Opposing HR 607 …

For those of you who are ham radio operators, you’ve probably heard about HR 607 either from an ARRL email or from another ham.  In brief, HR 607 proposes to reassign portions of or the entire segment of the 420-440 MHz (70 cm) band. That’s just part of it. To find out more on the ARRL’s plan of action and for more information about HR 607, click here.

Now, before we as hams get all up in arms, let’s keep a few things in mind. There’s nothing wrong with being passionate about protecting and preserving “our” frequencies. I’m all for that. But like a lot of things in life, there’s a right way to do things, and a wrong way to do things. The best way to get somewhere is to represent yourselves in a respectful and non-hostile manner. You might be “the only ham” these representatives come in contact with. I’m sure most representatives have hard how hams have contributed to their community and country, but how many hams have written to or contacted them directly for the express purpose of “saving a band or frequency?” And since it is somewhat likely that you may have a new representative, the chances are likely that they may not be fully aware of what ham radio is and how it functions. Let’s educate them, but let’s do it in a respectful and genuine manner.

In the above link, you’ll find a link to a sample letter that you can send to your representative. (Follow the specific instructions regarding the sending of the letter). That’s cool to use, but please make sure you address it to the appropriate representative(s), and put your name and contact information on the bottom. I would also add a very brief personal note at the bottom of the letter. Make it a positive note. If you’ve participated in an emergency activation with ARES or RACES, briefly tell them that you participated, when you participated, and how positive the experience was for you. This looks good, and gets them thinking.

If you decide to draft your own letter, that’s fine too. But keep in mind, that the 70 cm band isn’t just “ours.” We have secondary privileges in the band. The government uses PAVE PAWS in the 70 cm band as a defense system for the United States. Depending upon where you live in the country, you may or may not have to worry about mitigating any interference your station may cause to this system. Keep in mind, however, that the government and hams have had a very good working relationship when it comes to mitigating interference between PAVE PAWS and ham stations and/or repeaters in the 70 cm band. If you remember, this was an issue in 2007. The outcome was favorable for both hams and the government because both sides decided to work with each other. In fact, I think the outcome turned out a lot better than the broadband over power lines (BPL) issue!

Last, but certainly not least, show support for your local public safety officials. Often times it seems as if they have a thankless job, and we don’t often acknowledge them until we have a situation that requires their assistance.

you’ve tested to get the license, and therefore you have the right to use the frequency(ies) that your license allows you to use. But it doesn’t stop there. You also have the freedom — and possibly an obligation — to let your representative know that you don’t want the band taken away.  If you don’t speak up and the band is reassigned to another radio service, don’t complain.

As for me, my letter will go in the mail tomorrow.

73

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8 Comments

  1. sk says:

    Excellent blog post and excellent message!

  2. Randy says:

    Totally agree-excellent blog post and excellent message with HR 607 in committee,why havent we hear more,tnx u

    • kc0mmy says:

      Thanks for the reply! I haven’t posted much as there has not been much to report. Rest assured, I am keeping on top of it, and as soon as I hear more, I’ll post. In the meantime, people should still send letters to their representatives expressing their opposition.

      It’s been about a month since I’ve sent my letters to my representatives, and I still haven’t heard anything back. I wasn’t necessarily expecting to get a response, but it would have been nice. Perhaps I’ll draft another letter within the next week. I have not seen anything on what the status of HR-607 is.

  3. john Cartwright says:

    there is always a proper way of doing anything. Histrionics will not do it. Moaning and groaning over the possible loss of “our” frequencies will not do it.
    Presenting an honest and fact-filled response to the matter is the only way to educate a legislator to the reality of the world as it is. Giving the facts, in a sober and truthful manner is the only way that the issue will be resolved, if possible.
    One of the best ways to enlighten a legislator is to write a sober and honest letter to your representative and to the ARRL attorney, who will present your letters to the appropriate legislator at the appropriate time.
    Here’s hoping that we can retain these valuable frequencies. If it is not possible to do so, there is always the 222 to 225 MHz band to fall back on, the 900 MHz or the 1215 MHz bands to fall back on.
    Good luck to all on this particular issue.

    • kc0mmy says:

      Thanks for the reply! It is greatly appreciated. I do agree with you that we need to take an honest, non-threating approach to the legislatures/representatives on this subject. Don’t be antagonistic. That doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

      On the topic of 222-225 MHz, 100 MHz, and 1215 MHz: Very true. These are also our bands and we should be “using them before we lose them” too. However, there are not nearly as many 222-225 MHZ, 900 MHz, and 1215 MHz rigs available/in circulation compared to 144-148 MHz and even 420-450 MHz. This remains somewhat of a mystery to me, and it could simply be because of “supply and demand,” or because equipment, particularly for 900 MHz and 1215 MHz, is expensive. A lot of mobile rigs have 2M and 70CM FM capabilities. However, you can just buy a 2M rig.

      The bottom line — and I hate to sound too opinionated here, but — the FCC is going to try and make as much money as they can. Apparently, they “lost” money due to recent auctions of the analog spectrum that were assigned to TV stations before they were REQUIRED to switch to digital broadcasts. My understanding is that the HDTV phenomena was, at the very least, 10 years in the making. Poor planning on the government’s part? I’m not sure, but you can bet that the government will scrape for pennies anywhere they can. To be fair, it is possible that they may not make any money on this bill either. It’s really hard to say as there really seems to be — at least to me, anyway — no clearcut plan on what is going to happen.

      One thing I would like to point out is that if frequencies ARE assigned, municipalities would LIKELY end up having to get NEW equipment that would be able to make use of these frequencies. Again, what will happen is that MORE money will be spent, and a lot of states are not doing so well fiscally at this point in time. The state will rely on the feds, the feds don’t have any money, and so the vicious cycle of our nation’s debt will continue. Why not work with and modify what is in place instead of reinventing the wheel?

      I would be willing to guess that if HR-607 passes, it will NOT be the end of the story. I have a feeling it’s going to get ugly … on all levels.

  4. Dave says:

    Thanks for the posting.
    I for one am not too concerned about the 70cm band being taken. From my reading of the document the only frequencies that will be sold off are going to come from currently licensed Public Safety licenses.
    Since we have secondary privileges on 70cm with the Radiolocation Service I do not believe that we will lose out on that side.
    We might possibly face losing a part of the 1.2m band (219-220) but I’m not definitely certain of that.
    The wording of the proposal is: “FCC… shall issue a report, detailing the plan for public safety entities to end their use of radio spectrum above 170 megahertz and below 512 megahertz and move all use to the radio spectrum licensed to public safety services in the 700 megahertz and 800 megahertz bands” (HR607, pg 24, lines 15-24 and pg 25, lines 1&2)

    Short answer to the situation: DoD is not going to re-band their radiolocation system (PAVE PAWS etc) nor would they be expected to under the auspices of this document. Our rights to the 70cm band are shared with the Radiolocation Service which is not classified as public safety so amateur use of that band should not be impacted.

    -KD0MME

    • kc0mmy says:

      KD0MME

      Thanks for your reply and some of your insights. I truly hope you are right in what you said. I, too, have a sense that the chances of us losing 70 cm privileges will not happen because of PAVE PAWS. I wouldn’t think that they would be expected to reallocate that. That may certainly be one thing in our favor.

      73 de Andre
      KC0MMY

  5. Lynn Crow KI4TPQ says:

    I do not think it is a good idea to eliminate the frequencies 420-440 and 450-470 MHz, because it is going to disrupt our ability to provide emergency and public service. First Responders do need frequencies, but to take these frequencies away from the Amateur Radio Service is not a good move on the part of the FCC or Hmeland Security. I strongly oppose HR607 in its entirety until these frequencies are left alone.

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