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Thursday, April 1, 2021

FCC to Ban "Legacy" Equipment and Circuitry


From the FCC Newsline: 

Out with the old

In a long-expected policy move, the Federal Communications Commission today announced that starting on April 2, 2022,  all equipment in use by the amateur radio service must comply with strict emission purity standards.  The Commission's rule-making focuses on the bandwidth of high frequency transceivers.   Starting one year from tomorrow,  amateur equipment will be limited to a bandwidth of 3500 cycles per second.   Emissions outside the bandwidth limits must be at least 100 db below the average power in the bandpass.  In effect, this means that amateur equipment must make use of the kind of "brick wall"  filtering only available from software defined equipment.   Bringing the service into conformity with commercial practices, all high frequency equipment will be on Upper Sideband.  

"No more skirts" 

An FCC official -- who requested anonymity because of "threats"  -- told Newsline that part of the motivation behind today's announcement was a desire to end the unseemly discussion of the filter "skirts" of "legacy" ham radio gear:  "Obviously there were concerns about the pejorative way many hams were referring to 'the skirts.'  This is the 21st century!  It was time to be more inclusive!" 

Audio Tinkering to Continue

The FCC official told Newsline that the Commission is not in any way attempting to discourage hams from tinkering with the "audio quality" of their commercial SDR equipment: "As long as they keep the bandwidth to 3500 Hz, they can tinker and adjust to their hearts' content," said the official.  He went on to use some of the colorful language recently heard on the ham bands: "If they want to include very low audio frequencies -- what some call 'the thunder down under' they can do that.  Or if they want to emphasize the high frequencies -- for that "Krispy Kreme" sound -- they can do that too.   All they have to do is learn how to set  the menus on their equipment. We understand that the manufacturers will soon be making available software packages that will -- with just a simple download -- set the menus according to the desires of the consumer. Uh,  I mean of the radio amateur." 

The FCC official said he thinks the ruling will actually encourage and facilitate audio tweaking. "We know this is important to modern hams.  It makes them feel connected to the days when hams actually built their own equipment.  We have noticed the development of an amazingly rich  technical vocabulary, terms like 'presence'  "muddy'  'bright'  and 'punchy' are now in common use.  Clearly the Commission would not want to stand in the way of this kind of technical advancement!"

Sinking the Boatanchors

The FCC acknowledged that this ruling spells the end for on-the-air use of  older ham equipment. "Clearly none of that old junk will meet the new requirements.  I mean these guys were literally using hunks of rock to filter their sidebands.  It was practically medieval!  Time to wake up, smell the decaffeinated coffee, and get with the SDR program OM!" 

Fears of violent push-back

The FCC official did acknowledge that there are fears of possible violent push-back from certain "sub-cultures" in the ham radio world.  "Working closely with our partners in Homeland Security, we have looked closely at the possibility of violent pushback.  Of particular concern are groups that appear to be fiercely loyal to what they sometimes defiantly refer to as 'Hardware Defined Radio.'   There are some truly frightening groups out there.  One group is called the CBLA -- The Color Burst Liberation Army.   They seem especially fond of quartz crystals and are radically opposed to the new SDR requirements.  Also of concern are groups that continue to insist on using Double Sideband Unsuppressed Phone generated by equipment using vacuum tube.  Vacuum tubes! They call them 'thermatrons.'  Again this is really medieval."  The spokesman said that the FBI is monitoring these groups, but is not very concerned because of the physical condition of many of the fanatics.  "Most of these guys rarely leave their homes.  In fact, for the last year many of them seem to have been repeating a strange "Stay in the Shack" mantra.  Many still smoke, never exercise, and now refuse to take the vaccine.  So we are not too worried, " said the FBI spokesman. 

Support from Industry and the Major Ham Organization

FCC officials tell Newsline that the major equipment manufacturers -- along with the principal ham radio organization -- were very supportive of this move, seeing it as a major opportunity to "stimulate" both sales and advertising revenue. 

16 comments:

  1. Stone knives and bear skins! CBLA FOREVER!


    -Posted for a friend

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  2. I will be burying some of my older transceivers and transmitters in my back yard until this whole thing blows over. My wife is still unhappy with me from because of the other stuff I buried from Y2K.Oh the humanities!

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  3. Absolutely brilliant! The transition in the article was perfectly executed!

    I can relax now! Whoo, that was a close one!

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  4. Once the ground thaws, the CBLA along the northern frontier will be digging our trenches yet even deeper. CBLA !!!

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  5. In an outrage I threw all my BA's out the 2nd story shack window. That poor Amazon delivery man happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time! Ironically he was delivering my new chinese SDR transceiver. Anyone know a good lawyer?

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    Replies
    1. We recommend our attorneys at Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe. They are THE BEST!

      Delete
  6. When I first heard about this I started designing a replacement for the offending skirts. I was still working on this and my hands are almost too cramped from winding toroids to type but by posting this you have forced me to release it early. I am pleased to introduce Kilohertz Induction Limiting Technology or KILTs. Your comment section will not let me post a schematic but it works by utilizing Asynchronous Signal Suppression or ASS. By removing High Energy Amplified Distortion or HEAD, the new filter design will help you get your HEAD out of your ASS. I am looking for investors and am optimistic you will realize at least a 4/1 return on your money.

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    1. FANTASTIC Doug! I'm really glad to hear of this UNBELIEVABLE technological breakthrough. As they say, every dark cloud has a silver lining! FB OM! 73 Bill

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  7. You guys always deliver! I'm still pissed about
    Pete getting kicked out of the hall of fame! The outrage of it all!

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  8. Only 3500 Hz bandwidth?! Sounds like the doings of High-QAnon!

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  9. You bastard...you got me! I was PISSED when I started reading it...then I saw the comments.
    73 OM de AA9GG

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    1. Thanks for the honest confirmation. Take heart -- you are not alone. More than 1600 concerned radio amateurs read that very disturbing report. 73 es GL w FCC OM. Bill

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  10. Remember the design from the well known Lirpa loof AP1RIL who came up with a design and circuit diagram for a rig with exactly the correct parameters.
    Must did out the article. 73 de Bill G0ELZ CW Only never lonely.

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  11. Lately I was concern about the introduction of the QCX SSB transceiver and two years later along came the uSDX rig that has no alignment caps or coils or resistors. I knew something was about to change when your report about the new regulations. A single knob and three push buttons and a mike PTT and loaded software that we need a degree to operate.

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