Things have been a little too quiet on the various ham radio email lists. That all changed when the FCC issued a Public Notice concerning RM-11392, a petition by Mark Miller N5RFX to modify the rules concerning digital emissions and automatic control. The petition is posted in two parts on the FCC web site: RM-11392 part 1, RM-11392 part 2. This is apparently the latest manifestation of the conflict around automatic digital messaging via the Winlink system. On the one hand, the Winlink folks are trying to implement an effective worldwide digital/email system that is valuable during emergency situations (read: Katrina). On the other hand, other users in the band are frustrated by spectrum used up by automated amateur radio stations, which may transmit on top of on-going amateur radio activity.
That is the short version of the story. I have tried to follow the deeper arguments about signal bandwidth, signal-to-noise ratio, the various forms of Pactor transmissions, the relative efficiency of various modes, etc. All I can conclude for sure is that this is another one of those religious debates that seem to be pop up from time to time. Dan KB6NU correctly points out that part of the problem is that people don’t understand the FCC rule making process. Email postings with titles like Will You Let FCC Kill Digital Radio Technology? certainly helps fuel the fire.
Mostly, I am just excited that we have moved beyond Code vs No Code to the next big thing to debate !!!
73, Bob K0NR