Tuesday, September 10, 2019

ARRL Seeks New Limits on HF Digital Communications

After an unsuccessful attempt to find common ground among proponents and opponents of more liberalized rules for automatically controlled digital stations (ACDS) on the HF ham bands, the ARRL board of directors instructed its Washington Counsel to request specific rule changes from the FCC. According to the ARRL Letter, these would include:
    - Removing the current 300-baud rate limitation, subject to certain conditions, but limit the bandwidth of all digital mode signals below 29 MHz to 2.8 kHz, the approximate bandwidth of an SSB voice signal;
    - Permitting ACDS operation only in designated subbands; and requiring all digital-mode signals with bandwidths greater than 500 Hz to operate in these subbands as well; and
    - Making clear that the ARRL favors the continued prohibition against encrypting amateur signals "for the purpose of obscuring their meaning."

In a related action, ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, reactivated the board's dorman HF Band Planning Committee in order "to more effectively address HF digital technology issues." The six-member committee is chaired by ARRL First Vice President Greg Widins, K0GW.