Special Bulletin – Your Action Needed to Save 60 Meter Band

Dear ARRL Northwestern Division Member:
We need your assistance, and we need it NOW.  We strongly encourage you to assist the ARRL and the entire U.S. Amateur Radio community by submitting comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) before October 30th to save the privileges we have fought to gain on 60 meters.  Even if you are not currently active on 60 meters, the proposed reduction in power from 100 watts to an equivalent of less than 10 watts is the most sweeping reduction of HF privileges in decades.  If Amateur Radio opposition to this proposed change is weak and the FCC goes through with the change, will a lackluster response from the Amateur Radio community embolden the FCC to remove or modify more HF privileges?
Please read this message in full to understand why your help is needed prior to submitting your comments.
 The FCC has issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking’s (NPRM) Docket Number 23-120 which would reduce power on 60 meters from 100 watts ERP (Effective Radiated Power) to the equivalent of 9.5 watts ERP.  The NPRM would replace the current five channels (currently each with a 100-watt power limit) with a 15 KHz continuous spectrum from 5351.5 to 5366.5 KHz, but limiting power to the equivalent of 9.5 watts ERP.  ARRL is proposing to keep the current five channels AND add the docket’s proposed 15 KHz of continuous spectrum, all at a power level of 100 watts ERP. 
 It is important to note that in 2022 our neighbor, Canada, enacted ARRL’s position by keeping the five current channels AND adding the expanded 15 KHz of continuous spectrum, all at 100 watts.  ARRL is advocating for the FCC to adopt the identical allocations and power limits which Canada put in place over a year ago. 
 When the FCC authorized 60-meter access for Amateur Radio operators in July 2003, the Commission cited the positive propagation attributes for emergency communications.  Over the past twenty years during hurricanes, Caribbean Amateur Radio stations used 60 meters to relay critical weather and situational reports to U.S. operators.  Clearly, 9.5 watts ERP would be woefully inadequate to maintain communications for these purposes.
In the May 2023 ARRL survey, members overwhelmingly pointed to Spectrum Defense as the #1 priority of the League.  The ARRL takes this priority seriously.  For the maximum impact, the FCC needs to hear from ARRL members across the country to underscore the importance of 60 meters in our densely populated region on the eastern seaboard situated between active hurricane zones and our nation’s capital of Washington, DC. The Gulf States where hurricanes have had catastrophic effects on communication systems, and the Pacific Northwest where the predicted Cascadia Earthquake is a daily threat.  Having a consistent band plan with Canada will also ensure harmonious communications throughout most of North America.
 PLEASE support the ARRL’s filing in this matter.
 To learn more about the NPRM and its impact on our 60-meter privileges, please visit . On this webpage you will find the links to file comments with the FCC.  Please do not delay.  A substantial response from the Ham community before the October 30 deadline is the only way to forestall the loss of our valued operating privileges.  Please urge your fellow Hams to file comments as well.  Protection of our Amateur Radio spectrum is our number one priority.
 73 de
Mike Ritz W7VO
Northwestern Division Director
Mark J. Tharp KB7HDX
Northwestern Division Vice Director

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