Friday, June 30, 2017

Hams Set to Regain Access to Full 4-mm Band, But at Reduced Power

The FCC is scheduled to vote at its July 13 meeting on a draft Report and Order that would restore amateurs' access to the full 76-81 GHz (4-mm) band, but at reduced power levels, in order to allow sharing the band with vehicular radars. According to the ARRL, amateur access to the 76-77 GHz portion of the band has been suspended for nearly 20 years. This proceeding would restore full band access, but on a secondary basis and with a maximum power level of 316 watts effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP).

The 76-81 GHz band was adopted for vehicular radar systems worldwide at the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference. The FCC feels that the nature of amateur operations on the band – mostly experimental, with stations located temporarily on mountaintops using antennas mounted as high as possible – will minimize conflicts with automotive radars, which tend to be mounted low on vehicles and point downward. The proposal was still subject to changes prior to the July vote.