Information Net for January 7

ARRL UHF/Microwave Band Plan Committee Seeks Input on 6 and 3 Centimeter Bands


microwave tower

microwave tower (credit: cyrusbulsara)

Last year, in recognition of the need to update the published band plans for our UHF and microwave bands, the ARRL Board of Directors formed the UHF/Microwave Band Plan Committee to develop revised national plans for the amateur bands between 902 MHz and 3.5 GHz. After receiving extensive user input, the committee completed its task and the resulting band plans were approved by the Board in July 2012. The committee has now received an additional assignment to conduct a similar update to the 6 and 3 centimeter bands.

In order to do this effectively, we need to know how various segments of these bands are now being utilized around the country. You can help us by sharing what you know about local usage in your area and by asking other users whom we may not have reached — both individuals and groups — to do the same.

Benefits of Band Plans
The FCC has left management of our highest bands to the Amateur Radio community. It’s up to us to promote activity on our bands and to minimize possible conflicts among incompatible uses. The increasing interest in microwaves for communication and experimentation — along with advances in technology and the proliferation of new digital modes — presents exciting opportunities for amateurs. Band plans should provide room for existing applications, for experimentation and for new uses and technologies.

Regulators are under pressure to find room for ever-expanding commercial and consumer technologies, and our slices of spectrum are at risk from such pressure. While our 5 and 10 GHz allocations are not under imminent threat from the government’s National Broadband Plan, sharing our collective internal knowledge of current practices and planned applications around the country is still beneficial in many respects.

The Update Process
The purpose of these band plans is not to tell you what to do or where to do it. Rather, it is to share information about how you are using our bands now and about future plans and projects that will make use of them. Thus, the first and most important step is to collect information from you so that we have a better picture of the various uses and projects going on around the country. We know that practices may differ from one geographic region to another, often driven by local conditions or needs. We also recognize constraints that will prevent one plan from fitting every user group. Our current band plans defer to the formal determinations by regional frequency coordinating bodies.

After gathering data, we will evaluate the range of uses and draft a revision for each of the bands under consideration. Those drafts will be published for your review and comment and amended as necessary, after which the proposed plans will be brought to the ARRL Board of Directors for final approval.

What We Need From You


You may know other amateurs or groups who are using — or have plans to use — the 6 and 3 centimeter bands. Please share this request for input with them and encourage them to respond. We’re not tallying “votes,” so collective input from user groups will be more helpful and faster to compile than multiple copies of the same data from individual group members.

During our work on the 33, 23, 13 and 9 centimeter bands, we also invited input concerning the 6, 3 and 1.25 centimeter bands for our later use. If you have already responded concerning these bands, we thank you for doing so. You do not need to submit your comments again, as we have them already compiled and will consider them during this round of the committee’s work.

If you have not previously submitted comments concerning our 6 and/or 3 centimeter allocations, we would like to hear from you. We ask that you use the forms below to record your own input, whether as an individual or representing a group, and use the accompanying reply format in order to help speed the compiling of the responses. Use a separate page for each band for which you wish to provide input. If you feel the need to provide more lengthy explanations or discussion, please see “Submitting Additional Information” below.

  • Column 1: The general frequency range of each activity, in decimal megahertz.
  • Column 2: The mode or modulation type employed, using common descriptors such as FM voice, ATV or video, high-speed data, weak-signal digital or FCC designators.


  • Column 3: The approximate bandwidth (in kilohertz) of an individual signal and the number of simultaneous signals needed to perform the function or application.
  • Column 4: A description of the function or activity, such as repeater control, D-STAR data link, satellite input/output, real-time video, voice repeater output, EME or weak-signal terrestrial.
  • Column 5: Whether the activity is current (“C”), under development (“D”) or proposed for the future (“F”).
  • Column 6: Reasons for selecting a specific band or segment for the activity and/or any conditions that would preclude conducting the activity in another segment of the same band or on a different band, such as operating limits of modified commercial gear, noise between xxx and yyy MHz from adjacent non-amateur bands, frequency restrictions faced by operators in other countries / regions, unique propagation characteristics or existing satellite frequencies.

Submitting Additional Information
We also welcome comments that you think would be helpful in completing their work. If, for example, you have specific knowledge as to trends in the use of adjacent non-amateur bands or expansion by primary users where we are secondary that may impact the future use of our bands, please share it with our Microwave Band Plan Committee as a separate narrative.

Please submit your response via e-mail or via an online form by January 14, 2013. If you have questions about the reporting format, you may direct them to the same e-mail address.

Thank you for helping us to collect this important information.

Rick Roderick, K5UR
ARRL Microwave Band

The Maritime Mobile Service Network Celebrates 45 years of service

Read by:ED KE4JWS

Thursday, January 3, 2013, marks the 45th Anniversary of the “Maritime Mobile Service Network”. The need for the type of volunteer service provided by the network had existed for many years. The launching of an organization to meet this need was placed on the drawing board when nine (9) amateur radio operators met at the home of Chaplain Alla Winston Robertson, USN, WB4AKB (now KB5YX) on December 27, 1967. Those meeting with Robertson were: S.C. Rock, WA4YVQ; Mel White, WA4IQS; D. Freeman, K1YLI; J.G. Kincade, WA4YVX; Art Werner, K3QYQ; H. Bretches, K4DBR; L.B. Lapman, W4SAW; and G.W. Powell, WA4RRO. This group agreed to launch the Maritime Mobile Service Network, or MMSN, on January 3, 1968 at 2130 UTC on 14.320 MHz but had to move to 14.317 MHz a few weeks later to avoid excessive interference. In 1969, when the net moved to 14.313 MHz, it also established 14.300 MHz as an alternate working frequency and for years operated on either frequency depending on nearby interference, but, since before 2000, the net has been operating exclusively on 14.300 MHz.


The original purpose of the MMSN was to “Serve Those Who Serve” in the United States military during the Vietnam crisis. Since that time, the network has grown considerably in hours of operation and services provided and consist of a dedicated group of Radio Amateurs who unselfishly volunteer their time, equipment, and efforts to serve and assist those in need of communications from foreign countries and the high seas.

Our primary purpose now is that of handling legal third party traffic from maritime mobiles, both pleasure and commercial and overseas-deployed military personnel. We also help missionaries in foreign countries, and volunteer net control stations from throughout North America maintain the network. Furthermore, these stations are assisted by relay stations to ensure total coverage of the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean & Caribbean Seas, and eastern Pacific Ocean. The network, in particular, has been formally recognized for it’s work with emergency traffic by the Dept. of Homeland Security, the United States Coast Guard and the National Weather Service, to mention a few.


The Maritime Mobile Service Network has grown in hours of operation from a 5 hour net operating 7 days a week to the 9 hour format today which is from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm Eastern Time during daylight savings time and until 9:00 pm during standard time. In the early years, phone patch traffic was heavy, estimating over 10,000 pieces of traffic handled each year from 1968-1977. One of our net control stations (Dave Wagner, WA2DXQ in Fort Lauderdale, FL) ran well over 1000 phone patches during the 2 year period of 1977-1978, mostly to United States Navy (USN) ships in the Mediterranean and Red Sea but also to a few missionaries and both private and commercial vessels. Though the need for phone patch traffic has diminished considerably over the past 15 to 20 years, the need is still there. If it hadn’t been for a number of our net control stations equipped with a phone patch, some rescues the net’s been involved in would not have been as successful. Many mariners in the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America and the Gulf of Mexico view the network as a resource for weather information as well as a safety valve and trusted contact point for essential communications.


In 2003, the late Frank Kelley, N3FK, said “I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about a great lady who used the net to get assistance with numerous medical problems. She was Ruth Paz, HR2RP, located in San Pedro Sula in Honduras”. Frank was stationed in Panama from 1975-1977, and Ruth was a net control station for the MMSN during that time. Continuing, he stated “Ruth was a nurse and was the only medical type person in her area. She used the net to get medical advice, medical evacuations and medicine in and out of Honduras. While I was stationed in the Canal Zone, Ruth ran many patches to the Gorgas Army Hospital in Panama. She used the tropical disease section on Gorgas to save and help many people from Honduras, many of whom were bitten by exotic creatures. At the time Gorgas was the place for anything tropical.” Today phone patch traffic has subsided, but there remain some net control stations to help with many of the missionaries and doctors in various locations with phone patch and assisting physicians to find needed help they can’t otherwise obtain.

Read by:RICK N9GRW

Since March 2000, the net’s been featured in many publications such as QST (including network television news magazines) demonstrating help and rescue of people in life and death situations. There have been two notable rescues nearly one year apart: the S/V Hayat on March 27, 2000 off the northeast coast of Honduras and the S/V Lorna on March 20, 2001 off the northeast coast of Venezuela and west of Trinidad. In each case, one passenger was seriously injured from gun fire from modern day pirates and thankfully both survived. The Maritime Mobile Service Network has a legacy of service which will continue due to the selfless volunteer amateur radio operators donating their time to train and be ready to help each and everyday. Without such devotion, the net wouldn’t be able to do what it does. As a member, I want to say a big thank you to all who’ve served in the past as well as those serving now. It’s been a great 45 years, and may the net last to see another 45 years and more.

In honor of celebrating our 45th anniversary, the Maritime Mobile Service Network will unveil a new website design as well as announcing our presence on FaceBook on Thursday, January 3, 2013. We welcome everyone to visit our new-look website as well as signing our new “Guest Book” and liking us on FaceBook.

Best Regards,
Bobby Graves, KB5HAV

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