Tag Archives: ARRL

Draft of new ARRL HF Bandplans

(Source: Southgate ARC)

The HF Bandplanning committee has been looking at the HF digital mode segments and has issued a new draft bandplan

In their report the committee say:

“Conflicts have surfaced about interference among digital segments of HF bandplans.  The situation was referred to the HF Bandplanning Committee for consideration and recommendations to increase harmony.”  

“The group considered a variety of positions on the issues, and developed the recommendations below.  In general, the Committee agrees that the recent, extreme popularity of digital modes is likely to continue or accelerate.  FT8 as a mode is the poster child for the rapid and extreme rise in popularity that is possible with the new digital modes.  We expect more of this evolution in the future.  Along with digital modes, there has been an increase in automatically controlled digital stations (ACDS). We believe this trend will continue as well.”

“In general, the committee is of the opinion that there is justification for additional space to become available for digital modes, as well as for the operation of digital stations under automatic control.”

Read the HF Bandplanning Committee report at this link

Draft HF Bandplan – Click here

On The Air: ARRL’s excellent magazine for newcomers…only available behind their paywall

Cover of the new “On The Air” e-magazine from the ARRL

[Please note: this is a cross-post from our sister site, the SWLing Post.]

Today, the ARRL released their new electronic magazine for ham radio newcomers: On The Air.

The ARRL describes On The Air‘s mission:

“On the Air magazine is the newest ARRL member benefit to help new licensees and beginner-to-intermediate radio communicators navigate the world of amateur radio. Delivered six times a year, the magazine will present articles, how-to’s, and tips for selecting equipment, building projects, getting involved in emergency communication as well as spotlighting the experiences of people using radio to serve their communities, and those using it for enjoyment.”

I checked out On The Air and was quite pleased with the scope of the magazine. The first issue covers topics such as: understanding the ionosphere, choosing your first radio, building simple antennas, and much more. I love the fact that the articles are written with newcomers in mind, too; less technical jargon and more explanations.

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been teaching a ham radio class to a group of high school students. Most of the students have now acquired their Technician licenses, and we’re even plotting a General class course for the fall.

Last month, I shared some copies of QST (the ARRL monthly member magazine) with my students. While they enjoyed looking through the pages of QST, many told me they simply didn’t understand the articles yet…There’s just not a lot inside a QST issue to grab the attention of a fifteen or sixteen year old who’s just gotten her ticket. Understandable.

Then, I learned about On The Air from a friend with the ARRL.  I was so glad to hear that the League was finally making a bi-monthly magazine aimed squarely at newcomers! I was also pleased it was an e-publication, because it will be that much easier to share with my class and propagate to prospective students.

But today, I discovered, to my dismay, that other than the premier issue, On The Air is for ARRL members only. Here’s a screen grab from the website:

But…”for members only”––?

Alas, in limiting access, the ARRL has essentially insured that most of their target audience won’t ever have the opportunity to read On The Air, and thus they’ve crippled the best ARRL recruitment tool I’ve ever seen. 

What a shame.

I’ve contacted my ARRL representative and asked that they reconsider the decision to hide this brilliant magazine behind a membership paywall. I’m pretty sure that ad revenue and membership fees could readily cover the cost of publishing this electronic edition. After all, On The Air could lead to a lot more ARRL members! And, indeed, I hope it will.

If you feel as I do, please contact your ARRL Section manager. It may be that those making the decisions are, in this case, a little out of touch with the future of amateur radio.

Update – To be clear about this post: I’m not implying anything bad about the ARRL here, I just think it’s a lost opportunity if they keep future editions of On The Air behind the member pay wall. I imagine that ad revenue alone could more than support this niche publication if they simply release it as a free PDF. The real benefit, though, could be an increase in ARRL membership as On The Air readers get a taste of what the League could offer! In other words: this is an opportunity!

What do you think? Should On The Air be free to anyone interested in amateur radio, or for members only? Please comment!

It’s official! WRC-12 approves new amateur radio allocation between 472-479 kHz

Time to think of building some new antennas!  This is excellent news out of the ARRL. Kudos to all who worked on getting this passed at the WRC-12.

(Source: ARRL)

It’s official — delegates attending the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) have approved a new 7-kilohertz-wide secondary allocation between 472-479 kHz for the Amateur Radio Service. Agenda Item 1.23 had both its first and second readings in Plenary Session on Tuesday, February 14; to become part of the ITU’s Radio Regulations, each Agenda Item must be read twice in Plenary Session. The new allocation will become official on Friday, February 17 at the close of the Conference.

“This is a fantastic achievement for the Amateur Radio Service,” IARU President Tim Ellam. VE6SH, told the ARRL. “A new allocation for spectrum is always something that should be celebrated. The success on this issue is due to the hard work over the last four years from our IARU representatives, as well as the volunteers from the numerous IARU Member-Societies who have worked within the ITU process on behalf of their national administrations. This is excellent work from our team in Geneva, and from those who have assisted from their home countries.”

Agenda Item 1.23 originally called for a 15-kilohertz-wide spectrum in parts of the band 415-526.5 kHz, taking into account the need to protect existing services. But according to ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, this was in conflict with the Maritime Mobile Service. WRC-12 delegates approved Agenda Item 1.10, which called for a worldwide exclusive allocation to the Maritime Mobile Service of 495-505 kHz. Discussion of this allocation to Maritime Mobile “has been in the works throughout the conference preparation (i.e. since 2008),” Sumner explained, “and was the reason why the MF amateur allocation could not be made in this band as some amateurs had hoped. That’s why we had to look elsewhere and is what put us in conflict with aeronautical radionavigation.”

According to Colin Thomas, G3PSM, CEPT Coordinator for Agenda Item 1.23, WRC-12 delegates moved forward early in the Conference with what he called a “compromise proposal” for the new allocation. “Progress was made with a compromise proposal on Agenda Item 1.23, drafted to take into consideration the views of those for and those against an Amateur Service allocation around 500 kHz. This proposal suggests a 7-kilohertz segment between 472-479 kHz, very close to the CEPT position of 472-480 kHz.”

The new allocation calls for a worldwide secondary allocation to the Amateur Service at 472-479 kHz, with a power limit of 1 W EIRP. A provision has been made, however, for administrations to permit up to 5 W EIRP for stations located more than 800 km from certain countries that wish to protect their aeronautical radionavigation service (non-directional beacons) from any possible interference. Footnotes (see below) provide administrations with opportunities to “opt out” of the amateur allocation and/or to upgrade their aeronautical radionavigation service to primary, if they wish to do so. In addition to these protections for aeronautical radionavigation, the Amateur Service must avoid harmful interference to the primary maritime mobile service. Quite a few additional administrations — mainly in the former Soviet Union and the Arab states — added their country’s names to the Footnotes prior to the Agenda Item’s consideration in Plenary.

More than 3000 participants — representing more than 150 out of the International Telecommunication Union’s 193 Member States — are attending the four-week conference. About 100 Observers from among the ITU’s 700 private sector members — along with international organizations, including the International Amateur Radio Union — are also in attendance. A number of WRC-12 delegates are radio amateurs, with many of them operating at 4U1ITU, the Amateur Radio station at ITU Headquarters. The station has been using the call sign 4U1WRC throughout the duration of the Conference. [Continue reading…]