October 1995

The continuing saga of Spectrum Management and Frequency Coordination has been ripe with activity during the 3rd quarter of 1995. I want to share with you some of what is going on and a little about today’s challenges.

The ARRL sponsored National Coordinators Meeting is scheduled for October 7th in St. Charles, MO, and will be attended by representatives of TASMA, SCRRBA, and the 220SMA. The importance of this meeting has become even more apparent during the last few months as the FCC redirects its efforts towards PCS and spectrum auctions. Between the FCC’s commercial VHF and UHF "refarming" proposals that would create 6 kHz channel spacing, and their "request" that the commercial, industrial, and public service frequency coordinators establish a maximum of three or four points of licensing interface, the requirement that the Amateur community consolidate its forces and be prepared to provide and support a single strong voice has become increasingly clear. Although the October meeting is intended to only deal with the issue of "Repeater Coordination", I believe it portends the future of our dealings with the FCC. The SPOC (Single Point of Contact) proposal is now clearly the most important issue to be discussed. Ralph Haller is scheduled as an opening speaker and will no doubt provide significant insight into how we will need to deal with the FCC of the future. The concept of repeater licensing based upon establishment of a coordination continues to be a significant issue and has resulted in much controversy at local Amateur coordination meetings. (See last quarter’s newsletter for a list of the other subjects to be considered.) I will provide a report of the National meeting at our October General Meeting.

I am very pleased to announce that we have met with the President and key members of the 220FCC organization and a working relationship has been established that should be for the benefit of 220 MHz in Southern California. With the support and assistance of Alan Sanders (FB Secretary) and Frank Pettinato (FB member), I met with 220 Frequency Coordinating Committee President Lewis De Payne. After an extensive discussion, we agreed that the primary goals of the two groups are consistent with each other, and that operation of opposing coordination organizations is not in the best interest of Amateur Radio. The 220FCC President indicated that their key concerns were fair and equitable handling of coordination requests, and full public disclosure of coordination actions. We assured him that the 220SMA leadership shares those same concerns and that we are acting to insure that they are appropriately addressed. Since the 220FCC had either "grandfathered" or agreed with every coordination issued by the 220SMA, except in two instances, it was agreed that the 220FCC would cease to represent itself as a coordinating group, but instead would serve as a "Watch Dog" organization helping Amateurs with problem coordinations. Ground rules for resolving any existing coordination conflicts were established. I want to thank Gabriel Goldman of the LA Council of Radio Clubs for his assistance in facilitating this meeting, and I look forward to working with the 220FCC in the future.

Effective spectrum utilization is an ongoing concern throughout Amateur Radio. Many efforts have been made in recent years to insure that Amateur Radio is actively pursuing more and more efficient use of the spectrum available to us. Those of you who are regular readers of this newsletter, and those who have attended some of my public presentations, have heard me discuss the importance of our efforts in these areas. Broadband digital communications was part of the emphasis for seeking the 219-220 MHz allocation. Another spectral efficient technology that we have seen develop in the commercial arena is Spread Spectrum(SS). As I have reported previously, there have been Amateur SS experiments being conducted on 220 MHz in Southern California for the last three years under a Special Temporary Authority. During September I attended two meetings on this subject, a special public meeting at the 1995 SWD Convention in Long Beach held by the ARRL ad-hoc SS Committee, and a joint ARRL Future Systems Committee and SS Committee meeting held in Dallas in conjunction with the ARRL Digital Communications Conference. The meetings were to discuss proposed rules changes which would affect SS operation on the VHF and UHF bands. I have indicated that the 220SMA would support continued operations under the STA and the portions of the proposal dealing with a less restrictive operating environment, however rule making should be delayed until a set of formal interoperability tests has been defined and performed. SCRRBA has provided a similar input.

I believe that 220 SMA communications with its membership has improved this year but there are still areas that require additional effort. Prompt and timely publication of Association information like the Band Plan, Coordinated Repeater List, General Meeting Minutes, and Frequency Board Actions continues to be a high priority. Jug’s minutes may require a little fine tuning, but they improve with each issue. Frequency Board availability and participation at General Meetings is also important. A combination of unavoidable situations (illness and a broken water line) resulted in only two of the FB members being in attendance at the July meeting. Unfortunately, not everyone’s questions could be answered immediately, but I have received assurance that every issue is being properly handled. If you need information or assistance and it doesn’t seem to happen as fast as you would like, please remember that we are all volunteers working to make this a better hobby. Maybe you can volunteer and help fix some of the areas that need work. In closing, I would like to give a special thanks to Walt Diem for preparing the By-laws changes establishing a 219 MHz Coordination Board (to be considered at this meeting).

Jim Fortney K6IYK@K6IYK P.O. Box 3419, Camarillo, CA 93011-3419