A Positive Note About HR 607?

If passed in its present form, HR607 would take away the 420-440 MHz segment of the 70 cm band from amateurs and reallocate it for other use. This move has generated quite a bit of publicity, though, and most people seem to be against this reallocation.

On the PR mailing list, there was a bit of good news. John, K7VE, posted this note from his representative, Jay Inslee:

March 30, 2011

Dear Mr. Hays:

Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 607, the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011. I appreciate hearing from you.

Like you, I agree that amateur broadcasters should be equipped with the tools and spectrum to respond to emergencies. H.R. 607 allocates a segment of the 700 megahertz block of spectrum (“the D-Block”) for public safety use. The original version of this bill would reallocate and auction paired spectrum in the 420-440 megahertz and 450-470 megahertz bands, currently used by amateur radio operators for emergency communications. However, you may be happy to learn that the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Peter King, has announced that the bill will be amended to protect those frequencies for their current users. H.R. 607 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, on which I sit. Should the Committee consider the bill, I will be sure to keep your concerns in mind.

Very truly yours,

Member of Congress

HR 607 in USA Today

This morning, USA Today ran an article on HR 607. There’s nothing really new in this article, so if  you’ve been keeping up with this issue, there’s no need to read it, except maybe to read the comments. The comments are overwhelmingly in favor of no reallocating this band.

Perhaps at this point, we need to do more than simply mobilize hams. Anyone out there want to put up a Facebook page to mobilize the general public and help us kill this bill?

If you haven’t yet sent in your letter opposing this bill, DO SO NOW!

ARRL Video On the Threat to the 440 Band

I’ve written about HR607 before. Here’s a video produced by the ARRL also describes the issue and tells you what you can do about it. This is real, folks.

HR 607 Creating a Stir on the Blogs

The hubbub over HR 607, which, in its current form, would take away the 420-440 MHz segment that is presently allocated to Amateur Radio on a secondary basis, is getting some notice on the blogs.
An item on Metafilter, “First they came for the Muslims, and I broadcast nothing…” reports:

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), not content with questioning Muslim loyalty, has introduced HR 607, the “Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011,” to take away HAM radio from amateur operators (sic), and sell it to he highest commercial bidder in order to fund some kind of separate internet for cops.

Wonkette picked up on this item and took it to another level. The post, “IRA Terrorist Peter King Now Wants To Take America’s Amateur Radio Band.” Be sure to read some of the comments on this post. I thought this comment from Barbara_i was kind of funny:

Wow, it took them long enough to figure out that Ham radio is actually, short for Hamas radio. Now they should just shut down all the Radio Shacks and we can get back to going through airport security without having to take a morning-after pill.

And, this one by EdFlintstone:

Defunding NPR and planned parenthood, hearings on the Muslims and now a ham radio bill. Can’t you feel all the jobs being created? We’ll all probably have 2 jobs very soon…….minimum wage jobs, but still.

Help Us Keep the 440 MHz Band

I’ve been planning to blog about this for a while, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Thankfully, Jim Weaver, K8JE, our division director, has crafted a very nice explanation of the problem and has outlined an appropriate course of action.  I encourage everyone to send this letter. I’ve just sent mine…..73, Dan

Your prompt help to defend one of our amateur bands is urgently requested. Please read and follow through on the requested action.

You may have already heard that our 440 MHz band is being attacked by a bill introduced into the US House of Representatives. In its current form, HR 607 would take away the 420-440 MHz segment that is presently allocated to Amateur Radio on a secondary basis as our 70 cm band. Along with certain other segments not allocated to Amateur Radio, the 420-440 MHz segment would become part of a spectrum “give back” involved in allocating 758-763 and 788-793 MHz for a Public Safety broadband network.

The concept of this network has merit. Everyone wants first responders to have the radio systems they need in order to protect themselves and us. However, there is absolutely no need to take our 440 MHz band in making it happen. We need to let our US Representatives know we oppose the current form of HR 607.

To let your US Representative know you oppose the present bill, go to http://www.kd4pyr.net/hamletter.htm. Insert your call sign where indicated and follow the simple instructions. The name and address of your US Representative will automatically be put into the letter, as will your name and address. It will be ready to be printed and signed.

IMPORTANT: Please be sure to observe the following once you have printed your letter:

  • Be sure to sign it. Letters without a handwritten signature are not effective.
  • Signed letters can be sent by fax or postal mail. They can also be scanned into PDF format and e-mailed as a file attachment. Postal mail: John Chwat, Chwat & Co., Suite 103, 625 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314. E-mail: john.chwat@chwatco.com. Fax number: (703) 684-7594.
  • Do not send this letter or any letter about HR 607 to your US Senators at this time. The bill is only in the US House of Representatives. Letters sent on HR 607 to US Senators will merely waste their time and demonstrate lack of knowledge of how our system of government works.

WHY SHOULD the letter be mailed to John Chwat? There are two reasons. First, all postal mail to members of the US House (and other government bodies) is delayed 6 to 8 weeks in being searched for hazardous materials that may be included in them. Second, Mr. Chwat will increase the value of your individual letter by combining it with others and delivering the stack of letters directly to your Representative’s office. This manner of delivery makes a particular impact on our Congressmen.

If you feel it necessary to mail your letter directly to your Representative, do it. However, please also send a signed copy of it to Mr. Chwat for the reasons outlined above.

For your information, the letter generating utility will be open for use by any US amateur for at least a couple of weeks.

Thanks for your help and support in this important effort. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.


Jim Weaver, K8JE, Director
ARRL Great Lakes Division
5065 Bethany Rd.
Mason, OH 45040; Tel. 513-459-1661
ARRL, The national association for Amateur Radio

PS: Thanks to Rick Haltermon, KD4PYR for developing the letter generating utility. He was aided by Trey Garlough, N5KO who wrote the initial program. Rick continues to add flesh to the program.

Threat to 440?

One bill making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives seems to be targeting the 440 MHz band for reallocation to commercial use. HR 607 lists the paired bands of 420-440 MHz and 450-470 MHz among the bands to be reallocated for commercial auction within 10 years of its passage in exchange for commercial users giving up other chunks of spectrum to Public Safety users.

Read more on the ARRL website.

MI Tech Prof Gunning for Ham Frequencies?

Is a Michigan Tech electrical engineering professor aiming at ham frequencies? In the article, “Sharing the Airwaves: Michigan Tech’s Tian Researches Cognitive Radio,” there’s a line, “Meanwhile, frequencies in other bands used by amateur radios and pagers are rarely bogged down by too much traffic.” It goes on to describe Tian’s research into cognitive radio, a technology that allows radios “to dynamically pick the best frequencies and use them to transmit their signals.”

Of course, Tian is not trying to horn in on the amateur radio bands. She’s just trying to use the radio spectrum more efficiently. It’s fascinating technology, too. I’m trying to imagine how something like this would work on 2m.

Of course, the problem on 2m anymore is not too much traffic, but not enough. Perhaps we could make our network of 2m repeaters smart enough so that they connect two stations no matter where they are as long as they are in the coverage area of the network. That might boost usage, which would be a good thing.