1/8/10 - How Secure are the Amateur Radio Allocations?

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kg7hq Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:23

The title question is drawing a little more of my attention as the Federal Communications Commission moves forward to address the pressure from the Cell Phone Company's.

As a population of radio operators, we have seen such challenges in the past and with no doubt, see it in throughout the future. The latest series of events will prove to be just as challenging as the prior reallocations due to the large commercial resource being used to promote change. As with all change, there will be good and bad... cause and effect. And many will be questioning "why" and "what about".

Why my attention has been drawn to this is due to the recent decree from the FCC that amateur radio is not an emergency service (Refer http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2010/01/01/11218/). To many in our community, this is a slap in the face. Many in our ranks train and prepare for the times we get those "bumps in the night" and local infrastructures fail. These individuals are our unsung heroes as they spend much of their personal resources in support of our emergency communications in unfortunate times.

Personally speaking, this was a very big statement as it sets the stage for the up and coming realignment of current spectrum allocations. A story that showed up on pcmag.com highlight what kind of commercial pressure is being applied to the FCC and federal government officials (Refer http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2357231,00.asp).
I'm already reading on different reflectors that we should fire up and start to use all our allocated resources or loose them. My belief is that this effort is going to be too little and too late. The FCC already has it's data supporting trend analysis of our band usage. A surge won't tip the scales one way or the other.

The real support comes from whether we truly fulfil the FCC's definition of Amateur Radio. Since we are not an "emergency service" by definition, then what are we? My understanding is that we are an experimental service. So our basis of survival relies on whether we provide continuing value towards the future communication technologies.
So the question using my faulted logic above would be "What have you, as an individual, contributed towards the furtherment and development of new communication technologies?" Talking on a repeater? Chatting with a friend? Checking in on a net? Chasing DX? I hate to say this, but that really is genericly a dead horse when it comes to furtherment and development of communications technologies.

Don't get me wrong. I do all of those too. But I also try to contribute towards new technologies also. That is where I find most of my enjoyment related to amateur radio. But since in reality that is a very small sliver of my total contribution, I see the weakness within me supporting the core definition of our hobby. I, like many, use ham radio as a glorified citizens band radio. Adhering to rules and regulations but not being a major contributor to the core definition of our service.

I can't foresee the future any better than the nest person nor can I say that my thoughts above are in part a path towards a solution. I just believe that we over look the basics when challenges like these arrive and get disappointed when we feel lose and/or change.

I'm thankful for organizations like the ARRL who can provide an united voice on our behalf. We know that it may not always match our thoughts and can spark emotion as you most likely have read elsewhere. But with that said, it is organizations like this that give us any smidgen of hope when it comes to representing our interests.

Take the time and think about what I wrote above. It's not a matter if you agree or not. It is the matter whether you are willing to engage in the furtherment of amateur radio and it's core mission as defined by the FCC.