Tuesday, April 13, 2021

3, 2, 1, Oops…

Display of missiles at the White Sands Missile
Range in New Mexico. (US Army photo)

The ARRL, the FCC and the Department of Defense are working together to prevent potential interference issues when a new missile control system comes online this summer at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. 

The DoD spectrum coordinator for the region detected signals in the 420-430 MHz range that could potentially cause interference to the new system (amateur radio is a secondary use on the 70-centimeter band). The FCC asked the ARRL to help identify the signal sources, according to the ARRL Letter. It turns out that the transmissions are from a network of RF control links for a linked repeater system. 

"With the support of the FCC, the owners … are being asked to re-coordinate the link frequency to a new one above 430 MHz," said ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, who noted that the repeater frequency coordinator for New Mexico is working closely with the effort. Henderson also said the FCC has given the link owners until May 31 to QSY all 32 control links in the designated proximity to White Sands. Those not moved to new frequencies by the end of May, he noted, will need to be shut down or "be subject to action by the FCC."