March 6, 2015
Comments are due by April 6 on an FCC proceeding that could lead to expanded spectrum for various radar applications in the 76-81 GHz band, which Amateur Radio shares with other services. The band 77.5-78 GHz is allocated to the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services on a primary basis, and to the Radio Astronomy and Space Research services on a secondary basis. The FCC released a detailed Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Reconsideration Order(NPRM&RO) in ET Docket 15-26 on February 5. The Commission said the proposals include allocation changes as well as provisions “to ensure that new and incumbent operations can share the available frequencies in the band.”
The ARRL will file comments in the FCC proceeding. Reply comments (ie, comments on comments filed by the April 5 deadline) are due by April 20.
The FCC NPRM&RO was in response to a 2012 Petition for Rulemaking (RM-11666) from Robert Bosch LLC and to two petitions for reconsideration of the Commission’s 2012 Report and Order (R&O) addressing vehicular radar systems in the 76-77 GHz band. ET 15-26 incorporates earlier proceedings. Among many issues, the FCC seeks comment on the possibility of reallocating the Amateur Radio and Amateur Satellite services from 76-81 GHz, and it asks for suggestions on “alternative spectrum that we might make available in this general region.”
Bosch’s 2012 Petition sought to modify the FCC’s Part 15 rules to expand the operation of unlicensed vehicular radar systems from 76-77 GHz to the 76-81 GHz band to develop short-range radar (SRR) applications. Noting that it “has previously recognized evidence of potential interference conflicts” between Amateur Radio and vehicular radar systems in the 76-77 GHz band, the FCC said it believes the potential for “similar compatibility issues” could exist above 77 GHz. More than 10 years ago the FCC suspended Amateur Radio and Amateur Satellite operation in the 76-77 GHz segment and recently extended the suspension.
“Our goal is to adopt rules that address amateur use, including Amateur Satellite use, within the 76-81 GHz band in a comprehensive and consistent manner,” the FCC has asserted.
The FCC said that to the extent commenters believe Amateur Radio can continue to use the 4 millimeter band, it seeks comments on “what additional rule modifications we would have to adopt to realize successful shared use of the entire band.” One possibility the FCC raised was altering current amateur power limits in that portion of the spectrum. The Commission said it also wants to “develop a record on the types of amateur use, and the extent of such use, that is currently undertaken” at 4 millimeters.
Individuals with disabilities should contact the FCC to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc) via e-mail [FCC504@fcc.gov] or by calling 202-418-0530 or TTY 202-418-0432.