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King Wants To Sell Out Ham Radio

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the ham-nation-indignation dept.

Communications 309

An anonymous reader writes "Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has introduced HR 607, the 'Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011,' which has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee (which handles telecommunications legislation). The bill would create a nationwide Public Safety broadband network using the so-called 'D-Block' of spectrum in the 700 MHz range for Public Safety use. But to pay for it, he wants to sell off 420-440 MHz, currently heavily used by the military, satellites and Amateur Radio operators."

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hehe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446202)

420...

You'll miss them in a disaster (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446240)

Laugh at the old Ham guys all you want. When a real disaster hits and the infrastructure goes down, I bet you'll be going to them and asking for their help.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446302)

Yes but they will not have a spectrum to be using. If they do not have a spectrum they won't have a License there-fore you won't have Ham Radio Operators.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (5, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446462)

The point is - removing spectrum from them is a bad idea.

Basically - in emergencies, the ham bands already DO get used for emergency purposes. It's on a volunteer basis, but it's almost unheard of for non-emergency hams to fail to vacate a frequency in favor of emergency users.

If you take 70cm away from hams, the end result will likely be:
You gain the band for emergency use (wait, you already effectively had it!)
You lose a lot of frustrated hams - so not only do you effectively lose the other ham bands, you lose a bunch of trained radio operators with emergency experience (or at least emergency training)

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1, Troll)

Illicon (1588477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446742)

it's almost unheard of for non-emergency hams to fail to vacate a frequency in favor of emergency users.

Holy triple negative, Batman!

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446546)

And that's exactly why he says they will be missed.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (3, Funny)

JD770 (1227350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446928)

Bah! All you young whipper-snappers and your fancy-pants centimeter-band radios makes my shingles act up!
Real men don't need anything north of 30 MHz! That's where you find the radios made of iron and glowing tubes!
Not these sickly, plastic-fantastic micro-circuited gizmos!

Now get off my yard!!

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (5, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446328)

Laugh at the old Ham guys all you want. When a real disaster hits and the infrastructure goes down, I bet you'll be going to them and asking for their help.

Yeah .. but when the world ends [imdb.com] , that will result in sending submarines to San Diego to track down morse keys that are being randomly tapped by coke bottles hooked into window shades that are blowing in the breeze

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (5, Funny)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446466)

To be fair, the coke bottle was one of the better actors in the film.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446506)

IIRC, that was actually a military transmitter they were receiving, not an amateur.

Disclaimer: I only read the book, I didn't see the movie.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

JonStewartMill (1463117) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446890)

I learned useful information from that book -- namely, that if threatened with death by radiation poisoning, you should get drunk and stay drunk. Something about alcohol slowing the effects of radiation, or something (I read it 40 years ago, gimme a break).

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446688)

It's a sad day when a brilliant reference like this goes un-moderated, washed up, on the beach, like so much flotsam.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446776)

And my mod points expired this morning, no less...

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446350)

While I agree with you, I think you missed the parent poster's joke. Of course, that makes the non-trivial assumption I understand the joke.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446368)

Of course we won't be going to them. What would they be able to do even if you could find one?

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (5, Informative)

coldfarnorth (799174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446830)

Two quick points:

1) They're everywhere. There are over 600,000 licensed amateur radio operators in the US. If you live in the US, odds are, a ham lives or works less than half a mile from you.
2) A quick example of what they can do:
    a) talk to people in the ISS
    b) access email from nearly anywhere on the planet (no cell coverage? no problem!)
    c) move information into and out of countries where infrastructure is not available or does not exist (Libya)
    d) provide communications networks for very large events (marathons, etc)
    e) tell emergency services to dig you out of your (mother's) hurricane-flattened house. (Ask the folks in New Orleans)

Hams are frequently very active in the public safety sphere. Don't mess with them.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1, Interesting)

devleopard (317515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446372)

We are so dependent on infrastructure, if we reached that level of disaster, I don't think it'd be a master of "asking" for help.

Reminds me of a client, whose former programmer was a conspiracy theorist. He was stocking up seeds, because he was convinced the economy was going to fail and seeds would be the new currency. However, he was also a pus^H^H^H^H pacifist, and didn't believe in owning guns. If it all hit the fan, the people with the guns would take his seed, one way or another.

tl;dr; Your doomsday heroes are ill-equipped for that reality

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

devleopard (317515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446398)

sp: "master"="matter"

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (0)

devleopard (317515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446480)

Durr.. I guess it's *finally* time to update my sig. Welcome to 2007, Slashdot!

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (3, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446388)

"I bet you'll be going to them and asking for their help."

Dot Dot Dot, Dot, Dash Dot, Dash Dot Dot - Dot Dash Dash Dot, Dash Dash Dash, Dot Dash Dot, Dash Dot

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (3, Informative)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446478)

Dot Dot Dot, Dot, Dash Dot, Dash Dot Dot - Dot Dash Dash Dot, Dash Dash Dash, Dot Dash Dot, Dash Dot

"Send porn"? You'd probably have to do that via SSTV, not CW.

Side note: if you're sending code phonetically it's di-di-dit dit da-dit da-di-dit ... di-da-da-dit da-da-dah di-da-dit da-dit.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (4, Interesting)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446414)

If /. had upvotes, I would give you one.

It's the HAMs -- the MacGuyvers of the radio world -- who all we computers geeks will turn to when the shit goes down. We could get packet radio up and running in days together, and have our own twitter.

But will we? (0, Flamebait)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446470)

I hear this a lot, that Ham radio is useful in disasters, but can anyone give some examples?

Is it useful to someone trapped in an earthquake zone for them to be able to contact someone outside their area? Surely nowadays everything around the world is pretty well monitored, isn't it? I'm think of things like the big tsunami a few years back, and the Australian flooding which we in the USA saw pretty much every detail of.

Aren't the circumstances where Ham radio is useful and no other form of modern communication technology would work also the same circumstances where nobody could help anyway?

I have friends who are into Ham radio, and I think it's kind of a neat hobby, but isn't the disaster recovery aspect of it kind of overstated?

That being said, selling off spectrum that's allocated internationally sounds like a non-starter. It's just not going to happen.

Re:But will we? (3, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446532)

Here's an example:
http://redcrossnw.wordpress.com/2007/12/13/amateur-radio-provides-lifeline-during-disaster/ [wordpress.com]

You could, y'know, use a fucking search engine and answer the question yourself, but then you wouldn't get a chance to be a belittling piece of shit on /.

Re:But will we? (4, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446602)

You could, y'know, use a fucking search engine and answer the question yourself, but then you wouldn't get a chance to be a belittling piece of shit on /.

Hey pot, I don't think you and kettle have been formally introduced yet.

Re:But will we? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446734)

Right because *he* asked the stupid question which could have been easily answered by a simple search.

Your ass should meet my foot.

You give hams a bad name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446798)

Looks like someone's spent too much time cooped up in the ham shack and maybe should spend more time learning about how to be around people.

Re:But will we? (4, Informative)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446538)

I hear this a lot, that Ham radio is useful in disasters, but can anyone give some examples?

I live in an area that's prone to flooding, this year especially. Every year, local hams provide the communications and logistics for sandbagging operations. A few years ago, there was also a chemical spill and some guys I know ended up acting as go-betweens for the police and fire department as well. They were put on the radio because of their experience.

On another note, a lot of hams are involved in storm spotting. Granted, there's not a lot they can do other than report but sometimes it does give people enough warning to get out of the way of a tornado.

Re:But will we? (-1, Troll)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446774)

Thats all just shit to make them feel useful. That is not at all required or needed. "I'm an experienced radio operator!" Wow, really? Nobody gives a shit, its not really a skill so much as something anybody in the world could do if they're old enough to talk. Its not about your damned radio, its about you being such a loser that you spend your time spotting storms and volunteering to use your "talent" because you don't have any real ones.

Re:But will we? (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446784)

A few years ago, there was also a chemical spill and some guys I know ended up acting as go-betweens for the police and fire department as well. They were put on the radio because of their experience.

They were put on the radio because police and fire departments have been buying incompatible coms equipment for years.

After the clusterfuck that was the 9/11 reponse, there has been a concerted push to get law enforcement, fire, EMS, military, and government all working on the same wavelength.
That's pretty much the entire point of this bill.

Obviously selling off part of the HAM spectrum is a stupid idea, but his goal of getting ALL responders onto one wavelength is long overdue.
Of course, once you put all the responders onto an encrypted channels in the 700MHz range, amateur radio will no longer be able to help.

Re:But will we? (5, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446544)

You ask a lot of questions.

We'll pick Katrina for an example. ARRL members swung into action and delivered the only real communications after phone went down and sat dishes were blown into surrounding counties. But this is a big example, smaller ones are equally as important when a tornado or hurricane just dropped by.

It's a hobby, and hams take things seriously with battery packs, survival gear, links into local emergency services, and knowledge of what works, what doesn't, and why.

Think of hams as radio hackers. Some are heroes, others are hobbyiests, some are both.

Re:But will we? (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446556)

When the Chinese, Chile and Indian Ocean quakes happened, Ham was the only ways to get data out of some areas.

Same goes for coordination during Hurricane Frances, 9/11, 2003 North America blackout and Hurricane Katrina.

Re:But will we? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446644)

The usefulness of ham radio operators during disasters is anything but overstated.

Follow this link -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio_emergency_communications -- and read paragraphs 4, 5 and 6.

Re:But will we? (4, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446650)

I was in a natural disaster a while ago where pretty much all communications went down (power was out, phone poles knocked down, taking out Internet connections and landlines, cell towers offline or overloaded) except radio stations and HAM. The HAM guys relayed their message to a HAM operator at the radio station who would broadcast requests for help.

Re:But will we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446698)

Even un-natural disasters need ham radio:

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_12108675

Re:But will we? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446702)

While not a disaster (usually!), I sometimes participate in athletic events that span large rural areas that have spotty or nonexistent cell phone coverage.

The ham radio guys step in to provide communications support and help coordinate emergency assistance when needed.

Here's a few of those events:

http://www.therelay.com/re_credits.htm [therelay.com]
http://tahoeamateurradio.com/dethride.htm [tahoeamateurradio.com]
http://hoodtocoast.com/ [hoodtocoast.com]

Re:But will we? (4, Informative)

michaelwigle (822387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446728)

Not necessarily. See this Wiki article for some recent examples http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio_emergency_communications [wikipedia.org] . The main thing is that even in the U.S. it's possible to lose cell phone and land line communications over large swaths of territory quickly depending on the emergency. Amateur radio operators have groups who intentionally train to step up with equipment and their own expertise to fill the communication void that can be created when the main forms of communication go down. You can also check out ARES at http://ares.org/ [ares.org] for more information. Emergency trained ham operators also often have training in severe weather spotting (tornado, etc) and basic first aid training. Those interested often participate in training on how to coordinate large amounts of communication and large numbers of different groups effectively with the ability to pass priority information faster than updates. All in all, when things are rough, these folks quickly and quietly step up, help get the job done, and then go back to their own (not their parents' :P) basement.

Re:But will we? (4, Interesting)

neorush (1103917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446786)

I live in Northern New York where there isn't even cell phone coverage. In 1999 there was an Ice Storm that put most people in 3 counties without power and phone for SEVERAL WEEKS in the winter time. There was no way for emergency services to communicate from even town to town because of the terrain and the reliance on repeaters. I sat in a firehouse one town over for 2 weeks with my rig and relayed information from ambulance to ambulance and town to town. This included communications for departments like the state police. You would be amazed how well prepared we were, and how unprepared your average government agency is. In fact we are now routinely called to participate in disaster training exercises because of that storm. Hams are an integral part of emergency communications where I live. Losing 70cm would suck.

Re:But will we? (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446874)

I'll tell you what's useful in disaster situations:

Food, and water. You exchange some food and water for the third essential element in life: Blowjobs.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446490)

I'm 26. I'm not old. Like any hobby there is a mix of old folks and young folks. Sadly us young folks are never heard about because we don't care about the politics and swap meets like the old timers do. We're also busy getting laid and whatnot, too.

To make matters worse, the part of the spectrum that jerk-ass is wanting to sell actually doesn't affect hams too much. 420 to 440 is used for TV and satellite downlinks in the amateur community, and is not used for repeaters or simplex operations. Repeaters and simplex are up between 440 and 450MHz. Us youngin's don't care about ATV whatsoever, and no matter who sells what the satellites will still keep transmitting on 438MHz like they always have.

While we don't care, we SHOULD care. If we let them sell this band off, they will think they can get away with selling, say, 2 meters. If we don't speak up and stop this now, there will be nothing to stop them from trying to sell off more and more of the spectrum, all for a few shiny pennies.

KD4PYR has a script that will generate a letter that you should print and send to your representative. It is located at http://www.kd4pyr.net/HamLetter.htm

I don't know how effective it would be, but, that is the process that we're supposed to go through to tell our representatives that we DO NOT WANT what they are doing. So, tell them.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446700)

We're also busy getting laid

Suuuuureeee....

No I won't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446646)

I've heard this line many times over, and let me tell you, as a professional in emergency services, we can't stand the hams.
We don't need their "help". We have our own digital trunking boxes that are light-years ahead of anything that any ham carries.
All they do is stand around thinking they have some kind of skill or authority, and lording it over others.
Anyone can be a ham, all you have to do is pass a 30-question multiple-choice quiz. Any idiot can memorize the answers, which are publicly posted.
I had to go to real training and take real tests and pass real physicals to earn my quals. The hams know nothing, do nothing, and are worth nothing.
Good riddance to every last one of you, take those stupid lights off your cars, and stay out the way of my goddamn apparatus.
Screw your "Red Dawn" scenario roleplay bullshit, I have REAL emergencies to attend to, where people REALLY die when things fuck up.

Re:No I won't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446692)

Hams that want to help in emergencies are supposed to take raining as well.

Re:No I won't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446770)

Have fun when your fancy digital trunking box can't communicate with any of the other services you need to

Re:No I won't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446872)

Never happened before, never gonna happen, and if it does happen, we have our own backup systems.

Re:No I won't (3, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446866)

Screw your "Red Dawn" scenario roleplay bullshit, I have REAL emergencies to attend to, where people REALLY die when things fuck up.

I thought that was why hams worked with the Red Cross for non-emergecny health and welfare communications. The EMS guys are busy looking for bodies to save and don't really care if Aunt Betty wants to tell her family that she's in a shelter and is ok. Even digital trunking radios have capacity limitations, so wouldn't you rather have non-essential communications going out over a separate radio network?

The hams know much more about signal propagation and antenna design than any EMS worker ever needs to know. If the earthquake takes out your repeater tower, you're going to be begging the hams to get communication out over HF since your nice digital trunking handheld wont reach around the corner without the repeater.

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446782)

when the world "end" I am setting up a 5 MW spark gap generator

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446864)

and the remnants of the U.S. armed forces will put a hellfire missile on your ass for being an annoying interference source

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446790)

Ham radio is this nations' backup communications position . . . as far as I know, it's the only system that can be used when there is a complete power failure of the grid . . . for any elected representative to suggest or even write a bill to eliminate it would be folly . . . what's going on with these guys? When they get down to Washington, someone must slip them a dumb pill!

Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446912)

Well, Satellite communications can also operate without the grid. And the EMS communication systems will have generator backed up systems that will also keep running... as long as there's no physical damage and as long as they can keep fuel to the generators during a prolonged disaster but hams have the same constraints with power.

Nice job on the biased link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446250)

Here's a better one [opencongress.org]

Don't we already have emergency freqs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446254)

I thought we already had frequencies that were designated for emergency broadcast?

Won't the military have something to say about it? (4, Insightful)

phyrestang (638793) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446262)

If they are using it so heavily, surely they won't give it up easily, no?

Re:Won't the military have something to say about (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446354)

Yeah, having a good answer to the standard who's-going-to-stop-me question -- "You and what army?" -- always helps ;) The army usually gets their way in congress. I found one site that listed near that spectrum:

406-420 Military trunked systems, VA Hospitals, U.S. Postal Service, Federal prison trunked systems, U.S. Forest Service links, FBI links, Federal court house security, DEA, State Department, HIDTA, BLM links, Federal Protective Service, Weather Service links, & telemetry data.

Since it's King pushing this, I can only assume that he believes that ham radio operators are secretly recruiting for al-Qaeda?

Re:Won't the military have something to say about (3, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446472)

Erm, looks like I grabbed the wrong spectrum. 420-440, not 400-420. Let's see: I found a different page that lists "satellites, Pave Paws radar systems, radio beacons, military and Amateur Radio operators." I double checked PAVE PAWS (the radar system designed to detect and track ICBMs and satellites), and indeed, it's 435mhz. The radar installations are bloody huge [brookings.edu] , so I hope that if this passes, they can be reconfigured.

Re:Won't the military have something to say about (4, Informative)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446420)

PAVE-PAWS [wikimedia.org] uses 435Mhz. In fact, there are regulations regarding ham use, power output, and directionality of transmissions in that frequency range by ham radio operators within 150 miles of those installations.

No. They will not auction that off. Peter King will sit down and STFU.

Re:Won't the military have something to say about (4, Funny)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446578)

Yep. Amateurs understand they are "secondary users" of this spectrum. And it's always a good idea to defer to primary users who have attack helicopters and radio-direction-finding equipment... ;)

Who is John G^W^W Peter King? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446910)

Which raises the question, "Who is Peter King".
Oh look, according to Wikipedia, he's worried about the radicalization of American Muslims. [wikipedia.org]
That's a nice bit of cognitive dissonance from someone who supported the IRA.

Freakin' genius (1)

chiph (523845) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446280)

This guy keeps getting smarter and smarter.

Re:Freakin' genius (3, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446842)

I dunno. I kind of think the whole of the congress is on the dim side. Just a couple weeks ago, Harry Reid said the US doesn't have GPS like the rest of the world.

He can rationalize anything (4, Informative)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446322)

Peter King has struck me as one of those guys who can rationalize away everything he does. Sure, to some people, it would seem like creating a Public Safety network by hobbling the military's usage of the 420-440 MHz block would seem highly inconsistent, but not so for Peter King. Same thing with his current hearings on the how American Muslims are becoming radicalized. Some people would think that it would be highly hypocritical of him to open public hearings on radicalism in Islam considering that for decades, he was a supporter and backer of the Irish Republican Army, a terrorist organization that killed 3500 people in 3 decades and were involved with Libyan terrorists funded by the Gaddafi regime. But nope, Peter King sees no hypocrisy at work.

What an awful person.

Re:He can rationalize anything (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446356)

Well, my number was wrong. Apparently, the IRA was responsible for something like 1800 murders, 600 of which were civilians. They're still terrorists.

Re:He can rationalize anything (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446432)

King claims the IRA never killed an American. As if that should make a difference, but it isn't even true, the IRA has killed Americans.

Re:He can rationalize anything (5, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446518)

Peter King supported, financially and politically, people who murdered and maimed women and children. He has no moral high ground.

Re:He can rationalize anything (0)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446450)

Tens of thousands injured and maimed, though. The US Republicans saw the word "Republican" and the word "Irish" and flung in as much money as they could. Long and short of it is, they all supported terrorism, so they're all terrorists.

Re:He can rationalize anything (2, Insightful)

Valen0 (325388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446528)

I certainly hope that his current anti-Islamic hate campaign [wikipedia.org] ends very badly for him [wikipedia.org] .

Re:He can rationalize anything (1)

Drummergeek0 (1513771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446746)

Man I wish I had mod points, I have been comparing this (and all other anti Islam movements) to McCarthyism for the last year or so. It is amazing how fast people who will be first to invoke their 1st amendment rights have no idea what it means.

Re:He can rationalize anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446568)

Good to be the KING.

International agreements (5, Insightful)

trainman (6872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446326)

Well that could be fun considering a lot of the HAM radio spectrum blocks are internationally recognized and used. Go ahead, sell it off, give it to someone else to use, I'm just north of your border, and my government hasn't proposed selling off that spectrum (yet). So I'm sure the private purchases of that spectrum will just LOVE when we all continue to key up on those bands (or the satellites already in orbit continue to transmit in to your borders on those frequencies).

Someone needs to inform this congressman of the realities of how spectrum allocation works.

Re:International agreements (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446352)

Giving him information won't help any.

Re:International agreements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446428)

So then can someone please propose an alternative to PK's request?

Re:International agreements (1)

inkscapee (1994086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446600)

So then can someone please propose an alternative to PK's request?

Yes, quit electing greedy hate loons like Peter King.

Re:International agreements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446498)

Someone needs to inform this congressman of the realities of how spectrum allocation works.

Would be nice, but that "R" in front of his state designation has implied, for the past twenty or so years, a dead-set conviction on the speaker's part that he or she knows absolutely everything about how other people should live their lives, as well as a mental deficiency that prevents him or her from processing any new information that is longer than a standard Fox News soundbite, dismissing it as evil and/or unpatriotic. So by all means, go ahead, try to explain those realities to him. Within a month the Tea Party will be calling for the abolishment of spectrum allocation entirely.

Re:International agreements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446832)

Go ahead, key up with your puny little transceiver when the paying customers have blanketed the country with 40 kilowatt transmitters every 50 miles. I'm guessing you will find another band to horse around on...

Useless (2)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446346)

First who would want to buy a spectrum that is polluted with Ham Radio Operators noise. You'd have to take all that equipment away to get them to not use it.
Second why add this to a Broadband for First responders bill when it will mess with our existing Military infrastructure? It says to make it so they can pay for the Broadband but forcing the Military to change their equipment so someone can buy this little spectrum doesn't sound like it will make money.

Re:Useless (3, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446386)

The government itself may not come out ahead on a deal like that, but I'd imagine there's a very good chance that King himself or one of his good friends would.

Re:Useless (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446630)

The government itself may not come out ahead on a deal like that, but I'd imagine there's a very good chance that King himself or one of his good friends would.

Bingo. Just think of all that (now obsolete) Government equipment that needs to be replaced. General Dynamics is listed as one of his major PAC contributors (albeit at only $12,500 - representatives are pretty cheap these days). Always follow the money.

Re:Useless (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446418)

It was just a suggestion by an intern on how to fund the proposition, and nobody did a decent job of fact-checking it. Why bother? Throw it out for discussion and see if anybody screams.

I think a lot of people will be screaming.

I can translate (1)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446396)

I'm from DC and I have many years of experience translating political statements. What he really means is "I'm currently looking for a large corporation I can kick this too and get perks in the form of lobbying, parties, comps, and a job after my work here looting the government is done. Whether it's a good thing is of little concern for me actually."

 

How much of all the bandwidth is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446440)

Just how big a slice out of all available bandwidth for Hams are we talking about here?

Ignores the public safety role of radio amateurs (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446444)

We've seen time and time again that the public-safety services are not themselves able to provide sufficient communications operators to handle an emergency, and that they aren't able to improvise communications systems to meet the needs of an emergency that takes out infrastructure. That's what hams are for. One of the things they do with that spectrum is build and practice their own systems, so that in an emergency they are ready.

And let's not forget all of the technical advances that come from Amateur Radio, and its unique uses in education - how else can individuals work with space communications, software-defined-radio, etc. All of the other options are company-controlled.

In California, we already have a problem on those frequencies due to the PAVE-PAWS system at Beale Air Force Base out by Yuba City. Surprisingly, it can receive hams in the San Francisco Bay area - on a UHF band where I wouldn't expect that distance - and we have had to reduce power on most of the repeaters in that band to protect the military's space-warning services. If the band were to be sold, it would not be available for commercial users in much of California.

But we have a right to be sick of all of the folks who look at our frequencies with dollar signs in their eyes.

PAVE-PAWS on Google Maps (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446534)

it's here [google.com] .

Frequencies in use already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446448)

420-440 Mhz are already used for emergency, most all of the air sirens around cities are in this band (ok, you still have some VHF receivers). Also there are some radar installations that start around 450 Mhz that will completely over power anything above 415 Mhz.

how much of a loss? (2, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446512)

I'm a ham operator, although I haven't been active on the air for a long time, so my information may be out of date. This doesn't seem like a huge crisis to me. Hams currently have 2 meters and 70 cm. This proposal would take away most of 70 cm, but there would still be a lot of bandwidth left in there. Considering that the hobby is basically dying out, I'm not sure it would be totally rational to keep allocating the same amount of spectrum to hams indefinitely. Is there any evidence that in a hurricane or earthquake, the remaining 10 MHz of bandwidth would be inadequate for emergency communications?

Re:how much of a loss? (5, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446592)

It's not dying out any longer. We're heading toward having 700,000 U.S. hams due to the final elimination of the code test (you're welcome) and the fact that it's technically getting more fun due to software radio, etc. That's more than we've had in a very long time.

Re:how much of a loss? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446676)

Although 70 cm isn't one of the major ham bands, ARRL views any encroachment as problematical since we are unlikely to get any new spectrum. As to the hobby 'dying out' - not really. It's changing in ways a lot of old time hams aren't happy with (sound familiar?) but it is still a vibrant and important activity.

While the ARRL has in the past supported band readjustment, this one doesn't really pass the sniff test.

Re:how much of a loss? (2)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446792)

I'm curious why you say it's dying out?

I actually just got licensed, and have been building the tech for over a decade. I love being able to communicate over huge distances using only what I built myself.

Re:how much of a loss? (2)

captaingoodnight (192762) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446908)

Definitely not dying.

We have folks showing up almost every weekend to our (rather remote) testing sessions serving the mountain communities of SW San Bernardino County. We're not exactly in what you'd consider a highly populated location, either.

LOTS of interest out there.

Wrong! (2)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446516)

whatever it is King is proposing, it is wrong. He is just wrong about everything. Oppose him at all costs. Seriously.

Re:Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446802)

That's some nice flawed logic you've got there. Sure, it may be right only part of the time, but nobody's perfect. It's pretty standard in mainstream politics these days from what I can tell.

How to help (1)

yakatz (1176317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446572)

If you are a registered Ham Radio operator, this site [kd4pyr.net] has a quick-and-easy form to generate a letter to your representative in congress to oppose the bill.

What about RFID? (1)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446576)

Some active RFID tags operate at 433 MHz [iso.org] .

Rep. Peter King a.k.a. Peter King, Thief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446590)

I just want to say one thing: What really gets my goat is knowing that most of us assert that Rep. Peter King is extremely satanic. If you disagree with my claim that even if King is not conscious of the inner reason for his hypnopompic insights, he's in violation of the Geneva Conventions, then read no further. There is no inconsistency here; his insinuations are geared toward the continuation of social stratification under the rubric of "tradition". Funny, that was the same term that King's co-conspirators once used to perpetuate inaccurate and dangerous beliefs about male-female relationships.

I, hardheaded cynic that I am, must emphasize this because the facts as I see them simply do not support the false but widely accepted notion that divine ichor flows through King's veins. I do not wish to evaluate faddism here, though I think that King wants all of us to believe that he has the authority to issue licenses for practicing commercialism. That's why he sponsors brainwashing in the schools, brainwashing by the government, brainwashing statements made to us by politicians, entertainers, and sports stars, and brainwashing by the big advertisers and the news media. He drops the names of famous people whenever possible. That makes King sound smarter than he really is and obscures the fact that someone once said to me, "I am sincerely galled that King is so intent on turning once-flourishing neighborhoods into zones of violence, decay, and moral disregard." This phrase struck me so forcefully that I have often used it since.

King is almost unique among spineless, morally questionable Machiavellians in that he espouses an ostentatious view of reality and a defense of lethargic incendiarism. But there is a further-reaching implication: His ideological colors may have changed over the years. Nevertheless, King's core principle has remained the same: to exercise both subtlety and thoroughness in managing both the news and the entertainment that gets presented to us. If you don't believe me then note that King's sympathizers get a thrill out of protesting. They have no idea what causes they're fighting for or against. For them, going down to the local protest, carrying a sign, hanging out with King, and meeting some other juvenile psychopaths is merely a social event. They're not even aware that it is not news that King has been floating rumors that national-security interests can and should be sidestepped whenever his personal interests are at stake. What speaks volumes, though, is that if you were to tell King that whenever I ponder over the meanings and implications of his predatory homilies, I feel little peace, he'd just pull his security blanket a little tighter around himself and refuse to come out and deal with the real world.

I won't mince my words: The more I study religion, the more I am convinced that King has never worshipped anything but himself. As long as I live, I will be shouting this truth from rooftops and doing everything I can to test the assumptions that underlie King's scare tactics. By opting for the easy, short-term, feel-good path, he will create problems that our grandchildren will have to live with one day. Why is that relevant to this letter? Because as that last sentence suggests, he descends from a long line of virulent slaves to fashion who like to jawbone aimlessly. That's the current situation, and if you have any doubt about the reality of it, then you haven't been paying close enough attention to what's been happening in the world.

I might be able to forgive King, but only if he promises never again to generate an epidemic of corruption and social unrest. My point may be made clearer by use of an allegorical tale. Suppose a hypothetical group of three people is standing in a room. One of those people realizes that it's time for an armed uprising against King. Another goes on and on about King's flagitious cock-and-bull stories. But the third can't understand why King seems eager to follow the hastily dyed banner of clericalism. In this hypothetical situation, it should be obvious that King's compeers have learned their scripts well and the rhetoric comes gushing forth with little provocation.

King is not just aberrant; he's distasteful, too. He fails to comprehend and practice the teachings of his religion. More precisely, King conveniently forgets his religion's messages of peace, love, compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness—or, at best, misremembers them as an edict to overthrow all concepts of beauty and sublimity, of the noble and the good, and instead drag people down into the sphere of his own base nature.

Does King think his arguments through, or does he just chug along on his computer, writing about whatever trite utterances happen to suit his needs that day? I ask because King sometimes uses the word "establishmentarianism" when describing his self-fulfilling prophecies. Beware! This is a buzzword designed for emotional response. Will appalling thieves ever subject his diatribes to the rigorous scrutiny they warrant? Don't bet on it.

If I were elected Ruler of the World, my first act of business would be to make this world a kinder, gentler place. I would further use my position to inform certain segments of the Earth's population that I enjoy the great diversity of humankind, in our food, our dress, our music, our literature, and our forms of spiritual expression. What I don't enjoy are King's two-faced grievances, which place mischievous yutzes at the top of the social hierarchy. Within a short period of time, King might be diagnosed with a special type of mental illness that is not yet recognized. But for now, be aware that he is like a stray pigeon. Pigeons are too self-absorbed to care about anyone else. They poo on people they don't like; they poo on people they don't even know. The only real difference between King and a pigeon is that King intends to meddle in everyone else's affairs. That's why King demands that his orations be discussed in only the most positive light. To ensure that this demand is met, he sends his brownshirt brigade after anyone who fails to show the utmost deference when planting big, wet, sloppy kisses on King's behind.

King will shame the poor into blaming themselves for losing the birth lottery because he possesses a hatred that defies all logic and understanding, that cannot be quantified or reasoned away, and that savagely possesses the worst classes of jackbooted dunces there are with crafty and uncontrollable rage. I don't want to make any hard and final judgments, but the collectivism "debate" is not a debate. It is a harangue, a politically motivated, brilliantly publicized, fork-tongued attack on progressive ideas. I believe I have found my calling. My calling is to criticize King's revenge fantasies publicly for their formalistic categories, their spurious claims of neutrality, and their blindness to the abuse of private power. And just let him try and stop me.

Teenagers who want to shock their parents sometimes maintain—with a straight face—that there is an international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids. Fortunately, most parents don't fall for this fraud because they know that I have begged King's emissaries to step forth and prevent the production of a new crop of lawless, stingy theologasters. To date, not a single soul has agreed to help in this fashion. Are they worried about how King might retaliate? The key to answering such questions is to realize that for King, all roads lead to extremism. There is an unpleasant fact, painful to the tender-minded, that one can deduce from the laws of nature. This fact is also conclusively established by direct observation. It is a fact so obvious that rational people have always known it and no one doubted it until King and his rank-and-file followers started trying to deny it. The fact to which I am referring states that there's a time to keep silent and a time to speak. There's a time to love and a time to hate. There's a time for war and a time for peace. And, I suspect, there's a time to take off the kid gloves and vent some real anger at King. Or, to put it less poetically, King has recently been going around claiming that he is the one who will lead us to our great shining future. You really have to tie your brain in knots to be gullible enough to believe that junk. As a closing statement, let me emphasize that we have no choice but to work beyond the predatory plasticity of Rep. Peter King's perorations. The time to act is now.

putting on the tin foil (2)

Roskolnikov (68772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446598)

Ham radio is one of the last difficult to suppress communication mediums and for some reason an attempt to 'sell' this space just strikes me as not a good for public thing.

Oblig Quote (3, Funny)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446634)

"Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has introduced HR 607, the 'Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011,' which has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee (which handles telecommunications legislation).

King? Well I didn't vote for ya...

Re:Oblig Quote (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446946)

You don't vote for Kings! The Lady of Ayn Rand, her arm clad in the purist shimmering samite, held aloft a campaign check from the bosom of Wall St, signifying by divine Providence that he, Peter, was to carry their wishes to Washington.

after Congress raffles off the ham (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446686)

... there will be more money for the usual pork.

Automatic Objecton Letter Generator (4, Informative)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446714)

All amateur radio operators reading about this should be incensed. This is a major grab of our bands for public safety and they already have a very generous portion of the radio spectrum and don't need to steal ours. They already have 450-470 as public service bands and these are only used for that in major metro areas along with 700-800 MHz.

In 90% of the country public safety uses VHF high and low bands (150 and 30 Mhz, respectively) and that is adequate for their needs. The same is true for amateur radio with the exception of 700-800 MHz, where VHF is primarily used throughout the country and 440 MHz is mostly used in areas of higher urban/suburban density. In these areas, the 2 meter bands are saturated with large, old repeaters and the 440 MHz band is the most vital and dynamic band around, it's where the more technically savvy types tend to hang out, whereas the older systems on 2 meters are usually older folks talking about what they are dying of. Due to saturation of 2 meter repeaters there is no opportunity for growth or change there, if someone wants to put up a new system then 440 MHz band may be their only choice. Also, most of the dinosaur 2 meter machines are multi-receive site networks, and the remote receivers are linked in the 420-430 MHz band. The other service that would be mostly impacted is Amateur Television (ATV) which is mostly in the 420-430 MHz band, that would be completely eliminated.

There is a nice website set up that will automatically generate a letter of objection, tailored to your local state representative automatically. It's nice and easy you just enter your callsign and it looks it up and generates an auto-addressed letter ready to print and sign. The link is here [kd4pyr.net] . Calling all hams! This is really important, please do it today!!

Not just Ham radio... (1)

kaleth (66639) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446794)

He also wants to sell off 450-470 MHz. Among other uses, this is the band for consumer FRS radios. Just try telling the public that they aren't allowed to use their walkie-talkies anymore...

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