FCC Grants Experimental VHF White Space License

Wednesday the FCC released a list of experimental licenses granted from 8/1/11 to 10/1/11.

That list includes a license grant to the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) allowing use of high-band VHF channels 7 through 13 (174 – 216 MHz) for white space experiments in fixed and mobile applications in the following Virginia cities and towns: Criglersville, Bowling Green, Culpeper, Tappahannock, Fredericksburg, King William, Lousia, Paytes, Dawn, Glenora, and Linden. Unlike other white space experimental licenses, this one will not be used to provide service to consumers or end users.

The application states: "It [the experimental license] will be solely used to test and evaluate the ability of the system to support REC's private remote data needs." The system will use antennas on existing towers, and up to four 500 kHz wide channels in the high-band VHF TV spectrum. All radios will be provided by Full Spectrum, a Santa Clara County-based manufacturer of radio systems designed for electric power grid control. The radios operate with a maximum TPO of 4 Watts, and the base station will use 120 degree sector antennas with gains up to 10 dBi and a maximum ERP of 12.224 Watts. Temporary-fixed stations will use directional Yagis, or similar antennas, with gains up to 12 dBi and a maximum ERP of 24.390 Watts. Mobile stations have lower gain antennas and a maximum ERP of 4.866 Watts.

REC stated its "choice of the specific TV White Spaces frequencies will be based on a thorough review of frequency usage that may be impacted by the proposed experimentation." REC is satisfied it can find TV White Space frequencies in all areas of proposed operation that can be used without causing harmful interference to incumbent television stations. It recognized the secondary nature of the experimental operation and said it "will not transmit on any channel or in a manner that causes harmful interference to the reception of an incumbent television station licensee."

Another experimental license (call sign WF2XWH) may also be of interest to readers. This grant, to Terrestar License, Debtor-In-Possession, allows mobile operation on 2005-2010 MHz and 2195-2200 MHz within the continental United States "to operate a prototype antenna and transceiver designed for application to automobiles". The lower group of frequencies is near the lower end of the 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary service band.

Amateur radio operators may be interested in these grants: L3 Nova Engineering was granted an experimental with the call sign WF2XVS to use 420-440 MHz to test and evaluate seismic sensors at Turner Farm Park, Great Falls, Va. Abbott Diabetes Care was granted WF2XWN and WF2XWM to use 433 MHz for equipment testing in Santa Fe, N.M. and Atlanta, respectively.

The list of experimental licenses granted from 8/1/11 to 10/1/11 shows many grants that overlap broadcast or broadcast auxiliary spectrum but they are associated with testing antennas or aircraft shielding effectiveness and shouldn't pose any interference problems.

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.