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New Bands! FCC Issues Amateur Radio Service Rules for 630 Meters and 2,200 Meters
"It's a big win for the Amateur community and the ARRL," ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, said. "We are excited by the FCC's action to authorize Amateur Radio access for the first time on the MF and LF spectrum."
The FCC said the Amateur Radio service rules it has adopted for 630 meters and 2,200 meters allow "for co-existence with Power Line Carrier (PLC) systems that use these bands." Utilities have opposed Amateur Radio use of the MF and LF spectrum, fearing interference to unlicensed Part 15 PLC systems used to manage the power grid.
Amateurs operating on 472-479 kHz would be permitted a maximum equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) of 5 W, except in parts of Alaska within 800 kilometers (approximately 496 miles) of Russia, where the maximum would be 1 W EIRP. Amateurs operating in the 135.7-137.8 kHz band could run up to 1 W EIRP.
The FCC is requiring a 1-kilometer separation distance between radio amateurs using the two new bands and electric power transmission lines with PLC systems on those bands. Amateur Radio operators will have to notify UTC of station location prior to commencing operations.
The FCC also placed a 60-meter (approximately 197 feet) above-ground-level (AGL) height limit on transmitting antennas used on 630 meters and 2,200 meters. The bands would be available to General class and higher licensees, and permissible modes would include CW, RTTY, data, phone, and image. Automatically controlled stations would be permitted to operate in the bands. More details soon, on the ARRL website.
The fact that the new rules contain a new information-collection requirement -- notification of operation to the UTC -- makes it difficult to guess at an effective date. The FCC R&O says the Office of Management and Budget (under the Paperwork Reduction Act) must first approve the information-collection requirements (in §97.303[g]). Then, the revised Part 97 rules sections will become effective after the FCC publishes a notice in The Federal Register "announcing such approval and the relevant effective date."
"We needed to make some changes in our Northern California locations," HRO National Sales Manager Steve Gilmore, W4SHG, said in a statement. "Some of the costs associated with operating in the Sunnyvale location have absolutely skyrocketed, and the traffic and parking availability in our current Sunnyvale location has become seriously problematic." Employees in the Sunnyvale store were offered positions in the Oakland shop, about 1 hour away to the north along San Francisco Bay.
Store manager Jon Kelley, K6WV, told The Mercury News that the region's rising minimum wage was also a factor. He said the Oakland shop had become a gathering place for regular customers from the area. One of those regulars, Gregg Lane, KF6FNA, president of the Santa Clara County Amateur Radio Association, told the newspaper, "This is depressing. It's like the end of an era. It's like your best friend moving away."
For the closing, another regular, Steve Stearns, K6OIK, organized a flash mob -- his first -- and a final celebration by local hams of the store and its staff. "More than 60 hams descended on HRO Sunnyvale on its last day of business for cake and champagne," Stearns said. "It was a surprise party for the staff and customers alike."
Shuttering the Sunnyvale store leaves HRO with 13 retail outlets around the US. Last year, HRO took over the former Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) store in Milwaukee after AES went out of business.
History: A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL
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