W3BE'S BE Informed!
Home1.0 W3BE Checklists1.1 RF Safety1.2 Antenna Structures1.3 Quiet Zones1.4 60 Meter Privileges1.5 Take A Paying Job?1.6 Hams At Sea1.7 Imported Radios1.8.0 Reciprocal Privileges1.8.1 For Canadians1.8.2 Reciprocal I.D.1.8.3 More Reciprocal Q&A1.8.4 Hear Something Say Something1.9 Third Party Communications1.10 Incentive Licensing1.11 GEPs and GAPs1.12 Hamslanguage1.13 Visiting Operators1.14 Terms in Part 971.15 Amateur Station?1.16 Licenses & Call Signs1.17 All About Spectrum1.18 Transmitter Stability1.19 Selling Over Ham Radio1.20 Still an Amateur?1.21 Use My Station?1.22 Digi-Standards1.23 No Secrets1.24 Where's My License?1.25 Spectrum Management1.26 A Little Bit Commercial1.27 What is CW?2.0 Ham Needs To Know2.1 VE System Management2.2 What A VE Does2.3 Remote Testing2.4 Get Your Pools Right2.8 GOTA Experience: License Qualifier?2.12 Former Hams2.13 The Hunt for Stereotype W2.14 VE's Universe2.15 More HF for Techs2.16 Can A VE Accept Pay2.17 VEC Supposed To Do2.18 Significance of license2.19 Enough Operator Classes?3.0 Smell Test3.1 Maintenance Monitoring3.2 International/domestic3.3 Excuses3.4 Heed The Rules!3.5 Regulatable3.6 No Broadcasting3.7 Station Records4.0 Which Call Sign?4.1 Self-assigned indicator4.2 Station ID4.3 ID Every 10 minutes4.5 Indicator Schedule4.6 Special Event 1 by 14.7 Non-Appended Indicator4.8 Club Station ID5.0 Alternatives To Exams5.1 VPoD Protocols5.3 Big Red Switch6.0 Constitution Go-By6.1 What Ia A Radio Club?6.2 School Radio Club6.3 Club Stations Control Op6.4 Radio Club Repeater Station7.0 EmComm7.2 RACES7.3 Commercial Communications7.11 Supposed To Be7.12 Emergency Responders & Part 978.0 Repeaters & Part 978.1 Auxiliary Stations & Part 978.2 Remote Control, Telecommand & Part 978.3 Frequency Coordination8.4 Automatic Control & Part 978.5 The Internet & Part 978.6 Beacons & Part 978.7 Automatic Control & Part 978.8 Frequency Coordination & Part 9710.0 Comments in RM-1170810.2 Deceased's Call Sign10.3 A New Era for Ham Radio10.4 New Era Q/A10.5 Four Operator Classes10.6 Novice ArtifactQUIZ

BE Informed No. 1.17

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Let’s face it Hams

It’s All About $pectrum

John B. Johnston W3BE

Q. Our amateur service community is taking our radio spectrum allocations far too much for granted. In 1941, amateur radio was shut down for some four years during World War II and our ham spectrum was reallocated for military radio apparatus. That came about obviously because the war effort was deemed more important to the public interest, convenience, and necessity than was self-training, intercommunication, and technical investigations carried out by amateurs. In recent years, our very own amateur service community has brought about a reallocation of its own making. Our radio spectrum has been self-repurposed into a social media for as many citizens as possible to openly chitchat about nothing of importance.

A. That may be today’s reality. But, in addition to the Section 97.407 Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, our regulator expects our amateur radio service spectrum to be used to an even greater extent during emergencies. It has even notified Congress that our amateur service resources can serve as an alternative to the commercial communications infrastructure impacted by an emergency.

Q. No one but a carrier has that kind of capability! The government has put the spotlight on our spectrum as being highly important to the public during emergencies. When a big one hits and we can’t deliver, they will have their good reason to reallocate our spectrum away from our social media to more serious expert emergency responders. We have set up ourselves for a downfall.   

A. Not entirely. There is still Section 97.3(a)(4) going for us. It defines our amateur service as: A radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest. Similar definitions are also in SEC. 3. [47 USC 153](2) of the Communications Act as well as international Radio Regulations (RR) No. 1.56 and United States Code of Federal Regulations Title 47 Section 2.1(c).

Q. Doesn’t our excellent rule compliance record stand as proof that our amateur service is fulfilling its purpose?

A. That could be one powerful argument. Hopefully, our Maintenance Monitors can produce the supporting statistics.

Q. So what? We have over a hundred-year record of value to the public. They wouldn’t dare take away our frequencies.

A. Caution! Things change. Whenever one party is authorized to use such a highly valuable public resource, it can be expected that sooner or later other parties are going to claim they can make better use of it. Which party is it that can present the most persuasive argument for its making use of our spectrum consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity? Let’s face it hams: It’s all about $pectrum.

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April 26, 2017

Supersedes all prior editions