Rotten Radio

I recently corresponded with the ARRL regulatory department head, Dan Henderson, regarding a new IARU HF "voluntary" band plan. He asked that I share my concerns with Dave Sumner, who also failed to explain how it would help amateur radio. 

I appreciate the hard work the League has been doing to protect our hobby, especially the new 500 kHz band and CW practice transmissions. However, evidence continues to surface that the league may be responsible for the 2700 Hz limit in the IARU band plan as part of a sneaky campaign for eventual enforcement of a similar US bandwidth rule.

President Harrison's words on this subject to Gary, W7EK, were, "...On behalf of the ARRL, I can assure you that there are no plans to propose incorporating any IARU band plan into the FCC rules...." ARRL history with RM 9259, however, reveals an opposite intent: "...The ARRL also request we [FCC] declare that any amateur radio station control operator who selects a transmitting frequency not in harmony with those voluntary band plans is not operating in accordance with good amateur practiceة." As we all know, "good amateur practice" is the current FCC law.

This duplicity raises the question whether ARRL "no longer adequately represents the interests" of US hams, a sin punishable by termination of the League's membership in IARU (Article II, paragraph 11C, IARU constitution).

It gets more rotten. If successful, this ARRL request will outlaw AM, FM and any future wideband data below 28 MHz. AM operators, which are the epicenters of technical on-air discussions, now are suddenly finding their considerable equipment investment in jeopardy. What the League seeks would also stop work on data modes wider than 2700 cycles, which often do not increase crowding, as the increased bandwidth is offset by proportionately less occupancy time. It would kill, for example, wide band data emergency communications that reduce battery drain and save first responders' time. A stated ARRL objective, to entice internet-savvy youth into the hobby, would be enhanced by development of TCP/IP over HF. The bandwidth for this robust content, such as GIF images; would likewise be prohibited. In addition, the crowding-control benefits of the band plan appear largely transitory. As new 2700 cycle compliant equipment is sold to the coming cohort of no-code licensees, and older equipment wears out, the band plan's objective would naturally come to pass.

Once again, the question is raised whether ARRL is acting "contrary to the interests of amateur radio" (Article II section 11B), another sin punishable by termination.

It may be time to apply the Wouff Hong, lest T.O.M. spin in his grave.