L-3 to Evaluate VHF Broadband Technology

An experimental license to evaluate broadband technology using VHF TV spectrum was among the license grants on the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology list.

L-3 Communications / Randtron Antenna Systems' WH2XFO license allows operation in the 50-73, 76-88 and 138-224 MHz bands. Should VHF TV stations be worried about wireless carriers going after their spectrum? A closer look at the L-3 application showed that the license is to test a broadband sensor, not broadband data that would be used by the U.S. Navy. The main use of the license includes both pattern and high-power breakdown testing at discrete frequencies across the bands. The testing will take place at Half Moon Bay in northern California. ERP up to 100 kW is authorized. The application said hills and terrain to the west would tend to shield the antenna.

Another interesting grant is WH2XHP, issued to Higher Ground LLC, to “test and develop new prototype user terminals that attach to existing smartphones for the provision of satellite-based text messaging. The authorized frequencies are in the C-band uplink spectrum: 5925-5930 MHz, 5935-5945 MHz, 5955-5965 MHz, 5975-5985 MHz and 5995-6005 MHz. The authorization is for mobile testing in Palo Alto, CA.

As a result of increased sunspots, ham radio operators have been able to use the 10 meter (28.0-29.7 MHz) band to communicate around the world. Softronics Ltd. received an experimental license to operate on 29.701 MHz and 29.8 MHz to test a long-range, line-of-sight animal health and location telemetry tag. The area of operation is listed as “within the state of Iowa,” but it would be interesting to see if they could track animals across the country when ionospheric “skip” allowed signals in this band to travel across the country!

Going even lower in frequency, Lawrence H. Molitor received an experimental license to operate on 400 kHz “to test and design of antenna and transmitter” in Quincy, WA.

See FCC Report No. 458 – Experimental Actions for a complete list of all experimental license grants during the period June 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014.

Doug Lung

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.