It does not appear that US radio amateurs will gain a new band at 70 MHz anytime soon. The FCC has denied a Petition for Rule Making filed earlier this year by Glen E. Zook, K9STH, of Richardson, Texas, seeking to add a 4 meter band to Amateur Radio’s inventory of VHF allocations. Zook had floated the proposal in 2010, and his petition was dated January 27, 2010, but the FCC said it did not receive it until last May. Zook asked the Commission to allocate 70.0 to 70.5 MHz to Amateur Radio because, Zook’s Petition asserted, “the recent migration of broadcast television stations to primarily UHF frequencies basically eliminates any probable interference to television channels 4 or 5.” VHF TV channel 4 occupies 66 to 72 MHz.
“Because the Zook Petition is based on a faulty premise — that broadcasting use within the 70.0-70.5 MHz band will diminish or cease — its argument that amateur band users could operate without causing harmful interference to any existing service lacks sufficient support to warrant our further consideration, The FCC said in a September 17 Order denying the Petition.
The FCC pointed out that three full-power TV stations, 110 low-power TV stations and translators, and six Class A TV station now occupy channel 4 in the US. In addition, the Commission, through an “ongoing incentive auction proceeding,” is attempting to “repurpose” a portion of television broadcast spectrum for broadband operations and “repack the remaining TV stations into a smaller frequency range.” Under certain scenarios, the FCC said, channel 4 could become even more heavily populated by broadcast users in the future.
“Given the complexity of the of the incentive auction proceeding, we also conclude that it would not serve the public interest to further complicate that unique undertaking by proposing to introduce a new service into the broadcasting frequencies at this time,” the FCC said. The Order noted that fixed and mobile services will continue to operate in the frequencies between channels 4 and 5 (76 to 82 MHz).
As Zook noted in his petition, a 4 meter band has been authorized for Amateur Radio use in the UK and in a number of other European and African countries. The FCC said that since it wasn’t planning to grant Zook’s petition, it declined to evaluate his claims “regarding the benefits that amateurs would derive from use of the band.” Zook’s original proposal asked to have the FCC open up the allocation to all classes of Amateur Radio licensees.
Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, operated an Experimental Service beacon transmitter from Virginia on 70.005 MHz under the call sign WE9XFT. At the time his Experimental license was granted in 2010, Justin told the ARRL that he was not seeking to have the FCC create a 4 meter band. “This beacon is purely for radio science for use as an E-skip detection device,” he explained.