FCC Wants to Bolster Amateur Radio

Commission will vote in November on plan to remove outdated technical restrictions

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel says the FCC plans to “incentivize innovation and experimentation in the amateur radio bands” by getting rid of outdated restrictions and providing licensees with the flexibility to use modern digital emissions.

The commission at its November meeting is expected to take action on a Report and Order that would eliminate the baud rate limitation and establish a bandwidth limitation in the amateur radio bands below 29.7 MHz.

The order being circulated for tentative consideration by the commission would remove the baud rate limitation — the rate at which the carrier waveform amplitude, frequency and/or phase is varied to transmit information — for data emissions in the amateur radio bands, the FCC says. The current baud rate limits were adopted in 1980.

The order would implement a 2.8 kilohertz bandwidth limitation in place of the baud rate in amateur radio bands. The 2.8 kHz limitation is consistent with the commission’s treatment of other wireless radio services, the FCC says.

The current rules limit the baud rate for high-frequency amateur radioteletype/data transmissions to 300 baud for frequencies below 28 MHz (except in the 60-meter band), and 1200 baud in the 10 meter (28-29.7 MHZ) band.

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