From the ARRL letter for March 14, 2019
The FCC has invited public comments on ARRL’s 2018 Petition for Rule Making, now designated as RM-11828, which asks the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. Interested parties have 30 days to comment. The Technician enhancement proposals stemmed from the recommendations of the ARRL Board of Directors’ Entry-Level License Committee, which explored various initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.
“This action will enhance the available license operating privileges in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the Amateur Service,” ARRL said in its Petition. “It will attract more newcomers to Amateur Radio, it will result in increased retention of licensees who hold Technician Class licenses, and it will provide an improved incentive for entry-level licensees to increase technical self-training and pursue higher license class achievement and development of communications skills.”
Specifically, ARRL proposes to provide present and future Technician licensees:
- Phone privileges at 3.900 to 4.000 MHz, 7.225 to 7.300 MHz, and 21.350 to 21.450 MHz
- RTTY and digital privileges in current Technician allocations on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters.
Under the ARRL plan, the maximum HF power level for Technician operators would remain at 200 W PEP. ARRL’s petition points to the need for compelling incentives not only to become a radio amateur in the first place, but then to upgrade and further develop skills.
ARRL stressed in its petition the urgency of making the license more attractive to newcomers, in part to improve upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
The ARRL Board’s ad hoc Entry-Level License Committee, which recommended the proposals, received significant input from ARRL members via more than 8,000 survey responses.
Now numbering some 384,500 licensees, Technicians comprise more than half of the US Amateur Radio population. ARRL stressed in its petition the urgency of making the license more attractive to newcomers, in part to improve upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, “that inescapably accompanies a healthy, growing Amateur Radio Service.” ARRL said its proposal is critical to develop improved operating skills, increasing emergency preparedness participation, improving technical self-training, and boosting overall growth in the Amateur Service, which has remained nearly inert at about 1% per year.