7 MC.

We're still receiving more letters than we should on the subject of foreign 'phone stations "invading" our 7-Mc. band and urging us to initiate action to get these interlopers chased out. It indicates a general misunderstanding of regulations covering activity in this band. We thought we had explained it adequately; perhaps not, so let's try again.

Under the international regulations current in effect (Cairo, 1938), 7000–7300 kc. is allocated exclusively to the amateur service in our hemisphere. In the rest of the world, 7000–7200 is amateur, and 7200–7300 is available to either amateur or broadcasting, at the discretion of each national administration (in practice, broadcasting usually gets the priority nod). So, above 7200, we regularly hear broadcasting stations located in Europe, with transmissions directed at other parts of Europe or Africa or Asia, and usually with beam antennas, but audible here because of the high power used. Often, especially in the evening hours, the signal strength of each is great enough to wipe out a few kc. from usefulness for our amateur communication.

This is perfectly legal operation, quite in accord with the regulations. It derives from the inability of all nations of the world to agree on an allocation of 7000–7300 kc. at Cairo. There the American nations wanted the band exclusively for amateurs, worldwide; most of the others wanted to split it 50–50 between broadcasting and amateurs. No common agreement was found, even after weeks of negotiation. The result was that our hemisphere went in one direction, labeling the band exclusively amateur, and Europe and the rest of the world went in the other, marking 7000–7200 for amateur and the remainder of the band mainly for broadcasting. To any engineering mind this is a horrible example of allocation, since a regional "solution" was attempted on frequencies which are not regional in nature. But the engineering minds did not win at Cairo; the political ones did, demanding more space for high-frequency broadcasting. Inadequate as the regional concept is, for us it was deemed better than the alternative, which would have meant a worldwide split in the band between amateur and broadcasting.

It should hear be mentioned that Atlantic City in 1947 followed precisely the same routine as Cairo, except more so; the band remains exclusively amateur in this hemisphere, but broadcasting goes down to 7150, and even 7100–7150 may be used for outside-the-Americas broadcasting at the discretion of the national administrations. When Atlantic City goes into effect, we must expect more such interference. And there is nothing that can be done about it.

There are some of our enquirers who grant this point, but complain about the invading 'phones below 7200 kc., asking us to have them chased out. Again, this is operation strictly in according with international regulations, and therefore nothing can be done about it. The reason is that these are amateur phones. International regulations do not decree how an amateur band is to be whacked up as between various modes of emission; that is up to each national administration. Our Government (FCC) can set up the the 7000–7300 kc. band (or any other) as all c.w., as half 'phone and half c.w. (or any other proportion), or all 'phone. Or all f.s.k. teletype, or pulse, or anything else it wishes. Each other country possesses the same right. The difficulty arises from varying interests by the amateurs of different nations. To the south of us, Latin amateur interest is predominantly in voice; therefore, much or all of the 40-meter band is made available to those amateurs for voice operation. In this country and Canada there has not been sufficient sentiment, up to this point at least, in favor of voice privileges in this band to cause opening part or all of it to A3. But the amateur 'phones heard throughout 7 Mc. are not in violation of any regulation, national or international. They are operating their choice of emission, and and we are operating ours.

While we're on the subject of 7 Mc., and particularly since the League's Planning Committee is in process of studying the possibility of recommending to FCC that part of the band be opened to 'phone, let us answer a couple of other inquiries that occasionally appear in our correspondence these days. In effect they say, "We had 40-meter 'phone before the war; why don't we have it now?" — or, "We voted for 40-meter 'phone; why don't you request it of FCC?"

Both are based on misunderstandings. We did not have 40-meter 'phone before the war. We almost had it; not, however, by request of the League but as part of a temporary reorientation of our bands to permit loaning some other frequencies for military training purposes. The Air Force needed a couple of hundred kc. of our 80-meter band for pilot-training, late in 1941, which would have cut the 75-meter 'phone portion in two; as partial compensation for this loss to voice operators, it was arranged to open 7250–7300 kc. to 'phone. Strictly temporary and strictly as a remedial measure. As it happened, December 7th arrived before the arrangement went into effect, so the whole thing went out the window.

"We voted for 40-meter 'phone"? Nope. You are referring to polls of membership sentiment, of course. There have been three, according to our records; two on the basic subject, yes or no — and a third involving a special situation. The first was in 1935, which went 32% in favor of opening 7 Mc. to voice, 68% opposed. The second, and special, case was in 1939 and derived from the broadcast operations mentioned above, then just beginning; the question was, "If necessary to protect the regularity of amateur communication, in the event foreign broadcast interference in 7200–7300 kc. makes c.w. operation impractical there, would you be willing to permit that portion of the band to be made available for voice?"; the answer of amateurs was overwhelmingly yes, 82% in favor, 18% opposed. The third and most recent poll occurred in 1948, resulting in an expression of sentiment almost identical to the first poll in 1935; this time it was 31% in favor, 69% opposed.

But as to 7-Mc. 'phone solely on its own merits, despite the fact that previous recorded sentiment has never indicated that a majority of amateurs favor it as such, the Board has the ARRL Planning Committee at work studying the subject, as a part of the general policy of keeping an open mind on any matter and keeping close to the trends of amateur opinion so that the recommendations and decisions it makes may properly reflect the wishes of the membership.

From Arthur L. Budlong, "7 MC.," It Seems to Us, QST, December 1951, pages 9 and 10.