Let me carry this discussion to the ultimate extreme. As Joe - W4TV mentions,
bandplans are effective during "normal" activities. Contesting is an extreme
sport, far from "normal" in any sense of the definition.
I'll show you another extreme. It's a question direct from the FCC General
Class License testing pool:
During a disaster in the US, what frequencies may be used to obtain assistance?
A. Only frequencies in the 80-meter band
B. Only frequencies in the 40-meter band
C. Any frequency
D. Any United Nations approved frequency
The correct answer is "C" Any frequency!
So in this extreme case, the FCC recognizes all bets are off, including
transmitting outside the amateur radio bands.
So it's obvious to me that the radiosport of contesting pushes bandplans to the
extreme. I doubt we will ever see regulatory "contesting" bandplans from either
the contest sponsors or the FCC. But I wouldn't push my luck going outside the
ham bands... contesting isn't quite that extreme... yet.
73 de Bob - KØRC in MN
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 09:59:12 -0500
From: "Joe Subich, W4TV" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] SSB in CW band
To: "'Ron Notarius W3WN'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
The rest of this debate is really pointless but this needs a
> What is really unfortunate is that the voluntary band plans
> were developed by amateurs in other countries as guidelines
> so as to avoid unneeded governmental regulation. What you are
> saying is that since there's no regulation, you can ignore the
> band plan. Not only do you thus invite chaos and further
> regulation or re-regulation, but (IMHO) you thus choose not to
> use good amateur practices.
The voluntary bandplans are all based on "normal conditions" and
"should." Most of them contains language that says in effect
these arrangements are flexible and are expected to change as
needed to reflect conditions. The bandplans are and always have
been an effort by those in much of the rest of the world to have
their cake an eat it too - to have the opportunity to avoid QRM
from US stations while protecting their private playgrounds.
Until allocations are harmonized on a global basis and separation
is enforced in regulation the problem will continue to exist no
matter how often this topic is raised. There will always be one
more European, Canadian or South American who feels "just a couple
KHz lower" is OK ... and there will always be the American who
feels "it won't hurt if I listen just below the QRM." That is
the problem with "voluntary band plans" - they work when pressures
on the resources are relatively modest but they fall apart with
the extreme overcrowding during a contest.
To go back to your roads analogy ... have you never noticed that
once the freeways become clogged (or blocked by an accident) all
the surrounding "surface streets" also become very crowded as
the through traffic begins to seek alternate routes to avoid the
> Must ethics be legislated to be self-enforced?
I don't see this as a matter of ethics. I've been an advocate of
regulatory solutions for over 25 years. I was one of the first
to propose regulatory separation of CW/SSB on 160 meters back in
1979. Bandplans don't work on 160 any more than they work on 40
and even though the Commission has made periodic enforcement
efforts. I'm sure that it will be impossible to find a place to
make a CW contact in the "CW band" between 1825 and 1840 during
the ARRL 160 meter contest or the CQ 160 SSB contest but nobody
talks about that bandplan.
> Have you ever been trampled on by people participating in a
> contest that you're not?
No. I know enough to avoid the "contest mode" or the "contest
bands" during contest. If I want to operate outside the
contest, I will use another mode, or better yet, operate on
30, 17 or 12 meters.
> And with that, I will let your words speak for themselves.
That's fine ... as long as allocations are not globally harmonized,
bandlans are "advisory" and dynamic, this will continue to happen.
The only way to "solve the problem" is to eliminate the cause (the
uneven allocations) and the opportunity (the dynamic nature of the
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