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December 11, 2000 - Issue 243 Final Edition

FCC Proposes Rules for Software Defined Radios (Dec. 8)
In Notice of Proposed Rule Making - Authorization and Use of Software Defined Radios (ET Docket 00-47), the FCC proposed equipment authorization procedures for software defined radios (SDR). In the NPRM, the FCC said, "we propose to define software defined radios as a new class of equipment with equipment authorization rules that reflect the additional flexibility incorporated into such radios. We propose to permit equipment manufacturers to make changes in the frequency, power and modulation of such radios without the need to file a new equipment authorization application with the Commission. We also propose to permit electronic labeling so that a third party may modify a radio's technical parameters without having to return to the manufacturer for re-labeling."

The FCC acknowledged initial deployment of SDR technology is under way and while it is currently only available in base stations, widespread handheld use is expected within 5 years. It also acknowledged SDRs could help improve interoperability between public safety agencies and in commercial radio services, although several issues have to resolved. These include protocols, channel establishment procedures, authentication and fraud detection.

FCC Launches C-Band Earth Station Streamlining Initiative (Dec. 7)
The FCC has modified its procedures to speed processing of C-band Earth Station applications. One change, effective January 16, 2000, the FCC will automatically grant "routine" C-band (3700-4200 MHz downlink/5925-6425 MHz uplink) fixed satellite earth station applications if they meet certain criteria. Another change reduces the number of required emission designators identified in applications for digital satelllite systems.

C-band earth stations are considered routine if:
Routine C-band earth stations will be considered as granted 35 days from the date the application appears on public notice as "acceptable for filing," if no objections have been filed during the public notice period. The FCC Public Notice said this should allow the Commission staff to grant routine C-band earth station applications within 55 days of the filing date. This includes a 20-day period for receipt and initial review. Applications filed electronically through the International Bureau Filing System (IBFS) database can be handled faster.

Filings for routine C-band earth station should contain a cover letter clearing indicating that the proposed station is routine. If a letter stating this isn't included, the application will not be eligible for automatic grant.

The FCC Public Notice noted that, "At times, earth station applicants will provide in an application emission designators for each individual radiofrequency carrier proposed rather than for each radiofrequency carrier class." This information can take up to three hours to enter into the International Bureau's database. In 1999, the FCC determined it was unnecessary to continuing requiring that Ku-band earth station applicants provide all this information. Now, the FCC has expanded this determination to C-band earth stations. Rather than require applicants to specify emission designators for each individual RF carrier in Schedule B, Section B7, of Form 312, the FCC stated:
"...we will instead require applicants to specify emission designators only for the narrowest bandwidth/lowest power density emission, to reflect the emission most susceptible to interference, and the widest bandwidth/highest power density emission, to reflect the emission most likely to cause interference, for each class of radiofrequency carrier (e.g., 512KG7D 36M0G7D). The last three fields in the emission designator identify the class (e.g., ####G7D defines one class, ####F3F defines another). These emission designators will be the only information entered into the Commission's licensing database and the only information that will appear on public notices and licenses. For earth stations operating in multiple frequency bands, emission designators should be provided for each frequency band."
These changes do not change the requirements to coordinate with terrestrial wireless operators prior to filing C-band earth station applications. The expects prospective earth station operators to continue to use all applicable emission designators in the coordination process. However, applications that contain emission designators for individual carriers will not be conidered for automatic grant unless the applicant clearly identifies the emissions most likely to cause interference and the emissions most sensitive to interference for each RF carrier class.

Additional information is available in FCC Public Notice DA 00-2761.

FCC Satellite Applications Accepted (Dec. 5)
KsStar 73 Acquisition, LLC filed an application to modify its Ka-band authorization to designatre 500 MHz of spectrum from the 18.3-18.8 GHz band for its service downlink from its 73 degree West Longitude orbital location. KaStar 73 Acquisition and KaStar 109.2 Acquisition, LLC filed application to use C-band spectrum in the 3.7000-3.7035 GHz and 4.1960-4.1995 GHz bands for telemetry downlink functions and spectrum in the 5.8565-5.8600 GHz and 6.4205-6.4240 GHz bands for command uplink.

Additional information and a correction to the November 27, 2000 report concerning SpaceData International's TDRSS application are available in Satellite Policy Branch Report No. SAT-00062. This document is an Adobe PDF file.

OTHER Items of Interest

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