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Old 22-11-2006, 13:12   #1
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Pactor III becoming illegal????

There's a lot of scuttlebut on the other cruiser forum about Pactor III protocol becoming "illegal" in December. Anyone on this forum heard anything CREDIBLE about this!!!???

Thanks, TOMJ aboard SHEARWATER in Brunswick GA awaiting wx.

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Old 22-11-2006, 13:33   #2
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The FCC issued some changes to the rules that apply to amateur radio. One of those changes limits J2D emissions to 500 Hz bandwidth. Pactor 3 is wider than that.

This only applies to amateur radio; it does not affect Sailmail.

The rule goes in to effect December 15. It affects you if you are in the US, on a US vessel, or talking to a somebody who is affected by the rule. I hear that you can tell your Pactor 3 modem to use Pactor 2 mode, which would be within the 500 Hz bandwidth.

ARRL says it was a mistake and the FCC is planning to correct it.

ARRL also has an article about the Report and Order that makes these changes. The article includes a link to the FCC web site that includes the formal Order. The part that affects Pactor 3 is the wording in changes to the definition of "data".

Mark S.
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Old 24-11-2006, 08:09   #3
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The only near-term change to be announced is that all Winlink PMBO (shore) stations based in the USA (not all of N America) will stop offering PIII connections beginning 12/15. U.S. & other boats working non-U.S. PMBOs will not be affected. Any TNC upgraded to PIII should work as originally designed at PI and PII speeds. The question is when (or if) this restriction will be removed by the FCC at a later date; no one knows right now.

On a day to day basis, this change will probably not have a significant impact on the down/uploading aboard most boats. In many cases for wider-ranging boats, there may be little impact as greater distances with these low-powered SSBs usually result in relatively slower connection speeds, anyway - whether connected to a PIII frequency or PII. Boats closer to a PMBO that find they are getting higher PIII speeds will experience slower speeds and longer connect times. Fortunately, PMBO time allowances are usually generous.

For more info, read the thread at

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Old 29-11-2006, 08:38   #4
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FCC Moves to Correct Pactor III - Related Error

Yesterday, the FCC moved to correct an error which would have rendered J2D emissions illegal below 30MHz. You can read the text here:

IMHO, this is both good and not-so-good news.

It's good because Pactor III and other affected data protocols won't be banned on amateur HF least not for now.

It's not-so-good because J2D emisions take place in the CW portion of the amateur bands, and are band hogs, being much wider than CW emissions. Further, the practices mentioned above by some Pactor III users don't lend themselves well to the spirit or intent of ham radio: band sharing, courtesy, non-interference with other hams, etc.

This will be more important than ever, as the FCC has also moved to extend the SSB portions of the 40m and 75m amateur bands into what were previously CW portions of these bands, thereby restricting the availability of frequencies for CW and J2D emissions.

Perhaps the protocols implemented by X-net will be adopted by others using J2D emissions. Let's hope!

Meanwhile, Pactor III users can all help by being more aware of the potential interference they may cause, and by improving their operating practices.

S/V Born Free
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