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NU9N SSB Audio News Editorial - November, 2007


"The ARRL Backdoor Bandwidth Agenda"

NU9N News Blog - November, 2007

What's Going On?

About NU9N
For those of you who have not heard, the ARRL is at it again, this time with their "Backdoor Bandwidth Agenda" via the IARU Region 2 MF/HF Band Plan. This new Bandplan could potentially effect quality eSSB and AM voice modes.

Past Attempts

On two occasions, the FCC denied the ARRL their request to limit J3E (SSB) and A3E (AM) transmission bandwidths. The FCC made the correct decision (FCC ruling: "FCC-DA-04-3661A1") as stated in the following paragraph:

"We conclude that Petitioners' request for an amendment of our rules is inconsistent with the Commission's objective of encouraging the experimental aspects of amateur radio service. The Petition also fails to demonstrate that a deviation from the Commission's longstanding practice of allowing operating flexibility within the amateur service community is either warranted or necessary. In this regard, we note that most operators use the amateur service spectrum in a manner consistent with the basic purpose of the amateur service." Source: FCC-DA-04-3661A1

Current Situation

Now, as a result of some stealth negotiating by the ARRL and the IARU, there is all of a sudden a new Band Plan in effect for January 1st, 2008, with some rather disturbing bandwidth limitations (voluntary for now) that I believe we need to voice our concerns about. (See the IARU REGION 2 MF/HF BAND PLAN here)

The new IARU Region 2 Band Plan, effective January 1st, 2008, will limit SSB transmissions to a maximum of 2.7kHz, and AM transmissions to a maximum of 6kHz (3kHz removed from the carrier on each sideband). This new bandplan could potentially and effectively destroy high-quality voice modes currently employed and enjoyed with AM and eSSB.

According to two IARU officials with knowledge of the proceedings, when asked where the 2.7kHz number came from, the 2.7KHz bandwidth specification in the IARU Band Plan for Region 2 came from ARRL Chief Technology Lobbyist Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, at the committee deliberations in Brazil.

IARU Quote


"The IARU bandplans have been compiled and modified over the years to reflect changes in operating requirements and are to be used as a guideline by the individual societies of each country. Unique situations in certain countries may require slight modification to that individual country's own bandplan but the impact of any changes must take into consideration their effect on other countries."

"These bandplans are voluntary and as such cannot legally be enforced, except in some countries in which the bandplans are written into the national regulations. The vast majority of amateurs in all countries do conform to the IARU bandplans and it is in our own interest that it should continue to be this way. The plans are prepared in a democratic way with input from any country's member society. The plans are discussed, modified and voted upon at IARU Regional General Assemblies with each country (large or small) having only one vote. If an individual or group is not satisfied with the bandplans as they are and has a suggestion for improvement then he should submit it, with as much documentation as possible, to his IARU member society."


I do not know of any "Input" that US amateurs were asked to give regarding this Band Plan. The ARRL, for whatever reason, did not solicit the comments from its members when actively pursuing the new IARU Region 2 Band Plan.

And no argument can be made that the ARRL didn't know about this, because K1ZZ, David Sumner, the Chief Executive Officer, Executive Vice President, and Secretary of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), is also the IARU Secretary.

And according to sources, W4RI, Paul Rinaldo, ARRL Chief Technologu Officer, was the source of the 2.7kHz bandwidth suggestion.

I agree with others who believe that "the ARRL will soon begin to promote compliance in the US, and possibly even petition the FCC to incorporate the bandwidth limitations into Part 97"

IARU Region 2 MF/HF Band Plan Inconsistencies

There are several reasons why we all need to submit our disapproval of the new IARU Region 2 Band Plan to the ARRL, our IARU member society:

  • The new "Band Plan" is NOT consistent with FCC Part 971.1(b), (c) & (d). as the FCC previously ruled in FCC-DA-04-3661A1. Amateur Radio is an experimenter's hobby, and should remain that way, with as little governmental intrusion as possible.

  • The new "Band Plan" is not enforceable in any realistic way, and would cause more confusion and disharmony within the amateur radio ranks than any good it would accomplish.

  • The new "Band Plan", even though voluntary now, taken to its logical legal conclusion, would eventually and ultimately require operators of older transmitters (and even some newer transmitters) to modify their equipment (either themselves or by a qualified radio technician at a cost to the amateur) to comply with the new bandwidth standards.

  • The new "Band Plan" would require extra equipment and operator expertise in determining their transmitter's maximum occupied bandwidth, which would be an unreasonable burden on most amateur radio operators, both technically and monetarily.

  • We already have a "Voluntary" system of bandwidth control now. Therefore, no new band plan for the sake of "voluntary" operating practice is needed.

What You and I Can Do

I would suggest that we start contacting the relevant parties that are involved, communicating our concerns about this band plan.

Contact Information:

International Amateur Radio Union [IARU]

Larry E. Price, W4RA

Timothy S. Ellam, VE6SH
Vice President

Ramon Santoyo, XE1KK
Secretary, IARU Region 2

David Sumner, K1ZZ

American Radio Relay League [ARRL]

Address: 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111-1494
Tel: +1 (860) 594-0200 <HQ>
Fax: +1 (860) 594-0259 <HQ>
Email: <HQ>

President: Joel Harrison, W5ZN

Secretary: David Sumner, K1ZZ

IARU liaison: Rodney Stafford, W6ROD

Chief Technology Officer: Paul Rinaldo, W4RI

I would hate to see our beloved hobby get all convoluted and confused by more unreasonable band plans or potential rules that would restrict an amateur's freedom to operate in an unobtrusive manner, and that would eventually limit the amateur's incentive to build, create and experiment with some freedom.

Let's keep the hobby interesting and innovative rather than restrictive and spiritless.


-John, NU9N

John M. Anning - NU9N
Phone: 1-815-631-5042
  e-Mail NU9N
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