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Session 40 - Adverse Environmental Impacts on Astronomy.
Display session, Tuesday, January 16
North Banquet Hall, Convention Center

[40.01] The Future RFI Environment Above 30 GHz

A. W. Clegg (NRL)

Encompassing 30 - 300 GHz, the millimeter wave (mmW) band offers relief from spectrum crowding at lower frequencies, large available bandwidth, favorable propagation characteristics for certain applications, and relatively high directivity with small antennas. The FCC has recently proposed regulatory changes to foster commercial development of the mmW band. Impending actions include:

\bullet Designating the 46.7-46.9 GHz and 76-77 GHz bands for unlicensed vehicular radar systems. Potentially tens of millions of vehicles will be equipped with radars to provide ``intelligent cruise control" capability and driver blind-spot warnings. Unwanted emissions from vehicular radar systems may produce harmful interference to passive systems operating in protected bands.

\bullet Opening the 59-64 GHz band, in which propagation is limited to short distances due to high atmospheric attenuation, to general unlicensed devices. A likely application for this band is wireless local area computer networks. The neighboring bands of 58.2 - 59 and 64 - 65 GHz are allocated to the passive services.

Changes still under consideration include:

\bullet Opening the 116 - 117 GHz band, co-located with an existing passive allocation, for licensed (116 - 116.5 GHz) and general unlicensed (116.5 - 117 GHz) devices.

\bullet The opening (for licensed and unlicensed services) of nearly 5 GHz of additional spectrum space which neighbors passive allocations and poses a potential interference problem from out-of-band emissions.

The status of the FCC's actions concerning the mmW band will be updated. An attempt will be made to predict the RFI environment in the mmW band assuming the likely applications for each of the reallocated bands. Particular emphasis will be placed on the impact of the FCC's actions on current and planned remote sensing and radio astronomy operations.

Program listing for Tuesday