Thursday, October 12, 2017


World Radiocommunication Conference Approves Global 60 Meter Allocation!

The Plenary Meeting of the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) in Geneva has approved an allocation of 5351.5-5366.5 kHz to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis, with a power limit of 15 W effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP).

The November 18 decision on Agenda Item 1.4 was adopted on two back-to-back readings. Some Region 2 countries — but not the US — will be permitted up to 25 W EIRP.

With this action, and despite conditions that are more restrictive than had been hoped at the start of the Conference, the Amateur Service has obtained its first new global HF allocation since 1979. 

While the Final Acts of the conference are expected to take effect on January 1, 2017, the new band will not become available to amateurs until their national telecommunications administration amends its rules and licensing conditions.

Those administrations that already permit amateurs to operate in the 5 MHz range under certain conditions and on a not-to-interfere basis, including the FCC, will be considering whether, how, and when to modify those arrangements in light of the international allocation.

The 60 meter band or 5 MHz band is a relatively new amateur radio allocation, first introduced in 2002, that was originally only available in a few countries, such as the United StatesUnited KingdomNorwayFinlandDenmarkIreland and Iceland. Over a number of years however, an increasing proportion of countries' telecommunications administrations - together with their government and military users - have permitted Amateur Radio operation in the 5 MHz area on a short or longer term basis, ranging from discrete channels to a frequency band allocation.

At the closing meeting of the 2015 ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) on 27 November 2015, amongst the Final Acts signed into the International Radio Regulations was one approving A Worldwide Frequency Allocation of 5351.5–5366.5 kHz to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis.[1][2] The ITU's enhanced band allocation limits most amateurs to 15 watts effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP), with some countries allowed up to 25 W EIRP.[1][2] The ITU allocation came into effect January 1, 2017,[2] after which each country's national administration must formally revise their rules to permit amateur operation.

Prior to WRC-15, all 5 MHz Amateur allocations made by individual administrations were in accordance with Article 4.4 of the ITU Radio Regulations, which requires non-interference with other radio services. Where two-way amateur radio communication is authorized on 60 m, it has generally been within the frequency range 5250–5450 kHz, but the whole of this range is not necessarily available and allocations vary significantly from country-to-country. This has been particularly true in latter years since the award at WRC-12 of the range 5250–5275 kHz to the Radiolocation Service, thus effectively reducing the former frequency range down to 5275–5450 kHz.

In a number of countries the allocation is still channelized at present, whereas others have block or band allocations or a mixture. Voice operation is generally in upper sideband (USB) mode to facilitate inter-communication by non-amateur service users if necessary. In the United States and its Dependencies, channelized USB is mandatory. Where channelization is used, the USB suppressed carrier frequency (a.k.a. 'dial' frequency) is normally 1.5 kHz below the quoted channel frequency. For example, 5403.5 kHz is the 'dial' frequency for the channel centered on 5405 kHz. The "center" of the channel is based on the assumption that the bandwidth of SSB transmissions are 3 kHz, at most. Transmitters that are capable of wider SSB bandwidths should be adjusted for 3 kHz bandwidth or less so their emissions stay within the allocated channel.

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