Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Could Your Car's Radar Displace a Ham Band?

Vehicular radar systems that help with parking and collision prevention are becoming more and more common, increasing the need for spectrum on which to operate. The FCC, which already has allocated 76-77 GHz to the radar systems, is now looking at the entire 76-81 GHz band, which is currently a shared-use ham band, with amateur radio having a primary allocation at 77.5-78 GHz. 

The FCC action is in response to a petition for rulemaking by Robert Bosch LLC. Bosch said in its filing that it had met several times with ARRL technical staff and, according to the ARRL Letter, "is unconvinced … that there is any 'significant incompatibility' " between current amateur operations on the band and its short-range radar system. 

The FCC, however, notes that it had previously suspended amateur operation at 76-77 GHz to prevent interference with radar systems and wants to be sure that any rules affecting amateur use of the full band are applied "in a comprehensive and consistent manner." It is looking for input on possible alternative spectrum in the same frequency ranges for amateur use. The proceeding is ET Docket 15-26.