes have spawned numerous discussions on various e-mail reflectors. One of the more interesting comments on the plan was posted by 'wireless-girl' (Janis, AB2RA) and may be read here.

Changes for several HF bands are proposed so if 40m is not one of your main interests, maybe your favorite band will be adversely affected as well.

Whatever your opinion is, the ARRL would like membership input and have published an online-form for you to fill in and make your wishes known.

The comment deadline is April 19, 2015 after which the HF Band Planning Committee will prepare its final report. If you are an ARRL member, please take a couple of minutes to fill-out their questionnaire.


Anonymous said...

Steve, Thanks for posting this topic, have you seen anything from RAC on these band plan updates? Mark, Coquitlam.

Anonymous said...

19. Mr. Roderick, as chairman, presented the report of the Ad Hoc HF Band Planning Committee. More than 1,000 responses were received to the web survey posted by the committee. Related motions will be introduced later.

31. On motion of Mr. Norris, seconded by Mr. Lisenco, it was VOTED that the amendments to the ARRL HF band plan as recommended in the July 2015 report of the HF Band Planning Committee are adopted.

4. To provide RTTY/data privileges to Novice and Technician licensees in their 15-meter band segment and in their 80-meter band segment, the latter contingent upon the FCC extending the sub-band up to 3650 kHz.

Mr. Norton moved, seconded by Mr. Isely, to amend the motion, replacing clauses 1-4 with “Eliminate FCC subband regulation in the 80-meter band which will result in regulation consistent with that of the 160-meter band.” After discussion, a roll call vote being requested, Mr. Norton voted aye and all other Directors voted nay so the amendment was DEFEATED.

After further discussion, the motion without amendment was ADOPTED.

40. Mr. Abernethy moved, seconded by Mr. Rehman that the HF Band Planning Committee is directed to poll the Amateur community concerning the possible elimination of FCC subband regulations for mode and/or license class on the 80 through 10 meter bands. The possible elimination would align regulation with what is presently done for the USA’s 160-meter band and all Canadian bands. After discussion, a roll call vote being requested, the motion was DEFEATED with Directors Abernethy, Rehman, and Norton voting aye and all other Directors voting nay.

From July 2015 ARRL board minutes. Alarming.

On 40m and 20m, the proposed changes would also negatively impact DX phone operations throughout the Americas, and the rest of the world. RAC has formally communicated our concerns to ARRL with the request that they include these concerns in their consideration of any changes to the US sub-bands.- George Gorsline, VE3YV-RAC International Affairs

From RAC website:

FYI AB2RA, just the facts.