FCC Formally Adopts Proposals to Remove Amateur 3-GHz Band

On December 17, 2019, the ARRL website reported in an article titled “FCC Formally Adopts Proposals to Remove Amateur 3-GHz Band, Invites Comments":

At its December 12 meeting, the FCC formally adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in WT Docket 19-348 and invited comments on its plan to remove “existing non-federal secondary radiolocation and amateur allocations” in the 3.3 - 3.55 GHz band and relocate incumbent non-federal operations. The FCC said it’s seeking comment on appropriate “transition mechanisms” to make that happen. ARRL has indicated that it will file comments in opposition to the proposal.1

This action by the FCC signals their intent to proceed with reallocation of frequency spectrum in compliance with the MOBILE NOW act which states “the Commission shall make available a total of at least 255 megahertz of Federal and non-Federal spectrum below the frequency of 6000 megahertz for mobile and fixed wireless broadband use”2 and, in Sec. 5.3(a), specifically requires review of the 3.1–3.55 GHz band for reallocation.

The FCC said it is seeking comment on relocating non-federal licensees to another band. With respect to amateur operations, the FCC invited comments on whether sufficient amateur spectrum exists in other bands that can support the operations currently conducted at 3.3 - 3.5 GHz. The 3.40 - 3.41 GHz segment is earmarked for amateur satellite communication. “We seek comment on the extent to which the band is used for this purpose, whether existing satellites can operate on other amateur satellite bands, and on an appropriate timeframe for terminating these operations in this band,” the FCC said. If non-federal licensees are relocated to 3.1 - 3.3 GHz band, the FCC proposes that they continue to operate on a secondary basis to federal operations, consistent with current band allocations.3

Reallocation of the 3.3–3.55 GHz band will impact RRRA’s partially deployed—and yet to be utilized—AREDN backbone by requiring the replacement of equipment supporting several 3.4 GHz links. And it calls into question the future viability of hobbyist experimentation and investment in non-HF RF spectrum.

The ARRL article concludes with a quote from the AREDN Project and some useful information for interested parties who wish to submit comments pertaining to this matter.

“The AREDN Project is able to leverage low-cost commercial devices solely because they are designed to operate on adjacent allocations” AREDN said on its website. “Moving to other allocations would be difficult if not impossible without a complete redesign, manufacture, purchase, and installation of new custom amateur hardware and software…, raising the price out of reach for the typical ham.”

Interested parties may file short comments on WT Docket 19-348 via the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing Service (Express). Visit the FCC How to Comment on FCC Proceedings page for information on filing extended comments.4


  1. “FCC Formally Adopts Proposals to Remove Amateur 3-GHz Band, Invites Comments”, ARRL The national association for Amateur Radio, retrieved December 18 2019, http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-formally-adopts-proposals-to-remove-amateur-3-ghz-band-invites-comments. ↩︎

  2. “S. 19 (115th): MOBILE NOW Act”, govtrack, accessed December 18 2019, https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s19/text. ↩︎

  3. “ARRL General Bulletin ARLB024 (2019)”, ARRL The national association for Amateur Radio, retrieved December 19 2019, http://www.arrl.org/w1aw-bulletins-archive/ARLB024/2019. ↩︎

  4. “FCC Formally Adopts Proposals to Remove Amateur 3-GHz Band, Invites Comments”, ARRL The national association for Amateur Radio, retrieved December 18 2019, http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-formally-adopts-proposals-to-remove-amateur-3-ghz-band-invites-comments. ↩︎