FCC Corrects J2D Error in "Omnibus" Report and Order

NEWINGTON, CT, Nov 28, 2006 -- The FCC today released an Erratum that corrects one error in the recent Report and Order (R&O) in WT Docket 04-140 -- the so-called "omnibus" Amateur Radio proceeding -- that inadvertently limited J2D emissions to an occupied bandwidth of 500 Hz. J2D emissions are data sent by modulating an SSB transmitter. Had it been left to stand, the error would have rendered illegal below 30 MHz PACTOR III at full capability as well as Olivia and MT63 when operated at bandwidths greater than 500 Hz bandwidth, 1200 baud packet, Q15X25 and Clover 2000.

The FCC Erratum revises 97.3(c)(2) of the Amateur Service rules going into effect December 15 to read:

Data. Telemetry, telecommand and computer communications emissions having (i) designators with A, C, D, F, G, H, J or R as the first symbol, 1 as the second symbol, and D as the third symbol; (ii) emission J2D; and (iii) emissions A1C, F1C, F2C, J2C, and J3C having an occupied bandwidth of 500 Hz or less when transmitted on an amateur service frequency below 30 MHz. Only a digital code of a type specifically authorized in this part may be transmitted.

In its comments on the proceeding, the ARRL argued that a 500-Hz bandwidth limitation in the definition of data emissions would have unintended consequences because the limitation would also apply to Amateur Radio bands where a higher bandwidth is allowed. In its R&O, the FCC said relaxing the bandwidth limitation "would de facto eliminate the separation of narrow bandwidth and wide bandwidth emissions," which it called an "reasonable means to minimize interference on shared frequencies and bands."

The Commission said in the running text of the R&O that it would address the League's concern by revising the Part 97 rules "to clarify that the 500 Hz limitation applies only to the emission types we are adding to the definition of data when transmitted on Amateur Service frequencies below 30 MHz."

Unfortunately, the language of the intended revision that appeared in the original version of the R&O inadvertently included J2D emissions among those to which the 500-Hz bandwidth limitation would apply.

The FCC incorporated some unrelated editorial revisions in the version of the R&O that appeared November 15 in the Federal Register. The "omnibus" rule changes -- including those accounted for in the Federal Register and the Erratum -- take effect Friday, December 15, at 12:01 AM EST (0501 UTC).