Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hot news: ROS digital mode illegal in USA

Hot from the K3UK Sked page. "Breaking news from ARRL. They concur that ROS is a spread spectrum mode and as such is not allowed by the FCC on bands below 222 MHz."

I had just been giving ROS another try with my K3 and 40W this time, and managed to complete contacts on 20m with Alabama and Washington State. Neither of these are locations I would expect to work under current conditions using another mode. As soon as the announcement was posted on the site it all went quiet.

My sympathies to my fellow digimode enthusiasts in the USA. It has always struck me as ironic that hams in the land of the free have to operate under more rigid controls than those of us in "socialist" Europe.


goody said...

I don't see anything on ARRL's website about this. Are you sure it's not a hoax?


Matt said...

hey Julian, thanks for the Q :)

yes, I totally agree with you, I assume the FCC will at least look into this and see if it passes, to me, ROS still isn't spread spectrum technically. we'll see what happens.

As far as your other comment, spot on.. look, we're still debating Public Healthcare which is a RIGHT in most countries... I love this country but there are always things to improve.

anyway, back to the drawing board.

cheers - kq7w

g4ilo said...

It's not a hoax. A couple of users of the mode who were concerned about the legality of it decided to get clarification. One contacted the ARRL and the other the FCC. Both were informed that the mode is considered to be spread spectrum and that use is not therefore permitted below 222MHz. This information was posted to the K3 UK Digimodes sked page, the comments section of the ROS developer's site and the ROS Digital Modem Yahoo group.

Kelly Keeton said...

yea I saw stuff from the FCC, also it is interesting to note that the biggest reason it was deemed illegal is that the creator calls it spread spectrum and if the inventor calls it FCC uses it.

goody said...

I just listened to ROS for the first time over on SM2JUR's blog ( http://sm2jur.blogspot.com/2010/02/ros-new-digital-mode.html ) and if that's spread spectrum, then RTTY and MFSK are spread spectrum. But as far as I can tell there's no modulation on the carriers as they are transmitted so I can't see how this could be classified as spread spectrum. I hope the ARRL doesn't pursue this as it's rather pointless.

g4ilo said...

Subsequent to the ARRL's interpretation someone asked the FCC directly submitting copies of the developer's documentation, and they got the answer (as Kelly says) that if the developer calls it spread spectrum it is spread spectrum and you can't use it. So the genie is out of the bottle and I'm not sure how you get it back in without the ARRL's assistance.

Interestingly there is a mode called Chip64 which ARRL has a description of here which is also described as spread spectrum, and according to one contributor to one of the online threads about this it is being used by some emcomm group somewhere.

Warren said...

The mistake was asking the FCC for clarification! It is ALWAYS easier for a bureaucrat to say NO (safe answer)!
The FCC would not know (or care) about this if they hadn't been asked!!
The moral is that it's easy to talk yourself out of privileges!

73 Warren K2ORS
WD2XGJ 136-140 kHz
WE2XEB/2 160-189 kHz
WD2XSH/23 495-510 kHz
WE2XGR/1 505-515 kHz

g4ilo said...

Totally agree, Wayne. If you think you won't like the answer, don't ask the question. Then at least you can claim in good faith that you believed it was OK if challenged about it in future.

What was totally dumb was asking "Is this mode, which is described by its inventor as spread spectrum, legal?" That pretty much guaranteed a "no" answer.

jFERRALLAS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
goody said...

"Interestingly there is a mode called Chip64 which ARRL has a description of here which is also described as spread spectrum, and according to one contributor to one of the online threads about this it is being used by some emcomm group somewhere."

Now they're asking ARRL about CHIP64. Hopefully over the weekend we'll figure out how to make PSK, RTTY, CW, and Phone illegal in the US and our hams will have more time for tea parties and figuring out how to wreck health reform.

Andre said...

Personally, I think some controls and regulation are required for this mode. It is a "selfish" mode w.r.t bandwidth, and there are some operators who are using excessive power.
There are already reports that ROS transmissions are seriously interfering with the International Beacon Network on 14.100 MHz

g4ilo said...

I think there should be controls and regulation for all digital modes. There isn't enough space for them to all have their own frequency allocations and I do think some consideration needs to be given to the issue of bandwidth.

I don't think it's fair to single out ROS as a selfish mode. There are some other pretty wide modes - some variants of Olivia for example - and when people are using them to make the same contacts they could make using PSK31 you have to ask whether this is an efficient use of spectrum. However this could be the thin end of the wedge - people might then start asking how we can justify the use of RTTY when PSK31 or PSK63 will convey the same information using less bandwidth and less power for the same reliability.

The way this new mode has been introduced on the bands seems to have managed to upset the maximum number of people. I think it does raise issues as to whether anyone can be allowed to just invent a new mode and let anyone use it. Perhaps there should be a small section of each band in which experimentation is allowed (possibly after obtaining a special license dispensation such as what we in the UK call a NOV) but before allowing public use a mode must pass a technical scrutiny as to whether it has any benefits that are not available in existing modes. The trouble is there is no governing body with the worldwide authority to do this.

Andre said...

You are right Julian. There are many other modes that are just as bad. I was just venting some frustration I think, a bit of sour grapes.
We don't want too much regulation, self regulation can work as long as operators are polite and think about other users. We often see the affects of people calling CQ without checking the if the band is clear etc. Checking if it is clear goes for any mode, not just SSB.

g4ilo said...

Whilst I agree that too much regulation is undesirable, the ROS experience has illustrated that leaving things to the enthusiasts of a new mode to decide things can just result in chaos. You need the cool heads of experienced, but impartial, digimode operators.

Checking if the frequency is clear doesn't work with modes like ROS that can detect signals that don't even show on the waterfall. However statements from Jose suggest some interesting developments are in the offing, like the ability for several QSOs to share a frequency, and some kind of indication from the software when a channel is occupied.

spykillah said...

lol all bandplans are useless if some damn contest is going on.. see 160 this weekend..(voice also on cw/qrp/ digimode freqs..)

Matt said...

ok , according to the FCC, ROS is LEGAL now..

Im not super excited about the mode anymore now :) it was kinda messy, and didnt work anything that couldnt be worked on CW or PSK, but I might try it again someday, once there is a better qrg bandpland

best -

matt -k q 7 w

jFERRALLAS said...

ROS is Legal in USA
According to the technical paper and the audio file attached, we conclude that ROS can not be viewed as Spread Spectrum and it would be encompassed within the section 97.309 (RTTY and data emissions codes).

Nobody forces him to use ROS.

It is easy to be in his House seeing the television and to write in a forum on the legality of aWork.
At the time the programmer dedicate thousend of hours to the work of creating a new Digimode,for that
you were not paying anything

g4ilo said...

Yes, Jose. The FCC has said ROS is legal NOW, and I reported that in a new posting. At the time I wrote this week-old posting you are commenting on, the FCC had said that it was not legal.

All I did was report the content of an FCC reply that was posted in another forum. I did not say ROS was illegal, the FCC did. So don't go blaming me for reporting what was true at the time I reported it.

I understand it must have been frustrating for you to have the FCC initially to declare your mode illegal in the USA, but it was wrong of you to threaten legal action on Tim Lilley or make threats against other amateurs who simply commented on what was happening or tried to seek clarification about the legal status. We live in the free world, and just because you invented a mode doesn't give you the exclusive right to comment about it.

In any case, I don't care now. I have left the ROSModemGroup forum and deleted your software and I have no intention of making any further use of your ROS digital modem.

jFERRALLAS said...

Estimated gentleman:
I do not know Mister Nieto Ros.
You come to an erroneus conclusion,I do not speak good English it
is a not even my tird language.
i write in this forum for which I think ; It is hard for someone
to work for months and to give his work gratis for all and in
exchange only to receive critiques.
To conclude, I think that Mister Nieto sending forgives to you

J Louis des Camarges

g4ilo said...

My apologies for mistaking your identity.

jFERRALLAS said...

Thank you Mister Julian for the rectification .

J.L des Camarges