Standard Observing Bands: Is Now the Time to Replace S/X with X/Ka?
ABSTRACT In this paper we will argue that the VLBI community should be developing a road map to transition from S/X to simultaneous X and Ka-band (32 GHz) observations. There are both negative and positive reasons for planning such a transition. On the negative side, we will outline concerns that S-band observations may be headed toward obsolescence. On the positive side, we will refer to evidence that X/Ka has potential for providing a more stable reference frame than S/X. We will propose timetables for a transition to X/Ka observing starting from the current status of X/Ka and plans that are now taking shape. First X/Ka fringes were obtained in 2001 with the Deep Space Network. Future plans will be discussed including a proposed X/Ka-band upgrade to the VLBA. Lastly, we will consider the need for a period of overlap between S/X and X/Ka so that the long and rich history of astrometric and geodetic VLBI is not compromised.