Bill Introduced to Replace Symbol Rate With Bandwidth Limit

Days before the end of the current congressional session, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 9664) to require that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) replace the current HF digital symbol rate limit with a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limit.

Unfortunately due to the timing of the introduction of this minor piece of legislation there is little chance of its consideration during the current congressional session.

WASHINGTON, D.C—[On December 21, 2022], U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) introduced the Amateur Radio Communications Improvement Act to eliminate the current Symbol Rate Limit set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and replace it with a 2.8 kilohertz (kHz) bandwidth limit. The bill brings regulations up to speed with modern technology advances in amateur radio.

“With advances in our modern technology, increased amounts of data can be put on the spectrum, so there is less of a need for a regulatory limit on symbol rates,” said Congresswoman Lesko. “I am pleased to introduce this important piece of legislation to update the FCC’s rules to support the critical role amateur radio operators play and better reflect the capabilities of our modern radio technology.”

This legislation eliminates the Symbol Rate Limit in 47 CFR part 97, and replace it with the 2.8kHz bandwidth limit. 2.8kHz is already used to set the maximum bandwidth of an amateur station in the 60-meter band. 1

The full text of the bill (PDF) has been published by ARRL.

Optimistic statements from Representative Lesko; ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR; and ARRL Legislative Committee Chairman John Robert Stratton, N5AUS; are included in the Rep. Lesko Introduces Bill to Replace Symbol Rate Limit with Bandwidth Limit ARRL News article.

Discussion of this bill is occuring in the Amateur Radio subreddit, on twitter and in the Fediverse with #symbolrate, and in many other online fora.

  1. “Lesko Introduces Bill to Protect Amateur Radio”, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, accessed December 23 2022,↩︎