I wasn't suggesting derailing the current radio release or altering it any way. I was thinking of 'next steps after 70cm is going'.
As to "we will do it if the customer asks" - I work at a major producer of network gear (yes, that one! :-) ) and I hear that same message all of the time. Unfortunately, that means that you're asking your current customer base - who, ostensibly, bought your product because it fits their need - to direct your product development. You generally only get incremental changes rather than innovative/revolutionary product growth that way.
These aren't the people who you need to ask about expanding the product - it's the people who did *not* buy your product because it did *not* fit their need that you need to ask. I've worked with several product groups to extend their product well beyond what their current customers wanted (because, as an 'enterprise customer' myself, I do know what bigger enterprises require), and I've helped grow sales into large, enterprise-class customers who would never have considered the product in its original state. (No, they don't send me a cut! :-( )
I'm acting as one of those customers "who has a need outside the scope of the current product" (although I still want the current product too!), as I can see that it's going to be a tougher sell across a lot of the southern states that are hit by PAVE PAWS. 219-220 MHz would be a good target here, as it is allocated (at least in Northern California) to high speed digital use. I'd forgotten that the synthesizer deck was limited to 1 GHz, and raising that (or messing with transverters) would be a much bigger project than a 220 MHz RF deck (says he who isn't designing the RF deck :-)). I know that this doesn't help those outside North America, though. (Seems that maybe a transverter option would be worth pursuing there?)
Those of us in the SF Bay Area or on the coast may be able to operate low level stations on 70 cm for now thanks to the hills between us and Beale AFB (where the local PAVE PAWS site is located), but anyone more inland from here (Pleasaton, Livermore, Vacaville, Sacramento and the Central Valley) are likely to run afowl of PAVE PAWS, even at low elevations. The details of what constitutes 'interference' are classified, so it is difficult for anyone to operate within range of one of these sites to avoid interference that they don't know that they are creating, and the danger is that the government could shut down the entire 70 cm band in the whole state if they have to handle interference issues (apparently this has been brought up already).
A finger-in-the-air test would be: how many people in the PAVE PAWS affected areas have signed up for a unit?
Once the current unit is going, how much work is involved in getting a 220 MHz deck going? My previous comment not withstanding (I'm nowhere near the RF guy that Dennis is!), I would be willing to tackle a first-round 220 MHz deck as an experimental project. This would in no way derail the current deployment, as the only resources that I would need would be a 70cm unit (which I'm waiting eagerly for the release of) and maybe an occasional question answered on this forum. I believe that I already have sufficient RF test gear to make this successful (and an impetus to gather more if needed :-) ).
If others are willing to help, the more the merrier. If you happen to be in range of my south San Jose station - all the better, we can work together over-the-air!
- Richard VE7CVS