The following is from the IARU Region 3, Seventeenth Regional Conference (Sept 2018) document.
"The evolution of spectrum management in the era of hyper-connectivity and its impact on the amateur service."
While the discussion above has focused on the 6 m band, one thing that the applications based method has revealed which is applicable to all bands is that we need to come up with applications (transmission modes) that use more, rather than less spectrum, if we are required to justify our allocated spectrum. More amateurs or more band activity would also help, but they are separate and difficult issues…
The move towards digital coding, a rising noise floor and internet reporting has driven us in the direction of reducing the bandwidth that we, as amateurs, use to communicate. The ‘JT’ modes are a superb example of very clever coding, allowing communications in very narrow bandwidths. They allow (usually limited) communications to occur in situations where conventional analog applications (modes) do not function. Similarly various digital voice modes generally use narrow bandwidths and operate in poor signal-to-noise environments. In general the direction of application development is to use less bandwidth and this leads to some questions:
- While the advantages of narrow bandwidth applications are very important when band conditions are poor or band occupancy is high, what about the rest of the time? What about the VHF bands and above where propagation conditions are relatively favourable and stable, why limit the application bandwidth?
- Why not consider developing modes that use more bandwidth, or at least are adaptive and can use more bandwidth when band conditions permit? Wider band modes offering better voice quality are certainly easier on the ear. Other information could also be transmitted which would enhance the communications experience. Reduced Bandwidth Digital TV is a possibility for UHF bands and above, possibly even on 6 m and 2 m. Acceptable video quality can be achieved using bandwidths of 300 kHz or less.
-How about moving away from our reliance on internet mediated modes, or at least supplement the internet with an amateur equivalent. HAMNET in Germany and Broadband-Hamnet in the US are examples of this. Why not use some of our spectrum assets to transmit amateur-specific and non-commercial information (DX clusters, WSPR reports, etc.) instead of commercial internet services? Considering that amateurs have exclusive use of the 44.xx.xx.xx IP address range (AMPRNet) we could build an independent, though internet-linked amateur-specific network. Given the low population density in many Region 3 countries an extensive broadband network using any of the microwave bands is unlikely to be feasible, but perhaps lower frequency bands could be used for (relatively) broadband links if the application data rate is kept low enough.
Acting upon some of these ideas, and other innovations, would increase spectrum occupancy and help justify the bands we have.
Basically this is the same thing I have been saying for a good number of years.
Now if we just had some leadership in this hobby that had a real desire to do something more than the status quo.