As is often the case, it appears that CW will suffer once again. Of particular interest is the widening of the 40m band plan for digital modes at the expense of the ever-shrinking CW segments.
Those of you that have been haunting 40m CW for some time will well-remember that 7040kHz was once the watering-hole for most QRP and ragchew CW activity. Several years ago, this section of the band became flooded with RTTY and other data modes that made a pleasant CW QSO much harder to come by. CW ragchewers and newcomers then found solace in the region above 7100, near the old Novice band. Over time, the RTTY and digital-moders have gradually moved into this region as well and now the ARRL wants to make it official.
A look at the 40m plan (above) is somewhat misleading as everyone that operates on 40m CW knows that the 7025-7080 'CW' segment is already dominated by digital activity ... most of us know what it is like to have a bone-crushing digital station suddenly open up on top of the frequency with seemingly no regard for the CW stations already there. It would appear that there will now be not much room for the casual CW operator to call home ... no watering hole frequency around which to congregate as in the past.
Many might say that this is all for the better and that CW has passed its 'best-before' date while others would see it as another nail in CW's coffin.
The proposed changes have spawned numerous discussions on various e-mail reflectors. One of the more interesting comments on the plan was posted by 'wireless-girl' (Janis, AB2RA) and may be read here.
Changes for several HF bands are proposed so if 40m is not one of your main interests, maybe your favorite band will be adversely affected as well.
Whatever your opinion is, the ARRL would like membership input and have published an online-form for you to fill in and make your wishes known.
The comment deadline is April 19, 2015 after which the HF Band Planning Committee will prepare its final report. If you are an ARRL member, please take a couple of minutes to fill-out their questionnaire.