Saturday, April 23, 2011
440 MHz Frequencies in Jeopardy??
FCC ISSUES SPLIT DECISION ON CHALLENGES TO RECON ROBOTICS USING 70 CM HAM BAND
Call this one a draw so far on for ham radio. This as the FCC has given radio amateurs a partial victory and a partial defeat in response to a challenge by members of the Amateur Radio Service and its national society. This, to an FCC waiver permitting ReconRobotics, Inc. to domestically operate its surveillance robot called the Recon Scout in the shared 70 centimeter amateur band. We have more in this report:
The FCC has denied several requests from the ham radio community, including an ARRL Petition for Reconsideration, of a rules waiver that permits the certification and licensing of the Recon Scout. This, to operate in the 430 to 448 MHz band.
In an Order on Reconsideration released on April 15, the FCC said that it found objections to use of 430 to 448 MHz as being unfounded. This based on the nature of the device, the way in which it must be sold and deployed, and that no other spectrum is as suitable for its operation.
In relation to the latter, the regulatory agency noted that operation of the Recon Scout in the 900 MHz band or high would require increased transmit power while still not guaranteeing the same quality of surveillance as afforded by operation on 70 centimeters. It also noted that the Recon Scout waiver states that these devices may not interfere with federal or non-federal stations operating from 420 to 450 MHz and those agencies using the Recon Scout must accept any interference received from all other spectrum users. In other words, as applied to ham radio operations, its users could not complain to the FCC if it received interference from any Amateur Service operations, but hams could complain if they were interfered with by operation of a Recon Scout.
On the plus side, the FCC did grant a request from the ARRL for changes in the labeling and instruction manual requirements of the Recon Scout. This, to insure that users of the device are aware of its limitations in regard to interference to its operation. As a result, Recon Scout transmitters delivered after April 15th are required to carry a warning on its product label and in its instruction manual basically stating that the Recon Scout must accept any interference received from federal or non-federal stations, including interference that may cause undesired operation.
The FCC Order also acknowledged that the ARRL was correct in arguing that the waiver was insufficient in that it did not waive applicable provisions of Section 2.106 of the Commission’s Rules, which contains the Table of Allocations of frequency bands to the various radio services. The Commission’s solution was to retroactively waive the Table of Allocations to the extent necessary to permit distribution and use of the Recon Scout.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Bruce Tennant, K6PZW in Los Angeles
For those not aware, ReconRobotics bills itself as a world leader in tactical robotic systems. It claims that more than 1,200 of the company’s robots have been deployed world-wide by the U.S. military and international friendly forces, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, bomb squads and fire rescue teams. More about the company is on-line at www.reconrobotics.com. (FCC)
HOW TO READ PROPAGATION NUMBERS
The A index [ LOW is GOOD ]
- 1 to 6 is BEST
- 7 to 9 is OK
- 11 or more is BAD
Represents the overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Ap" if averaged from the Kp-Index) (an average of the eight 3-hour K-Indices) ('A' referring to amplitude) over a given 24 hour period, ranging (linearly) typically from 1-100 but theoretically up to 400.
A lower A-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Ap-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
SFI index [ HIGH is GOOD ]
- 70 NOT GOOD
- 80 GOOD
- 90 BETTER
- 100+ BEST
The measure of total radio emissions from the sun at 10.7cm (2800 MHz), on a scale of 60 (no sunspots) to 300, generally corresponding to the sunspot level, but being too low in energy to cause ionization, not related to the ionization level of the Ionosphere.
Higher Solar Flux generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; Solar Flux rarely affects the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
K index [ LOW is GOOD ]
- 0 or 1 is BEST
- 2 is OK
- 3 or more is BAD
- 5 is VERY VERY BAD
The overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Kp" if averaged over the planet) over the past 3 hours, measured by 13 magnetometers between 46 & 63 degrees of latitude, and ranging quasi-logarithmically from 0-9. Designed to detect solar particle radiation by its magnetic effect. A higher K-index generally means worse HF conditions.
A lower K-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Kp-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
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