FCC officially expands Amateur Radio band plan

Recently, after last year’s trail period with a handful of selected operators, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has officially to opened up the 630 meter band (472 to 479 kHz) and 2.2 km band (135.7 to 137.8) to all licensed ham radio operators. Both set of frequencies come with special conditions that require amateurs to notify the UTC (Utilities Telecom Commission). This is because amateur radio is a secondary service on these frequencies. There are also restrictions on antenna length, power output, and distance requirements from utilities companies. All conditions can be found in part 97.

What does this mean for the world of technology? Better citizen science and experimentation can be done on these lower bands. We have an understanding of how radio waves propagate. However, we don’t know everything. Perhaps through ham radio experimentation on these new bands, new technologies will emerge to push how we communicate around the globe.

We could see a push in digital communication modes like WSPR that use less bandwidth and are capable of being receiving below the noise floor that exists in our busy airwaves of today. Modes such as WSPR rely less on the hardware being used and more on code running on a processor, making it more software base. So long as one has a good quality antenna and a sensitive receiver, the software takes care of the rest. It will be interesting to see how software developers come together with Ham radio operators to push the limits on how bits can span the globe.

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Categories: News, Programming, Workbench

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