The FCC's gonna take away our spectrum if...

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WB4CS

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The FCC is going to take away your beloved spectrum if we dont get more hams! Look at it like that..
And if you dont think they wont,you better wake up.
EXTREMELY doubtful. Let's break down our spectrum:

HF: In this technological world we live in, the number of non-amateur users wanting worldwide communication have zero interest in HF radio. The number of broadcast SW stations are dwindling, worldwide military coms are more satellite than HF, and the noise floor and propagation of HF does not provide a "reliable" means of long distance communication that a business would have much interest in. We are in virtually no danger of losing HF spectrum. The only danger here is losing our spectrum to RFI, as more and more cheap electronics are allowed to cause RFI across the HF spectrum.

50 MHz - 450 MHz: As more public safety and commercial users are moving to 700/800 MHz trunked systems (or other forms of communications like cellular) there's plenty of bandwidth available in the Part 90 spectrum already, very doubtful there's a need to take over the ham bands. Especially with Narrowband, that has opened up more available Part 90 channels. Other than low power Part 15 emissions, what would be the point in needing the spectrum that hams have in this part of the dial?

900 MHz and up: This is the part of the Amateur spectrum that is in the most danger of being taken away from us. As more Part 90 services move to 700/800 MHz, they may need room to grow. Cellular providers could easily grow their network in the 900/1200 MHz spectrum. Long distance wi-fi and internet providers could benefit here, too.

However, would we really care if 900 MHz and above went away? Based on the lack of amateur radio gear in this part of the spectrum, there's probably only a handful of hams that use this spectrum. I know there are users in the 900 and 1200 bands, but for sure not enough to justify it's existence over users that would pay to purchase the spectrum.

And even then, it's doubtful we'd loose that spectrum. We'd probably be put on a secondary user basis for 900 MHz and above (as I believe we already are for 900 MHz?)

Now with that being said, I don't feel that we're in danger of loosing spectrum. I think we are in danger of loosing licensing. Amateur Radio does not make the FCC much money. How long before a bunch of bickering old hams finally peeve off the FCC and they decide to put us on "License By Rule" like CB and FRS? That's something we do NOT want to happen. We as hams have to remember that while this is just a hobby, it's one that should reflect good nature and promote users that act mature and professionally.
 

W9BU

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This is really a separate topic from the Extra class licensing topic, so I moved it to a new thread.
 

WB4CS

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While I agree that it is separate it wasn't my intent to start a new topic, there are some good points in my post that applied to the entire thread.

Mainly, the last few comments about how people act on the air, even those with older Extra class licenses. My point was, those people are the ones that cause the most damage to the hobby, not the new people that come into the hobby with the "easier" tests.

For context, the original thread is here: http://forums.radioreference.com/amateur-radio-general-discussion/287319-extra-class-license-test-too-easy.html
 

elk2370bruce

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We've been hearing this BS story since I obtained my Novice license in 1960. Radio spectrum has both a national and international set of agreements, treaties, and protocols. Beside, all commercial users are going way up the chart to 700, 800, and even 900 MHz trunked systems that are of no risk to amateur radio This hysteria raises its ugly head every five years or so and NOTHING has happened yet and is not likely to do so in the foreeable future. Just enjoy the hobby and leave the conspracy guessing to Congress. It would take years just to get enough votes to evacuate the building for a fire.
 

XTS3000

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FCC needs to clean up the police bands first before taking spectrum away from hams.

In my town, the police have 5 frequencies. Repeater takes 2 freqs, along with 3 tac channels. The cops are so scared to use their radios, all 5 frequencies get no more than 5 minutes at best usage per day. Now that's spectrum waste!

Where I work, the police went to 800Mhz, but will not give up their VHF freqs (3 of them).

So around here, trunking which was supposed to clear up some spectrum congestion, has only caused more congestion.
 

W9BU

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Mainly, the last few comments about how people act on the air, even those with older Extra class licenses. My point was, those people are the ones that cause the most damage to the hobby, not the new people that come into the hobby with the "easier" tests.
There are many ways in which both new hams and old hams can do damage to amateur radio. It could be the guy who shows up at incidents and tells the public safety folks "I'm an amateur radio operator and I'm here to help". Or it could be the guy with the new, inexpensive handheld radio that either intentionally or unintentionally makes siren noises on the local repeater. Or, it could be the guys who camp out on the HF bands running big power into big antennas who have a rude and socially-unacceptable way of speaking. Or, it could be the uneducated or simply uncaring operators who make a shambles out of a DXpedition's attempts to make contacts. The list goes on and every one of these situations could be the death knell for amateur radio.

I've just recently had my eyes opened to a troubling point of view. A central Indiana ham who just happens to be an artifact collector is apparently under investigation by the FBI (FBI inventories local collection » News » Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN). Among the rumors being spread on various blogs is that this guy has used his ham radio expertise to provide classified information to our "enemies". But, what I found more eye-opening is that there is, I am told, a perception among some state and local governmental leaders that amateur radio operators are subversives who want to make contact with foreign governments for nefarious reasons. Hams want to talk to Europe and Asia, not to earn credit towards their DXCC, but so they can sell U.S. secrets to foreign governments? Really?
 

902

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Gentlemen, the FCC won't "take" anything - on their own, at least. There needs to be some compelling force. The usual one is Congress (at the behest of their corporate sponsors), although there are always proponents in industry that want marketable spectrum to feed their voracious appetites to push live content, whether that's voice, data, or video.

I've seen this several times in my ham "career." The monsters under the bed really are monsters under the bed. The last (and most prominent) time I can recall was the demand for a revenue-neutral solution for upper D Block spectrum, where one particular Congressional Representative DEMANDED a "giveback" of marketable spectrum in exchange for what he perceived to be a precious commodity (700 MHz). The original plan was to take 430 - 440 and (I believe it was) 460-470 and auction them as paired 10 MHz blocks for broadband data services. An earlier discussion was to give back ALL spectrum below 512 MHz for reuse and let everyone use wireless carriers (guess who the proponents of that gem were). Ultimately, the Representative wormed into legislation the giveback of 470-512 MHz (which, ironically, heavily serves his district). Hasty as it was, it only considered public safety and never gave commercial users or incumbent broadcasters a second thought. The lack of contiguous usability pretty much limits its marketability, but, hey, who says this stuff needs to make sense?

What saved the day? It wasn't necessarily that some amateurs expressed outrage, although Congressmen don't really like it when their constituents call their offices often. What contributed to moving on was the secondary or shared status of the bands. The other factor was that bandplans were promulgated by ITU convention. That *could* be changed, and any entity with plenipotentiary ability (in our case, that's the NTIA) can propose national modifications to ITU regional plans. Basically, it's not that easy to relocate an international radiolocation band.

There are also treaties with other regional entites that keep amateur radio licensing levels in parity with other parts of the world for reciprocity. Check into CEPT. So, the US is bound by some of these things and can't simply arbitrarily change. The key word is arbitrarily. They can and will change given compelling reason.

HOWEVER, if spectrum lies fallow, or being held in abeyance for some once-in-a-decade occurrence, you can surely bet someone else has an eye for it. Don't say it's for "EmComm" or for a special purpose that might not happen frequently. Make good use of the resource because without documented use, there is no material to refute the foray. Do use it, because chances are that the other interest only wants it for "real estate" value. That is, they don't have a use for it, but will turn around and flip it as though it were beachfront real estate. THAT is where the money is. The first wave of money, at least. The second wave of money is from the recurring revenue in fees for service and throughput once infrastructure goes into place.
 

WB4CS

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There are many ways in which both new hams and old hams can do damage to amateur radio. It could be the guy who shows up at incidents and tells the public safety folks "I'm an amateur radio operator and I'm here to help". Or it could be the guy with the new, inexpensive handheld radio that either intentionally or unintentionally makes siren noises on the local repeater. Or, it could be the guys who camp out on the HF bands running big power into big antennas who have a rude and socially-unacceptable way of speaking. Or, it could be the uneducated or simply uncaring operators who make a shambles out of a DXpedition's attempts to make contacts. The list goes on and every one of these situations could be the death knell for amateur radio.

I've just recently had my eyes opened to a troubling point of view. A central Indiana ham who just happens to be an artifact collector is apparently under investigation by the FBI (FBI inventories local collection » News » Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN). Among the rumors being spread on various blogs is that this guy has used his ham radio expertise to provide classified information to our "enemies". But, what I found more eye-opening is that there is, I am told, a perception among some state and local governmental leaders that amateur radio operators are subversives who want to make contact with foreign governments for nefarious reasons. Hams want to talk to Europe and Asia, not to earn credit towards their DXCC, but so they can sell U.S. secrets to foreign governments? Really?
You're correct, and I agree, there are MANY things that could put the hobby in jeopardy. In the context of the thread that this thread was pulled from, the way some people behave on the air is one reason for such jeopardy.

902 is correct, there are things beyond the FCC that control who has access to what frequencies. Lack of use is definitely another thing that could put the ham bands in jeopardy. Which ties into my post about 900 MHz and above, those bands (as well as 222 MHz) are severely underutilized within the ham community. I think it's safe to say that HF, 50, 146, and 440 MHz are quite used through most of the US. The bands that sit idle and quiet are the ones that probably have commercial users wondering "Why can't we buy this spectrum that is void of use?"

Again, I didn't mean for my original comment to spawn off another discussion, I was merely responding to someone's comment in a different thread. But now that we're here, I guess it's a good topic to discuss :)
 

WB4CS

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Spectrum Monitoring Pilot Program | NTIA
If this program is implemented the NTIA will be able to monitor spectrum usage in real time in different areas around the country and they will find out real fast that the ham bands are vacant most of the time.
VHF and UHF, sure I'll agree to that. Even in the most heavily populated areas at any given time out of the available "channels" there's only a small handful that's being used. Meaning, say a city has 25 active 2 meter repeaters. At any given slice of time, probably between 0 to 5 may be active at once. Take another sample of that spectrum 30 minutes later, you may find 8 are active. Another 30 minutes later, only 6. Doubtful that all 25 would be active at once. Is this a fair sample of spectrum use? All 25 repeaters are active at some point, just not all at once. I skimmed the page you linked to, doesn't give much indication as to what spectrum would be monitored and what sample rates would be used.

HF on the other hand is hardly vacant most of the time.
 

902

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I've just recently had my eyes opened to a troubling point of view. A central Indiana ham who just happens to be an artifact collector is apparently under investigation by the FBI (FBI inventories local collection » News » Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN). Among the rumors being spread on various blogs is that this guy has used his ham radio expertise to provide classified information to our "enemies". But, what I found more eye-opening is that there is, I am told, a perception among some state and local governmental leaders that amateur radio operators are subversives who want to make contact with foreign governments for nefarious reasons. Hams want to talk to Europe and Asia, not to earn credit towards their DXCC, but so they can sell U.S. secrets to foreign governments? Really?
GOOD GRIEF! Ya know, our captains of industry do business with China on a regular basis and, as a consequence, China manufactures a substantial amount of technology and consumable goods for the American market. I keep telling folks that I never got the memo that China stopped being a Communist country. The same baroque argument can be said that those captains of industry are Communist sympathizers -- and it's not even a matter of handing over technology -- the stuff is made there! I commented elsewhere that I truly feel that a big percentage of every dollar we send there by buying their consumables will come back at us someday in the form of their military might. I hope I'm wrong, but I'd rather spend a little more to buy something that's stamped that it's made elsewhere.

Hams have long been the target of suspicion. Look at the Twilight Zone "The monsters are due on Maple Street," where Claude Akins is suspected of communicating with aliens (a Cold War metaphor for the enemy).

In reality, what does the average person know, anyway?
 

902

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Again, I didn't mean for my original comment to spawn off another discussion, I was merely responding to someone's comment in a different thread. But now that we're here, I guess it's a good topic to discuss :)
I wish more hams would talk about spectrum management. These days it's very important. I also think hams should support the various organizations' spectrum defense funds, and on occasion, politely remind our legislators that we vote.
 

12dbsinad

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50 MHz - 450 MHz: As more public safety and commercial users are moving to 700/800 MHz trunked systems (or other forms of communications like cellular) there's plenty of bandwidth available in the Part 90 spectrum already, very doubtful there's a need to take over the ham bands. Especially with Narrowband, that has opened up more available Part 90
While I agree that taking over of ham band (especially in the lower bands) is rather un-likely, I wouldn't say there is plenty of spectrum available in part 90. Even though there are wasteful users. Narrowbanding didn't really "open up" a lot of new spectrum. The FCC has been licensing narrowband users on "splinter" channels for years now, right beside wideband channels at 5 KHz. What it did do is clean this up. Additionally, without paired repeater frequencies on VHF, it makes things even worse. In my area, you can't find a clean repeater pair on VHF or UHF to save your life for public safety. Unless you have plenty of money, and 700/800 just doesn't cut it in this terrain.
 

nd5y

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Look at this. Mass ingest is possible with RF, too.
You could buy several of those, put them at precisely surveyed sites that were high enough to cover a city or county, add GPS receivers for precise time stamping, feed it to a computer that figures the exact location of everything the LS Observers received. Then you could have Unitrunker running on your local encrypted ProVoice or P25 system and whenever a radio affiliated or somebody keyed up it could show the radio ID on a map. You can't listen to them but you could see where they are.
 

902

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While I agree that taking over of ham band (especially in the lower bands) is rather un-likely, I wouldn't say there is plenty of spectrum available in part 90. Even though there are wasteful users. Narrowbanding didn't really "open up" a lot of new spectrum. The FCC has been licensing narrowband users on "splinter" channels for years now, right beside wideband channels at 5 KHz. What it did do is clean this up. Additionally, without paired repeater frequencies on VHF, it makes things even worse. In my area, you can't find a clean repeater pair on VHF or UHF to save your life for public safety. Unless you have plenty of money, and 700/800 just doesn't cut it in this terrain.
Well, narrowbanding did clear up some resources on UHF, although they were already consumed before. For VHF, there was still 12.5 kHz of signal in a 7.5 kHz channelspace. The adjacents still have to be considered. Now, with digital technologies and more singular-user technologies, like FB8 trunking on VHF, resources are even more scarce in many parts of the country. Don't forget that the ultimate plan is to someday go down to 6.25 kHz equivalency. That would mean that an FDMA signal would be as wide as NXDN to fit, or that a 12.5 kHz technology would need to be at least 2/TDMA.

Thing is that singular-use technologies usually make for inefficient use, too. For the longest time, the model of a good system was the highest power with the biggest antenna on the highest hill or building. It worked great out to the horizon, but people forgot that they were covering a 3 square mile town, and coverage there was usually deficient. Now, users have to consider many relatively low-to-the-ground sites using synchronous simulcast, particularly in mountainous land, because the resources for going high-site are no longer available. If there's anything cellular taught us in the last 25 years, it's frequency reuse. And I see it every day, agencies continue to want big power and areas of operation that go well beyond their jurisdictional boundary (plus a buffer area).

Where I do see things opening up are in business/industrial spectrum. Many users are going to blister-packed radios, but more are migrating to cellular rather than continue to maintain discrete radio systems. A lot of business frequencies are fallow in many areas. Maybe another contributing factor is the decline of local economy. Usually in those situations, public safety spectrum gets heavily loaded, but business/industrial, not so much.

nd5y said:
You could buy several of those, put them at precisely surveyed sites that were high enough to cover a city or county, add GPS receivers for precise time stamping, feed it to a computer that figures the exact location of everything the LS Observers received. Then you could have Unitrunker running on your local encrypted ProVoice or P25 system and whenever a radio affiliated or somebody keyed up it could show the radio ID on a map. You can't listen to them but you could see where they are.
Actually, there are some Doppler device manufacturers who make fixed locator systems like that and can network together to come up with a reasonably accurate location for interference. I don't think it's too popular, though. Those have been around for at least 20 years. I've even seen some articles where they've done mobile networking (in the old days). Today, with LTE, it's relatively easy to put together a mobile triangulation network.

Download the LS brochures on the lower right corner. One of their platforms is on a helicopter UAV.
 

TheSpaceMann

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There are many ways in which both new hams and old hams can do damage to amateur radio. It could be the guy who shows up at incidents and tells the public safety folks "I'm an amateur radio operator and I'm here to help". Or it could be the guy with the new, inexpensive handheld radio that either intentionally or unintentionally makes siren noises on the local repeater. Or, it could be the guys who camp out on the HF bands running big power into big antennas who have a rude and socially-unacceptable way of speaking. Or, it could be the uneducated or simply uncaring operators who make a shambles out of a DXpedition's attempts to make contacts. The list goes on and every one of these situations could be the death knell for amateur radio.

I've just recently had my eyes opened to a troubling point of view. A central Indiana ham who just happens to be an artifact collector is apparently under investigation by the FBI (FBI inventories local collection » News » Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN). Among the rumors being spread on various blogs is that this guy has used his ham radio expertise to provide classified information to our "enemies". But, what I found more eye-opening is that there is, I am told, a perception among some state and local governmental leaders that amateur radio operators are subversives who want to make contact with foreign governments for nefarious reasons. Hams want to talk to Europe and Asia, not to earn credit towards their DXCC, but so they can sell U.S. secrets to foreign governments? Really?
Funny how some people are so worried about licensed Ham radio operators doing this. But do they ever give a thought to all the unlicensed CB and Freeband operators who regularly communicate overseas?
 

DannyB1954

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Probably the biggest danger to not having more new hams is that the old ones are going silent key. Look at a photo of a Ham social event. You will see more grey and pink than blond and brunette.
 

LtDoc

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We haven't 'lost' anything that I know of in the 40 some years I've been a ham. There was a small chunk in the '220' band, but it was a small loss. We've gained several new 'bands', and the number of hams has very little to do with it.
I've heard this same 'B.S.' for what seems forever. Hasn't happened yet and I don't expect to ever see it...
- 'Doc
 

zz0468

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We haven't 'lost' anything that I know of in the 40 some years I've been a ham. There was a small chunk in the '220' band, but it was a small loss. We've gained several new 'bands', and the number of hams has very little to do with it.
I've heard this same 'B.S.' for what seems forever. Hasn't happened yet and I don't expect to ever see it...
- 'Doc
What worked 40 years ago is less likely to work in the near future. What's different is lots of new technology pushing the demand for more spectrum. This is real, not just hot air.

One thing that will immediately effect amateur radio is what we need to do to continue to justify retaining our spectrum. The competition for our spectrum is going to the public with the promise of faster, better, cheaper, more, and lots of $$$ to be made. Compared to our public service activities, and modest contributions to the state of the art, it's not a fair fight.

What ham radio needs to do is work smarter, not just get more hams licensed. We need to be able to quantify how many kids are going from ham radio as a hobby, to advanced educations in the sciences. We need to sell the idea that ham radio is still relevant and the value of the spectrum it occupies is as great, or greater, a public benefit, than any competing commercial project would be.

Right now, the FCC, and the entire technology sector is concentrating on faster data speeds for wireless networks. That means spectrum. With billions (trillions?)of dollars at stake, we need to be smarter than we have been to keep our splinters of bandwidth, let alone gain any more.

Ham radio is a really neat and unique public resource, and we're doing a piss poor job of selling it to the public.
 
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