The FCC has put on public notice for comment a Petition for Rulemaking (RM-11843) that seeks the creation of a new 8-meter Amateur Radio allocation on a secondary basis. The Petition suggests the new band could be centered on an industrial-scientific-medical (ISM) segment somewhere between 40.51 and 40.70 MHz. The spectrum between 40 and 41 MHz is currently allocated to the Federal Government and, as such, within the purview of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). ARRL member Michelle Bradley, KU3N, of Maryland, filed the petition in May on behalf of REC Networks, which she founded and described in the Petition as “a leading advocate for a citizen’s access to spectrum,” including Amateur Radio spectrum.
“REC feels that the time is right for the Commission to open a Notice of Inquiry and eventually a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and in cooperation with the NTIA, this new band opportunity can be realized to spark the next generation of ‘makers’ in the fields of science, technology, education, and math (STEM), especially women and girls,” Bradley told the FCC in the Petition. “The more opportunities we give to make things, the more opportunities we have to build a pool of experts in STEM, right here at home.”
The Petition said the objective of a new band would be “an effort to foster experimentation into the propagation characteristics of this band midway between the 10- and 6-meter bands.” An allocation in the 8-meter band is available to radio amateurs in Ireland, where the Irish Radio Transmitters Society has developed a band plan for 40 – 41 MHz.
“REC perceives this spectrum can be used for weak signal experimentation and eventually general amateur use, especially along transatlantic paths using CW, SSB, digital modes such as FT8 and digital voice,” the Petition said. “As no radios are mass-produced for this band at this time, this opens up new opportunities for ‘makers’ to construct transmitters, receivers, and antenna systems that can be used in this spectrum.”
REC anticipates “very low” usage of the new band, “with peak usage around sporadic-E episodes, operating events such as ARRL Field Day, and VHF contests, as well as during the peak of sunspot cycles,” Bradley told the Commission. “[W]e feel that the sharing of 40 MHz can be accomplished in a manner that serves the needs of the Amateur Radio Service while meeting the organizational missions of Federal Government agencies that utilize this spectrum.”
Interested parties may file short comments on RM-11843 via the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing Service (Express). Visit the FCC “How to Comment on FCC Proceedings” page for information on filing extended comments.
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