CBWI September 2001 CB’er Unite After Petition To Eliminate 155.3 Mile Restriction Denied
A Little Background
On or about February 24, 200, Mr. Alan Dixon, N3HOE, filed a petition with the FCC to remove the 250km (155.3 mi.) distance limit for contacts on CB radio. It received strong opposition from both the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League) and the NAB. (National Association of Broadcasters) The ARRL’s comments taken from their Minutes of the Executive Committee, Number 463 held in Irving, Texas – April 1, 2000, were as follows, “The ARRL has commented in opposition to a petition, RM-9807, by Alan Dixon seeking the elimination of the CB rule prohibiting communication over distances greater than 250 km.
The ARRL comments note that long-distance communication is contrary to the fundamental purpose of the CB Radio Service and that legalizing it would encourage the use of illegal power amplifiers. Individuals who have a serious interest in long-distance propagation have ample opportunity to pursue this interest in the Amateur Radio Service. The FCC is expected to dismiss the petition.”Although the argument presented above is plainly silly to many that have been active on CB, the petition was denied by the FCC on August 18, 2000.
The FCC stated, “Dixon’s request is inconsistent with the purpose of the CB Radio Service and could fundamentally alter the nature of the service.” The FCC also said CB operators generally supported the proposal and stated that the present rule was unenforceable. “The Amateur Radio Service is the proper forum for the desired long-distance communications sought by the Dixon petition,” the ARRL told the FCC in opposition to the petition.
The FCC agreed with the ARRL and said it did not intend to create a service paralleling the Amateur Service when it authorized the Citizens Radio Service. “Amending the rules to permit long-distance and international communications would undermine the purpose of the CB Radio Service rules and compromise one of the core distinctions between the CB Radio Service and the Amateur Radio Service,” the FCC concluded.
A Little Reality
Although CB was originally intended to be a short distance radio service, it has evolved into a pseudo-hobby radio service, which supports long-distance contacts. This is not a personal wish list nor is it supposition; it’s a dose of reality. When the FCC stopped requiring licensing of CB stations and went AWOL with respect to enforcement of Part 95, many took this as an unofficial statement of “anything goes” from the FCC.
While many others and I neither condone nor encourage illegal activities on CB or 11-meter frequencies, I certainly don’t feel that retaining an admittedly unenforceable rule discourages this activity. Only the return of the FCC to its Part 95 enforcement responsibilities can do that.
Thus, the argument that by removing the distance limit and allowing DX communications on CB would “encourage the use of illegal power amplifiers” is specious, at best. The reconsideration of RM-9807 has just recently been denied as well. Mr. Dixon requested that the verbiage be modified to exclude emergency communications. I personally believe a different approach is needed.
Put pressure on our political representatives. Ask them why a private interest group, to which I myself belong, was able to sway the decision of the FCC over the objections of the affected constituency? The FCC admitted knowing that “CB operators generally supported the proposal.” I understand that the ITU treaty agreement precludes access to the high-frequency spectrum without a demonstrated proficiency in Morse code.
This is why the CB service was allocated and a short-range service. However, with the anticipated removal of the Morse requirement in 2003, the FCC didn’t even bother to discuss the possible options. How about having a basic written Morse exam administered in conjunction with the return of licensing to CB? Only those with endorsed licenses would be allowed to engage in DX activity, ITU issue resolved!
I have taken the liberty of having two styles of bumper stickers made which read ‘I Work 11-Meter DX…& I VOTE! Remove The 155.3 Mile Limit On CB.’ The purpose here is to increase the visibility of DX activity on CB. Let’s face it; although there are literally millions of 11-meter operators, most of our elected leadership is unaware of the popularity of CB for SSB enthusiasts…much less the RM-9807 fiasco.
The point here is NOT to advertise the breaking of an FCC Part 95 rule; it’s to increase the awareness of politicians. Although I display these bumper stickers proudly on my own personal vehicles, you won’t find me actively “working DX” on 11-meters. Subsequent e-mails and/or letters to our local, state, and federal elected officials might then take on more meaning after seeing some of these messages on the road, day after day.
Who knows, the next RM-10, xxx might then be treated with a little more consideration when a congressman/woman asks about this “155.3 mile limit thing” before signing the next FCC budget allocation document? I’ve provided the first one hundred free of charge, including postage, to anybody on the USENET newsgroup rec.radio.cb who has requested one. This is my personal contribution to “the cause.”
To date, I’ve sent out just over eighty stickers, far exceeding my initial expectations. I will now require $1.50 to cover the cost of additional examples with no profit to myself. I also encourage anyone and everyone to employ the services of www.makestickers.com to manufacture their own stickers supporting the removal of this rule. The cost of 50 custom bumper stickers is $64.95, with the quality being excellent.
I’ve had some fellow amateur radio operators query me on why I support such a proposal. My response is because I believe in it. I think it’s a good “training ground” for more experienced amateurs to drop in and show them what’s possible with a mere 12 watts. I feel it’s far better to try to change or remove an unjust rule/law using the correct protocol than simply ignoring it and continuing to violate it.
It’s also a message that the titles of CB and amateur radio operator need not be mutually exclusive. The recruiting aspect along with the “de-criminalization” of an activity that results from a natural phenomenon truly makes this a “no-brainer.” I hope that many of you reading these words will take a moment to send a few words in support to your respective representatives via e-mail or “snail-mail.”