Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Use it or lose it

The ARRL seems to only represent less than 0.2% (3.75 MHz of the total 24.165 GHz) of the total amateur spectrum.

About 40 years ago 2 meters and 70 cm were basically uncharted areas. Now they are populated. Undoubtedly the future of ham radio is in our huge - virtually unused microwave allocations. They have the necessary bandspace to support wideband modes.

The concept of a re-banding or significantly altering existing bandplans where established systems and modes are in place, would go over like a lead balloon. There would be so much unrest at just the mere suggestion that the ARRL membership would be in jeopardy, which is their pocket book.   

I've blogged before that the average ham is now in their 60's.  

And with age comes a love for tradition and to re-live the past, and cling to legacy modes for dear life. Retired, well-off folks are where the money is for the ARRL as well. So the league will cater to that 0.2 %, as that's where the bulk of their memberships and revenue are.

It would be great if the ARRL would pay more attention to operating practices on 50 MHz and above. Just about every month there is an article on CW in QST.. I don't think it's possible for that magazine to go a whole 6 months or a year without mentioning it. Instead I wish they would at least quarterly have an article from the technology task force. QST, the main magazine of the ARRL should put more emphasis on future technologies in my opinion.

*I stole the title from a piece that David, WA6NMF wrote in the TAPR PSR DCC 2007 issue, titled "Use It or Lose It, SHF Edition." He points out that companies are putting a lot of pressure on the FCC to allow unlicensed operations over a wider frequency range. There is much more amateur spectrum to lose if we don’t use it more actively. I highly recommend reading his piece.

HSMM can put our microwave frequency allocations to good use. These allocations (23cm-300GHz) make up 99% of hams total available frequency allocations. Yet, it's estimated that only 1% of hams are involved with any microwave operations.


Steve said...

In December 2008, ARRL president Joel Harrison, W5ZN said "the band plans for the amateur bands above 900 MHz are all in need of review and we have a committee that is about to begin work in this area.
You'll see information about it in the near future on ARRLWeb and would appreciate any input."

Steve said...

- May 2009- Google Urges National Inventory of Radio Spectrum - keep an eye on this!

Don said...

I'm not entirely sure what you'd do with that space segment. It's highly directional, has virtually no edge-diffraction properties and doesn't bounce off the atmosphere. In commercial use, it's mostly point-to-point links.

I don't think it's really got a lot of application potential for ham radio.