Latest ARRL Band Plan Updates Proposed

The ARRL is presently seeking membership input on proposed band plan adjustments for many of our HF bands. According to their recent announcement, these changes are due to "concerns pertaining to the increasing popularity of data modes, and ... to use spectrum so that these data modes may compatibly coexist with each other."

courtesy: http://www.arrl.org/bandplan

As is often the case, it appears that CW will suffer once again. Of particular interest is the widening of the 40m band plan for digital modes at the expense of the ever-shrinking CW segments.

Those of you that have been haunting 40m CW for some time will well-remember that 7040kHz was once the watering-hole for most QRP and ragchew CW activity. Several years ago, this section of the band became flooded with RTTY and other data modes that made a pleasant CW QSO much harder to come by. CW ragchewers and newcomers then found solace in the region above 7100, near the old Novice band. Over time, the RTTY and digital-moders have gradually moved into this region as well and now the ARRL wants to make it official.

A look at the 40m plan (above) is somewhat misleading as everyone that operates on 40m CW knows that the 7025-7080 'CW' segment is already dominated by digital activity ... most of us know what it is like to have a bone-crushing digital station suddenly open up on top of the frequency with seemingly no regard for the CW stations already there. It would appear that there will now be not much room for the casual CW operator to call home ... no watering hole frequency around which to congregate as in the past.

Many might say that this is all for the better and that CW has passed its 'best-before' date while others would see it as another nail in CW's coffin.

The proposed changes have spawned numerous discussions on various e-mail reflectors. One of the more interesting comments on the plan was posted by 'wireless-girl' (Janis, AB2RA) and may be read here.

Changes for several HF bands are proposed so if 40m is not one of your main interests, maybe your favorite band will be adversely affected as well.

Whatever your opinion is, the ARRL would like membership input and have published an online-form for you to fill in and make your wishes known.

The comment deadline is April 19, 2015 after which the HF Band Planning Committee will prepare its final report. If you are an ARRL member, please take a couple of minutes to fill-out their questionnaire.
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at ve7sl@shaw.ca.

8 Responses to “Latest ARRL Band Plan Updates Proposed”

  • Kyle N4NSS:

    Maybe by the looks of things, but CW is still the ONLY mode that is authorized everywhere regardless of plans. So If you still want to continue your established net, etc. you can stay where you have been operating. Contests be damned! They still go where the need of space is.

  • Jason KE7TDY:

    I second what Kyle [N4NSS] said above. CW is allowed to operate ANYWHERE … whether in the ssb/fm/am sections or digital sections [there is some debate also, whether or not to consider CW as a “digital” mode but that’s another thing all together lol]

    I understand the desire for a ‘watering hole’ and that aspect is important [which I mentioned in my comments to the ARRL] but digital and voice deserve space too … I wish that the digital operators would actually check more prior to transmitting, to make sure no CW or long pause digital modes are going on where they are … sadly, some don’t and that’s just poor operating practice [that some O/Os see/hear and send cards about. Know that the cards don’t have to much in the way of teeth, but if enough cards are sent for the same types of reasons to a single operator, the FCC takes notice]

    Anyhow, it’ll be interesting to see the balance, or lack there of that they settle on.

  • Hans (BX2ABT):

    Maybe it’s time that the USofA gets rid of those mandatory band plans. The rest of the world simply doesn’t care or adhere to them anyhow.

  • W6GMT/BROCK:

    Well lets give all CW ops more space free 7.000 to 7.025 from the extra class.

  • peter kg5wy:

    REMEMBER, the FCC designates frequency allocations.
    NOT the ARRL.
    Just adhere to the FCC’s regulations.
    I don’t ever remember reading about nets or contests in the regulations.

  • PA1FJ:

    Why not the same as region 1 ??

  • AB2RA Janis Carson:

    Thank you for linking and getting out the word!
    wireless-girl.com
    73
    Janis

  • Janis Carson AB2RA:

    UPDATE: According to the latest July 2015 ARRL Board of Director Minutes, it has been voted on to go ahead with the proposed HF band plan as well as open up digital modes to Novice/Tech. Another motion proposed elimination of all HF sub band divisions with respect to license class as well as mode. In other words, the new band plan under that motion would be: NO BAND PLAN AT ALL! For more information, see:
    http://wireless-girl.com/July2015ARRLBoardSummary.html

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