ARRL Gets Waiver for Higher Data Transmissions in Puerto Rico
Friday, October 06, 2017 | Comments

The FCC granted a request filed by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) for a temporary waiver to permit amateur data transmissions at a higher symbol rate than is permitted by the commission’s rules to facilitate hurricane relief.

ARRL has dispatched large amounts of communications equipment and 50 trained amateur radio operators to Puerto Rico to conduct disaster relief communications. ARRL asserts that the higher data rates are critical to sending hurricane relief communications.

“We conclude that granting the requested waiver is in the public interest,” the order said. “Hurricane Maria caused massive destruction in Puerto Rico, and communications services continue to be disrupted.”

The FCC granted the ARRL’s waiver request for 60 days. The waiver is limited to amateur radio operators in Puerto Rico using PACTOR 3 and PACTOR 4 emissions, and to those licensed amateur radio operators in the continental United States who are directly involved with HF hurricane relief communications involving Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In 2016, in response to an ARRL petition for rulemaking, the commission proposed to remove the symbol rate limitations, which it tentatively concluded had become unnecessary because of advances in modulation techniques and no longer served a useful purpose. That proceeding is pending, but there is consensus among submitted comments for eliminating the symbol rate limits.

The full order is here.

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