Tag Archives: FCC

FCC: Expanded use of marine HF frequencies on land

Many thanks to an SWLing Post contributor who shares a link to the following public notice from the FCC:

Wireless telecommunications bureau seeks comment on request by Shipcom, LLC, and Global HF net, LLC, to allow use of high seas marine frequencies by first responders and federal agencies during disasters

Section 80.123 of the Commission’s rules permits very high frequency public coast stations to provide service to units on land under certain conditions, but does not allow high frequency (HF) public coast stations to provide such service. In 2010, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Mobility Division (Division) granted Shipcom, LLC (Shipcom), a waiver of section 80.123 to permit the use of HF public coast frequencies by first responders during catastrophic situations when normal communications systems are not available. The Division concluded that this limited use of HF maritime spectrum would enhance public safety during catastrophes. The waiver permits service to land-based (base and mobile) Public Safety stations on HF frequencies in the event of a natural or man-made disaster that renders the normal communications infrastructure inoperable, and monthly testing/training to familiarize personnel with how to operate the equipment and make sure it is operable.

Click here to download the full FCC Public notice (PDF).

FCC: A detailed application for a new 10KW DRM transmitter

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ed, who writes:

Thomas, did you see this? It’s a detailed application to the FCC for the construction of a 10KW shortwave transmitter for DRM on 9.65 MHz and 15.45 MHz.

Click here to download the application (PDF).

Thanks, Ed! I know nothing about Turms Tech other than on their FCC application, they list their business is “broadcast and data.”

Another SWLing Post reader forwarded the following from this article in Radio Mag Online:

“Of interest in the U.S. is the recent application of Turms Tech LLC to broadcast DRM from New Jersey toward Europe and the Middle East. Specifically, they plan on using the Armstrong tower, just west and north of New York City, with yagi-type antennas, generating an ERP of 10 kW on 9.65 and 15.45 MHz.”

The Radio Mag article is worth reading in full as it includes a number of DRM news items.

Additionally, if you’re interesting in following DRM news, check out the excellent DRMNA blog.

Post readers: anyone have more information about this new DRM broadcast site?  Please comment!

FCC to legalize CB DXing and boost FRS power

(Source: Southgate ARC)

FCC to modernize Part 95 Regs – GMRS, FRS, CB

The FCC is to legalize 27 MHz CB DXing and boost power of license exempt UHF FM Family Radio Service (equivalent of UK PMR 446)

Under its new Chair Ajit Pai, the FCC is seeking to modernize radio regulations and is scrapping pointless rules like the 250 km (155.3 mile) restriction on Citizen Band Radio contacts.

As yet there is no word on the FCC taking action on the archaic Part 97 amateur radio regulations. Over 40 years ago the FCC considered these regulations were in need of a major overhaul and in 1976 introduced the “Regulation by Bandwidth” Docket 20777. The FCC eventually abandoned the modernization attempt after a a long campaign against it waged by the ARRL.

There was a desire by some radio amateurs in the late 1970’s to restrict the bandwidth of digital data transmissions but any form of “Regulation by Bandwidth” was considered anathema. This resulted in the introduction in 1980 of a Symbol Rate restriction on digital transmissions (avoiding the dreaded words “Bandwidth Restriction”). This has crippled amateur radio data communications ever since, preventing amateurs using modern modes.

It may well be that before too long the FCC will make another attempt at reforming Part 97.

Regarding the Part 95 changes the ARRL says:

In a lengthy Report and Order (R&O) in a proceeding (WT Docket No. 10-119) dating back 7 years, the FCC has announced rule changes affecting the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), the Family Radio Service (FRS), the Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS or “CB”), as well as other applications that fall under the FCC’s Part 95 Personal Radio Services (PRS) rules and regulations. Part 95 devices typically are low-power units that communicate over shared spectrum and, with some exceptions, do not require an individual user license from the FCC. As the R&O explains, common examples of PRS devices include “walkie-talkies;” radio-control cars, boats, and planes; hearing assistance devices; CB radios; medical implant devices; and Personal Locator Beacons.

“This draft Report and Order completes a thorough review of the PRS rules in order to modernize them, remove outdated requirements, and reorganize them to make it easier to find information,” the FCC said in a summary attached to the R&O. “As a result of this effort, the rules will become consistent, clear, and concise.”

GMRS and FRS devices are used for personal communication over several miles; compact FRS handhelds, often sold in pairs, are widely available. While GMRS and FRS share spectrum, GMRS provides for greater communications range and requires an FCC license; FRS does not.

“The rules will increase the number of communications channels for both GMRS and FRS, expand digital capabilities to GMRS (currently allowed for FRS), and increase the power/range for certain FRS channels to meet consumer demands for longer range communications (while maintaining higher power capabilities for licensed GMRS),” the FCC explained.

The amended rules eventually will eliminate combination FRS/GMRS radios for the most part, but allow up to 2 W PEP output for FRS transceivers.

Read the full ARRL story at
http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-personal-radio-service-revisions-will-affect-gmrs-frs-cb-other-part-95-devices

FCC Report and Order
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-344617A1.pdf

The irony here is that CB DXing (regardless of power) has been in wide practice since the begging of the Citizen’s Band service! I suppose I never realized (at legal power) DXing was illegal. 🙂

FCC Approves MF/LF Ham Radio Bands

(Source: CQ Newsroom & FCC)

Hams in the U.S. will soon have two new bands on which to operate, experiment and contribute to the collective knowledge of “the radio art.” In a Report and Order issued on March 30, the FCC approved creation of secondary amateur allocations at 135.7-137.8 kHz (2200 meters) and 472-479 kHz (630 meters), the first amateur bands with wavelengths above 200 meters since the dawn of radio regulation.

The new bands come with lots of strings attached, since they will be shared with “PLC” systems used by electric utilities to control the nation’s power grid. Hams will be limited to fixed station operation, antennas no higher than 60 meters (196 feet) above ground and radiated power limits of 1 watt effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) on 2200 meters and 5 watts EIRP on 630 meters (1 watt in some parts of Alaska). Plus, operation on these bands will not be allowed within one kilometer of electric transmission lines using PLC and advance notice of all planned operation to the PLC network coordinator will be required.[…]

Continue reading at the CQ Newsroom.

Click here to download the full Report and Order from the FCC (PDF).

FCC Commissioner pushing for aggressive pirate radio enforcement

Many thanks to an SWLing Post contributor who shares this FCC PDF document: Remarks of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly Before the 2017 Hispanic Radio Conference, Fort Lauderdale, Florida March 28, 2017.

Note O’Rielly’s remarks regarding pirate radio enforcement in the south Florida radio market:

“Many of you may have heard me speak before about pirate radio, a huge problem here in South Florida and one that has a disproportionate impact on the Hispanic radio community. The failure to properly address it highlights a deficiency in the Commission’s enforcement tools and undermines our overall credibility. Today, these squatters are infecting the radio band at the expense of listeners of legitimate radio stations, causing great harm to emergency preparedness within covered areas and undercutting the financial stability of licensed radio stations, your stations.

To that point, I could use your assistance in batting down arguments that pirate radio stations are somehow training grounds for those seeking to enter the field or that these “stations” bring a unique service to primarily minority communities, and therefore should be left alone. Few people actually have your background, experience, and history of serving these important communities, so your voice and words would be a welcome rejoinder to these baseless claims.

On my part, just this morning, I spent some time with the FCC’s Miami Field Office to ring the figurative fire alarm on overall efforts to combat pirate radio stations. Quite frankly, I sought answers on why these stations weren’t already eradicated. In particular, I discussed their recent enforcement actions in this market, what obstacles they face in expediting cases, and what additional authority may be of assistance. I also raised the issue of whether the ability to seize pirate equipment found in common areas could aid their efforts. In addition, we discussed whether our current fines should be increased, and if imposing penalties on those that directly and intentionally facilitate pirate stations could be helpful. It was a very positive meeting, and I walked away with renewed belief that the Miami Team was up to the task. But, they are also on notice that I expect to see this situation addressed quickly and sufficiently.”

Click here to read Commissioner O’Reilly’s full remarks (PDF).

In addition, this reader notes a new job posting with the FCC for an enforcement officer:

https://fcc.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/466088000/