The following 160 meter related news from the
ARRL BOD meeting over the weekend in Irving,
Texas. I'm adding a couple comments of my own
following the double asterisks.
approved a motion calling on the ARRL
Technology Task Force to
study the possibility of asking the FCC to
authorize "a limited
number of low-power, automatically
controlled beacon facilities in
the 160-meter band." The narrow-bandwidth
beacons would be used to
study propagation with an eye toward
possibly establishing a
real-time, computer-based MF propagation
**We'd better watch this one, and make our
voices heard! A few people who enjoy hobby-type
broadcasting are tying to have rules amended to
allow low-power 24 hour unattended beacons. Any
technically-experienced 160 meter operator would
know the computer-based MF propagation system is
a smoke screen for allowing "broadcasting".
Little-to-zero useful information in propagation
information can be gathered from watching a low-
power signal with unknown antenna efficiency and
receiver noise make it over a 200 mile (or
whatever) path. It's simply a technical
"smokescreen" for those who enjoy broadcasting,
and collecting SWL reports and is NOT needed on
a band that is already squeezed for CW operation
space many days out of the year.**
approved formation of an ad hoc committee
to study the current
160-meter band plan, solicit membership
input, and report back to
the Board at its July 2001 meeting.
**This is a direct result of the recent digital
invasion of the DX area, and our comments to the
board members. The ARRL has no idea how to
handle the problem because they have no
"committee" in place to study the problem.
PLEASE,we should all watch these issues like a
The bandplan is already poorly conceived. We all
know most of the DX is between 1825 and 1837 on
CW, and 1840 (carrier frequency) and 1845 SSB.
With digital modes coming on board in large
numbers, we ALL need to push the IARU and the
ARRL to align the band plans to fit current 160
meter usage. We need to make sure someone at HQ
doesn't make another mistake like occurred with
the present 1830-1850 DX Window.
The IARU and the ARRL also specify digital modes
are "allowed" in the DX Window area, and
software writers for MFSK and PSK are telling
people to operate +- 1838 kHz. This has caused
digital modes, formerly never heard on 160, to
operate on a nightly basis on frequencies
between 1825 and 1840.
If we have a bunch of low-power 24 hour beacons
on the low end, plus the digital modes (of which
both PSK and MFSK have technically-related
bandwidth problems caused by transmitter audio
chain and modulator harmonic-distortion), plus
an influx of non-CW types from higher bands as
sunspots drop, things will get very very tough!
Please, let's make our voices heard before it is
73, Tom W8JI
P.S. de W4ZV...E-mail your ARRL Director at email@example.com or
see http://www.arrl.org/divisions/ if you don't know his call.
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