Feds to begin monitoring spectrum usage

According to the Monitoring Time Fed File blog, The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will begin monitoring real-world usage of the radio-frequency spectrum in 10 cities and evaluate possible plans to more efficiently utilize both federal and non-federal spectrum.

A document summarizing the plan is available online. At this point, it’s only a pilot program, but the NTIA will use the program to “evaluate whether a more comprehensive monitoring program would create additional opportunities for more efficient spectrum access through, for example, increased and more dynamic sharing.”

The public is invited to comment on this program. More details are available in the document.

This should probably encourage us all to use our bands more, and in the words of a fellow club member, “everything 2m and above is underused.” I tend to agree with this assessment. Do you? Got any good ideas on how to use the UHF/microwave bands?

Take a look at these related posts:


  1. Join us in the HamWAN project. We’ve got a 5ghz amateur microwave data network up and running in the Puget Sound region around Seattle.


  2. I think the answer is simple: wideband data. Getting equipment and amateurs interested is a bit more complicated. We need some rules that would allow transmission of Internet traffic for personal use.

  3. Dave, N8SBE says:

    I’ve been reading articles recently on the concept of “spectrum warehousing”, and how that will eventually lead to its logical conclusion with literally running out of spectrum, and still now solving the spectrum usage problem.

    Instead of cries to “use our bands” so that we can justify holding on to them in the face of increasing demand from all comers, we need to adopt the same/similar technologies used by Wi-Fi, GPS, cell-phones and/or cognitive radio systems that actively seek out empty spectrum, enabling much more efficient spectrum sharing.

    Amateur radio is still stuck in the 1950’s. We are still using the techniques developed back then. They worked find then, and still work fine for us now, but the rest of the radio world has swept by us, rushing into innovative spectrum sharing solutions for the modern, connected world.

  4. Yohei, N8YQX says:

    I think we need two things:

    First, more of us need to get off the repeater and onto the simplex frequencies. I try to listen to 146.52 when I’m mobile, and I usually don’t hear anyone.

    Second, someone needs to start FM contests and awards. I realize that there are VHF/UHF contests, but they are geared towards SSB/CW operation. Considering most of us own FM VHF/UHF radios, if we want more people using VHF/UHF outside of repeaters, I think this is the type of “encouragement” we need.

    Now, some background… I operated in Japan with nothing more than a 2m/440 HT and a roll-up J-pole antenna. I was able to make contacts back-to-back just by listening to the calling frequency for CQs. Infact, the calling frequency was so busy, everyone would call CQ and QSY to their operating frequnecy to listen for the response. If we had similar activity level on VHF/UHF in the States, I think it would have multiple benefits (prove to the FCC that we’re using the spectrum to the fullest extent, introduce new hams to the excitemnt of DX, be able to communicate when the repeaters fail, etc).

    If there is a real VHF/UHF FM contest or award out there, I would like to hear about those.

    • There are contests that use FM, but not anything that serious. I made the only club contact on FM for Field Day, although it is permitted. I actually made about a hundred FM contacts on my states QSO party day, and there were FMers a plenty.

      Where I see this being the biggest issues is bands like 220 and 900, that are rarely used by amateurs, and are in prime real estate. And certainly don’t forget the even higher frequency bands!

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