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FCC Grants Experimental Licenses

Last week the FCC released a list of experimental applications granted between 4/1/10 to 5/1/11, which includes a few items of interest to readers.

The first is a grant of a new experimental license (WF2XSA) to LightSquared Subsidiary LLC for access terminal testing while operating mobile in the continental United States, as well as in Alaska and Hawaii, using the 1626.5-1660 MHz band. This is more than 15 MHz above the upper range of the RNSS band used for GPS, so interference to GPS gear should be significantly reduced as compared to operation within the spectrum immediately adjacent to frequencies used by GPS. The 1626.5-1660 MHz frequency band is shared with Inmarsat, Intelsat North America, and MSV International.

Row 44, the company providing wireless Internet service to Southwest Airlines (although I haven't seen it on any of the recent flights I've taken, including non-stops across the country) and other airlines using satellite links received an experimental license (WF2XSO) to operate in the 1930-1990 MHz band for "testing an aeronautical-mobile satellite service." The testing will be "fixed" in Lombard (DuPage County), Ill. Parts of this band are available to several services, including fixed microwave and the Advanced Wireless Service. However, I didn't see any space-based services listed on the FCC's Spectrum Dashboard.

There has been concern about the increased use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) on-board aircraft and the possibility of interference with critical navigation systems. It looks as if the Boeing Company will be testing this with its WF2XOO experimental license. WF2XOO allows operation in several bands used for aircraft navigation, collision avoidance and communication in Glasgow, Mont., Moses Lake, Wash. and Klamath Falls, Ore.

See the listing for information on other experimental license grants.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.