Prediction: Hams are going to lose spectrum

Amateur radio operators have allocations over most of the radio frequency part of the electromagnetic spectrum. In some cases, we have primary status in others we are secondary users. That means we’re allowed to use a frequency as long as we don’t cause interference with the primary users. Some frequencies get used more than others, especially where experimentation is expected. The trouble is, radio frequencies are a scarce resource bound by the laws of physics. Despite advances in technology, the number of users (commercial, government and others) is rising and something has to give. So when you seen a headline like DOD launches new spectrum strategy you have to assume that more spectrum is going to be involved regardless of how smart the technology becomes.

And where is that spectrum going to come from? You can’t make more so you have to start looking at current allocations and start evaluating what’s being used by whom. When you do that, many bands where hams are involved look mighty empty and mighty tempting. I suspect it might be gradual, with hams relegated to secondary status (if we haven’t already) before being denied use of the band entirely. But it’s going happen, I guarantee it.

Hams will survive. A lot of the spectrum we have access to is distinctly unfriendly to high speed data transmission and uninteresting to the DOD and others. But some of the higher frequency bands (> 430 MHz) are probably doomed for amateur use.

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