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FCC TO ISSUE TEXT DESIGNED TO CLARIFY DETAILS OF REFARMING ORDER

WASHINGTON-Following a long, drawn-out process that began in 1993, the Federal Communications Commission voted on circular to adopt a memorandum opinion and order on the refarming issue; the order was designed to clear up any questions raised via petitions for reconsideration and clarification filed in 1995.

The Dec. 26 announcement of the memorandum did not include the text, which is scheduled to be released by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau today.

In adopting the order, commissioners voted to:

Maintain the channel plan adopted in the refarming report and order voted in 1995 that lists channels every 7.5 kilohertz in the 150 MHz-174 MHz VHF band; and every 6.25 kilohertz in the 421 MHz-430 MHz, 450 MHz-470 MHz and 470 MHz-512 MHz UHF bands. “Additionally, this order provides the frequency coordinators with the ability to recommend frequencies for any technology with lesser bandwidth, provided that interference is not caused to other systems,” the FCC wrote.

Integrate the refarming narrowband channel plan for private land mobile radio users on the shared maritime public correspondence frequencies.

Extend the first transition date for narrowband PLMR equipment type acceptance until the rules become effective. At that time, new applications for type acceptance must be for equipment working on channels of 12.5 kilohertz or smaller or on 25 kilohertz channels if the narrowband efficiency standard is met. The Jan. 1, 2005, date still stands for 6.25 kilohertz equipment or for comparable 25 kilohertz equipment.

Clarify a number of technical rules, including those related to power/antenna height limits, emission masks and frequency-stability requirements.

Because of holiday work schedules, almost no one in the industry was aware of the refarming vote. However, Rich Feser in manufacturer E.F. Johnson Co.’s Gettysburg, Pa., office commented, “We’re glad to see that they kept the same channels, and we’re happy that the FCC is finally moving forward. We will be interested in seeing the clarifications of the technical rules when the text is released, and we don’t really understand this frequency-coordinator thing.”

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