Like the cherry blossoms... the proposals at the FCC are in full bloom!

FCC wants to hear from you on IBOC, Wi-Fi and Ham refarming.

It always seems like when the sakura (cherry blossoms) are in full bloom in Washington D.C., what follows is a springtime full of issues to comment on at the FCC. This year is no different. The FCC has put several big ones on our plate.

The FCC is looking for additional comments on the expansion of digital audio broadcasting using iBiquity's In Band On Channel (IBOC) system. In the FCC's further notice for proposed rulemaking (FNPRM), they are interested in the ability of translators and LPFM stations to broadcast in digital, the eventual transition to an all-digital broadcast band and the very contraversial issue of nighttime IBOC operations on the AM broadast band. Comments on MB-Docket 99-325 are due June 16 with replies due July 16. At press time, the text of the FNPRM has not been released. Since the FCC has not released the FNPRM, REC does not know the exact content of what is being proposed. Based on the News Release, REC will oppose many aspects of this proposal, especially around nighttime IBOC. We are also concerned that the implementation of IBOC on LPFM will impact a few select LPFM stations and we are extremely concerned about IBOC interference from translators on second adjacent channels.

The FCC would also like to hear from you on a proposal to reallocate 3650-3700 MHz for unlicensed wirless broadband (Wi-Fi) at powers higher than those allowed by Part 15. This band is currently used by the fixed satellite services and it's current usage is limited to the east and west coast. Any Wi-Fi use of the band would have to protect the satellite operations. The FCC is also looking at licensed fixed and mobile usage of this band. REC supports the unlicensed use of this band. We also see it as an alternative to implementing the very contraversial Broadband over Power Line (BPL) which has been shown to cause interference to the amateur and short wave services. The comment deadline on ET Docket 04-151 (02-380 & 98-237) has not yet been announced.

Finally, the FCC is proposing to change several rules in the Amateur Radio Service. The highlight of the proposal is the ARRL's "refarming" proposal that would convert the novice class CW (morse code) bands over phone (voice) usage and expand the operating of privleges of General class and higher licenses for more phone privleges. Novices will be able to use CW on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters on all CW subbands authorized to General class (Novices are also allowed to use data and RTTY on 10m). Comments on ET Docket 04-140 are due June 15, replies are due June 30. This proposal does not include the elimination of morse code requirements from the high frequency bands. We feel that this will eventually be a rulemaking proceeding later this year.

File comments using the FCC's Electronic Comments Filing System. Keep up with various FCC proceedings at REC's FCC page (