ARRL Request for Higher Amateur Transmission Rates During Hurricane Ida Response Granted
Tuesday, August 31, 2021 | Comments

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) granted a request from the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) for a temporary waiver to allow amateur radio users to transmit at a higher symbol rate to help facilitate relief communications following Hurricane Ida.

The FCC’s rules limit the symbol rate for high frequency (HF) amateur radioteletype (RTTY)/data transmissions to 300 bauds for frequencies below 28 MHz and 1,200 bauds in the 28 – 29.7 MHz band. The digital code transmitting must be one of the codes specified in the FCC’s rules, but an amateur radio transmitting a RTTY or data emission using one of the specified digital codes may use any technique whose technical characteristics have been publicly documented, such as CLOVER, G-TOR or PACTOR.

ARRL requested the waiver for licensed amateur radio users directly involved in hurricane relief via HF amateur radio using PACTOR and VARA modems. The ARRL pointed out that the FCC had granted similar requests during hurricanes Laura, Maria and Dorian.

ARRL said that trained amateur radio operators are prepared to assist federal state and local emergency management officials to assist with disaster relief communications. Many of those ready to assist have equipment that includes radio modems capable of higher data rates that are not currently permitted in the rules but are critical to sending hurricane relief communications including lists of needed and distributed supplies.

The FCC concluded that granting the ARRL’s request was in the public interest. It noted that Hurricane Ida has caused significant damage, including disruption to electricity and communications services.

The FCC granted the request for a period of 60 days.

Find the full order here.

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