Data Waiver issued By FCC for 60 days

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by N5PZJ, Sep 27, 2022.

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  1. N5PZJ

    N5PZJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Daily Digest

    Federal Communications Commission
    45 L Street NE
    Washington, DC 20554

    Vol. 41 No. 186

    News media information 202 / 418-0500
    ASL Video Call: 1-844-432-2275

    September 27, 2022

    Federal Communications Commission DA 22-1011

    Before the
    WASHINGTON, D.C. 20554

    In the Matter of


    Emergency Request for a Temporary Waiver of Section 97.307(f) of the Commission’s Rules


    Adopted: September 27, 2022 Released: September 27, 2022

    By the Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau:

    1. Introduction. We have before us a request filed by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) for a temporary 60-day waiver to permit amateur data transmissions at a higher symbol rate than currently is permitted by section 97.307(f) of the Commission’s rules, in order to facilitate hurricane relief communications within the United States and its territories. E-mail from David Siddall, Counsel to ARRL, to Thomas Derenge, Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and Roger Noel, Chief, Mobility Division, FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (September 25, 2022 21:32 EDT) (Waiver Request); see 47 CFR § 97.307(f).
    For the reasons set forth below, we grant the waiver request.
    2. Background. Section 97.307(f) limits the symbol rate (also known as the baud rate)—the rate at which the carrier waveform amplitude, frequency, and/or phase is varied to transmit information Amendment of Part 97 of the Commission’s Amateur Radio Service Rules to Permit Greater Flexibility in Data Communications, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 31 FCC Rcd 8485, 8485, para. 1 (2016) (Baud Rate NPRM).
    —for high frequency (HF) amateur radioteletype (RTTY)/data transmissions as follows to 300 bauds for frequencies below 28 MHz (except the 60 meter band), and 1200 bauds in the 10 meter (28-29.7 MHz) band. 47 C.F.R. § 97.307(f)(3), (4). In the 60 meter (5.3305-5.4064 MHz) band, there is no maximum symbol rate, but bandwidth is limited to 2.8 kilohertz for data and 60 hertz for RTTY. See id. § 97.307(f)(14).
    The digital code used to encode the signal being transmitted must be one of the codes specified in section 97.309(a) of the Commission’s rules, but an amateur station transmitting a RTTY or data emission using one of the specified digital codes may use any technique whose technical characteristics have been publicly documented, such as CLOVER, G-TOR, or PACTOR. Id. §§ 97.307(f)(3), (4), 97.309(a)(4). CLOVER, G-TOR, and PACTOR are different techniques used to increase the efficiency of digital communications. Baud Rate NPRM, 31 FCC Rcd at 8486, n.18.

    3. ARRL seeks this waiver for those licensed radio amateurs who are directly involved with Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) and other communication support groups working with Federal, state and local emergency management officials. See Waiver Request.
    ARRL requests a 60-day waiver, subject to extension. ARRL states that Section 97.307(f) of the Commission’s Rules prevents the use of certain protocols capable of higher data rate emissions in the High Frequency (HF) bands that many Amateur stations active in emergency communications preparedness are capable of using. ARRL also points out that the past FCC temporary waivers have allowed such protocols in similar events including Hurricanes Maria, Dorian, Laura, and Ida, Typhoon relief communications in Hawaii, and wildfires in the western areas of the United States.
    4. ARRL’s request also states that trained amateur radio operators are working with emergency management officials and relief organizations to assist with disaster relief communications in anticipation of the arrival on the Gulf Coast of Hurricane Ian. ARRL states that equipment they plan to use exceeds the 300 baud symbol limit and that the higher data rates are critical in sending relief communications. See Waiver Request.
    ARRL’s request states these stations must be able to communicate with similar stations in the United States, possibly with Caribbean-based stations that are directly involved with hurricane relief efforts, and also with Federal stations on the five channels in the 5 MHz band involved with the SHARES network and other interoperability partners on those frequencies. ARRL proposes to limit the use of the higher-speed emissions to hurricane-related messages transmitted by radio amateurs in the United States and its territories that are directly involved with the relief efforts.
    5. Discussion. To obtain a waiver of the Commission's rules, a petitioner must demonstrate either that (i) the underlying purpose of the rule(s) would not be served or would be frustrated by application to the present case, and that a grant of the waiver would be in the public interest; or (ii) in view of unique or unusual factual circumstances of the instant case, application of the rule(s) would be inequitable, unduly burdensome, or contrary to the public interest, or the applicant has no reasonable alternative. 47 CFR §§ 1.925(b)(3).
    We conclude that ARRL’s request should be granted.
    6. ARRL is preparing to assist areas impacted by Hurricane Ian to conduct disaster relief communications. See Waiver Request.
    While certain radio modems with higher data capabilities are downward-compatible with slower speed versions of modems operating under similar protocols, ARRL asserts that the higher data rates offered by the newer protocols are critical to sending hurricane relief communications. See id.

    7. We conclude that granting the requested waiver is in the public interest. Puerto Rico was recently hit by Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Ian is predicted to cause significant damage, including disruption to electricity and communications services. Thus, to accommodate amateur radio operators assisting in the recovery efforts, we grant the ARRL’s waiver request for the period of 60 days from the date of this Order to operate in any parts of the United States and it territories impacted by hurricanes. The waiver is limited to amateur radio operators in the United States and its territories using publicly documented data protocols that are compatible with FCC rules, with the exception of the data rate limit waived here, for those directly involved with HF hurricane relief communications.
    8. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that pursuant to section 4(i) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and section 1.925 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR § 1.925, the Emergency Request for a Temporary Waiver of Section 97.307(f) of the Commission’s Rules filed by the American Radio Relay League on September 25, 2022, IS GRANTED as set forth above.
    9. This action is taken under delegated authority pursuant to sections 0.131 and 0.331 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR §§ 0.131, 0.331.

    Thomas Derenge
    Deputy Chief, Mobility Division
    Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2022
    W7XLR, M1WML, KM6TVJ and 7 others like this.
  2. KM6TVJ

    KM6TVJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good work ARRL for pushing this, and good work FCC for turning this around so quickly!
    To be honest, this particular regulation has always confused me. Why should a ham operator's data speed matter to anyone? What good does this regulation do?
    WM1N, KC5DOV, W7XLR and 9 others like this.
  3. K0IDT

    K0IDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    You must be a noob where this is concerned. First the "speed limit" serves no useful purpose in today's world and definitely needs to go. Second the ARRL-FCC waiver dance happens every hurricane season and there is no readily available evidence that the waiver was put to use during past events.

    You might want to delve into the history of the ARRL and the baud rate elimination. Hint: it isn't what you think or what the ARRL would have you believe.
    Start here for a quick summary of ARRL's "push" to eliminate the baud rate and the influence behind it.

    p.s. Hi Brennan :)
    WM1N, KC5DOV, N1RBD and 11 others like this.
  4. KO4PZA

    KO4PZA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Is it another case of ARRL being useless on the lobbying front?
    At this point (from my limited knowledge) I tend to see the ARRL like I see the NRA: Good for training and information, and useful in some cases, but utterly useless when it comes to protecting rights, and lobbying.
    W5WEO, WM1N, W7XLR and 7 others like this.
  5. KO6KL

    KO6KL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    lets keep pushing for limits on rates to be lifted and bandwidth to be the measure used.
    ARRL should be lobbying for one of its members to be on the FCC board.
    AT LEAST TO FILL THE UNFILLED SEATS on the board between presidents.
    WM1N, W7XLR, M1WML and 3 others like this.
  6. K0IDT

    K0IDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you really want to raise the specter of regulation by bandwidth? Good luck with that and standby for the beating.
    K0UO, M1WML and AC0OB like this.
  7. K0IDT

    K0IDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Check out the entire thread I linked to. It's much worse than useless lobbying.
    M1WML, K4MID and K9UR like this.
  8. W4JDY

    W4JDY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Speed matters as it directly affects the bandwidth of the transmission depending on the communications mode you use.

    Make sure your transmissions are clean at the higher speeds!
    K0UO, WA5VGO, M1WML and 1 other person like this.
  9. K9CTB

    K9CTB Ham Member QRZ Page

    ARRL is good at promoting their own causes, not that there's anything wrong with that .... but "ARES" isn't the only amateur radio group associated with "federal, state and local emergency officials". Some of these assist groups already enjoy being able to use PACTOR IV Winlink. If one wants to be relevant in Emergency Communications, look into entities such as RACES, SHARES, MARS, or Civil Air Patrol .... these folks have specific requirements beyond a Baofeng and a green vest, but are well worth the required effort. Eventually *IMHO*, FCC will change the "symbol rate" and "bandwidth" rules, but till then, this STA is a great help for at least a few ECOM players.
    M1WML and N3RYB like this.
  10. KO4PZA

    KO4PZA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah, I'll check it out, thanks.
    M1WML likes this.
  11. NX1V

    NX1V Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think "back in the day" it was to precent commercial use but that rate is soooo slow, this should be permanent.
    M1WML and AC0GT like this.
  12. N7KO

    N7KO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I like the mode that uses very little band width and will always be of use, but one draw back, it takes someone that is dedicated, not a quitter, and likes using their brain. What mode is that, I think you know.

    By the way Winlink works very well for emergency information sent and received where their may be a list of some sort that need to be precise , complete and fast.

    A Radiogram is great, but takes longer to send and will not have the format that is required for hospital information for example.

    If we are concerned about band width, which most of us are I believe FT8 and other digital modes eat up a lot of band width unnecessarily due to to much power being used causing bleed over.

    I am old fashioned I suppose, seems there is a blurred line between a Ham radio Op and a computer Geek in some cases, setting on the fence so do speak, and can not decide if they want to be a Radio Ham or a computer Geek, Which is ok with me as long as it does not get out of hand where we wake up one day and wonder where all of the Ham's have gone.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2022
    M1WML likes this.
  13. K1DOK

    K1DOK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, well, Civil Air Patrol is hobbled by Air Force and NTIA requirements. But that’s for another day. Very frustrating as an operator.
    M1WML, WA4BAM, KI4ZUQ and 1 other person like this.
  14. N5AF

    N5AF Ham Member QRZ Page


    An FT8 signal consumes 50Hz of bandwidth. There are often hundreds of FT8 signals crammed into the "bandwidth" occupied by a single phone QSO. Seems like a very efficient use of spectrum to me.

    As for "too much power" and "bleed over", a severely over-driven FT signal usually cannot be decoded. I find those operators tend to transmit a few cycles and give up. (Because no one can answer them...)

    We really should be looking at banning the use of microphones. They eat up a lot of bandwidth unnecessarily. ;)
    N0JMP, N5EVV, N3RYB and 7 others like this.
  15. KQ1V

    KQ1V Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Pull the pin, and toss the grenade.

    "Who cares how much bandwidth FT8 consumes, it is not even a real QSO or ham radio!"

    Happy Friday gang!
    WM1N, N6CXD, KC5DOV and 6 others like this.

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