Here is some of the information that is available regarding the new 60 meter allocation in the USA.
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 2 ARLB002
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT January 3, 2003
To all radio amateurs
SB QST ARL ARLB002
ARLB002 ARRL Concludes 5-MHz Experiments, Awaits FCC Decision on New Band
With its experimental license having demonstrated the desirability and feasibility of a domestic 5 mhz amateur allocation, the arrl has allowed wa2xsy to expire on january 1 2003 rather than request renewal. Last May, the FCC proposed going along with the ARRL's 2001 request for a new domestic secondary HF allocation at 5.25 to 5.4 MHz.
15 Amateur Radio clubs and individual amateurs took part in the 5-MHz experimental operation that began in January 1999 and largely concluded in 2002. ARRL chose not to request another renewal of the WA2XSY license because it already had obtained sufficient information to justify its petition for the band.
In a letter filed with the FCC last August after the comment deadline had passed, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration recommended that the Commission not go forward with the 5-MHz proposal. The NTIA said several government agencies with allocations in the proposed spectrum had expressed reservations about allowing amateurs to use the band.
The ARRL has been working with the government to resolve the impasse. The ARRL has called the 5 MHz allocation an urgent priority of the Amateur Service and said that a new band at 5 MHz would aid emergency communication activities by filling a propagation gap between 80 and 40 meters. In the meantime, experimental operations on 5 MHz continue on a very limited basis in the United Kingdom and in Canada.
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 38 ARLB038
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT June 3, 2003
To all radio amateurs
SB QST ARL ARLB038
ARLB038 New 60-meter band becomes available July 3
The new five-channel 60-meter domestic secondary amateur allocation becomes available to US Amateur Radio operators at midnight local time on July 3. The FCC Report and Order granting the allocation was published June 3 in the Federal Register. Federal government users are primary in the 5 MHz band.
The FCC has granted amateurs use of five 2.8 kHz-wide channels with center frequencies of 5332, 5348, 5368, 5373 and 5405 kHz. The channels will be available to General and higher class licensees. The only permitted mode will be upper-sideband USB phone, and 50 W ERP is the maximum power allowed.
Users of the 60-meter channels should set their carrier frequency 1.5 kHz lower than the channel center frequency. (See chart below) ARRL suggests restricting transmitted audio bandwidth to 200 Hz on the low end and 2800 Hz on the high end for a total bandwidth of 2.6 kHz. ARRL recommends that amateurs considering modifying existing amateur equipment for operation on 60 meters contact the equipment's manufacturer for advice.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN ARRL LETTER Vol. 22, No. 21, May 23, 2003
60-METER OPERATION TO REQUIRE OPERATOR PRUDENCE, CAUTION
When the five channels of the new 60-meter amateur allocation become available later this year, Amateur Radio operators will have to learn some new operating habits and adopt some new on-the-air attitudes. The limited spectrum and stringent bandwidth requirements will mean amateurs will have to demonstrate their best behavior and operating skills if the Amateur Service ever hopes to get an actual band segment at 60 meters.
"In terms of Amateur Radio spectrum, we usually say, 'Use it or lose it,'" said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ. "The watchword for 60-meter operators should be, 'Misuse it and lose it.'"
The channelized scheme--similar to the 5-MHz experimental operation under way in the United Kingdom<http://www.rsgb-hfc.org.uk/5mhz.htm>--puts unfamiliar technical compliance demands on US hams who have, until now, not had to worry much about frequency stability or transmitted audio bandwidth. The FCC has granted amateurs 5332, 5348, 5368, 5373, and 5405 kHz--the last channel common to the UK experimental operation's band plan. These are all "channel center frequencies," the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said in a March 13 letter to FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) Chief Edmond J. Thomas. The NTIA, which administers federal government spectrum, opposed allocation of an actual ham band citing the ongoing spectrum requirements of federal licensees with homeland security responsibilities. The channels will be available to General and higher class licensees.
The NTIA says that hams planning to operate on 60 meters "must assure that their signal is transmitted on the channel center frequency." In general, the NTIA has advised, users should set their carrier frequency 1.5 kHz lower than the channel center frequency. According to the NTIA:
|Channel Center||Amateur Tuning Frequency|
|5332 kHz||5330.5 kHz|
|5348 kHz||5346.5 kHz|
|5368 kHz||5366.5 kHz|
|5373 kHz||5371.5 kHz|
|5405 kHz (common US/UK)||5403.5 kHz|
ARRL Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, says the assignment of these channels implies that amateurs now must adhere to certain frequency tolerances for their use. While the international Radio Regulations don't list these for the Amateur Service, he notes, they do stipulate tolerances on the order of 20 to 50 Hz for other services.
"We haven't been told anything specific about frequency tolerances for these channels but would probably annoy federal regulators if we strayed any more than 50 Hz from the assigned carrier frequencies," Rinaldo cautioned.
Keeping one's audio within the 2.8-kHz wide channel to comply with the 2K8J3E emission specification is another important issue. ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, believes prudence calls for not having baseband audio below 200 Hz nor greater than 2800 Hz--for a total bandwidth of 2.6 kHz. "That will probably keep us out of trouble," he said. Noting that the high-frequency response "can vary a lot from radio to radio," however, Hare recommended that amateurs play it conservatively.
Additionally, the FCC has restricted operation to USB only, with a maximum effective radiated power (ERP) of 50 W. The USB-only requirement stemmed from NTIA interoperability concerns. The NTIA wanted to make sure that federal users could copy and, if necessary, identify any amateur station using one of the 60-meter channels. As a result, the 60-meter frequencies will become the only ones available to the general amateur community that do not permit CW operation.
For the sake of this particular grant, the FCC said it would consider a half-wave dipole to have a gain of 0 dBd. In its letter to the FCC, the NTIA stipulated that radiated power should not exceed "the equivalent of 50 W PEP transmitter output power into an antenna with a gain of 0 dBd."
"Although this is less spectrum than the American Radio Relay League petition requested, this is the best we can do pending a definition of Homeland Security HF requirements," concluded Fredrick R. Wentland in the NTIA's letter to the FCC's OET.
Sumner has predicted that, over time, amateurs can and will "develop a record of disciplined, responsible use of the five channels in the public interest that will justify another look at these rather severe initial restrictions."
Just when amateurs will get their first crack at 60 meters is not yet clear. The changes to Part 97 go into effect 30 days after publication of the Report and Order (R&O) in The Federal Register, which has not yet happened. Publication could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. ARRL will announce a specific date as soon as it's known.
The FCC Report and Order in ET Docket 02-98 is available on the FCC's Web site <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-105A1.doc>.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN ARRL LETTER Vol. 22, No. 23, June 6, 2003
NEW 60-METER BAND TO BECOME AVAILABLE JULY 3!
The new five-channel 60-meter amateur allocation becomes available to US Amateur Radio operators at midnight (12:00 AM) local time on July 3. The local time designation means that amateurs in the US territory of Guam likely will be the first to get a crack at the new band.
The new band will be a secondary allocation--federal government users are primary--and the first on which the only permitted mode will be upper-sideband (USB) phone (emission type 2K8J3E). The FCC last month announced it would grant hams access to five discrete 2.8-kHz-wide channels instead of the 150 kHz-wide band ARRL had requested and the FCC initially proposed. The League remains optimistic, however, that Amateur Radio eventually may be able to enjoy a band segment with multiple mode privileges at 60 meters. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, has said that in the meantime hams will have to be on their best behavior when taking advantage of the limited channelized allocation, open to General and higher class licensees.
The FCC has granted amateurs center-channel frequencies of 5332, 5348, 5368, 5373 and 5405 kHz--the last channel common to the amateur experimental operation under way in the United Kingdom <http://www.rsgb-hfc.org.uk/5mhz.htm>. To be "on channel," users of 60 meters should set their transmitted carrier frequency 1.5 kHz lower than the channel-center frequency. In terms of day-to-day operation, the new band is expected to resemble the sort of channel sharing typical on local repeaters.
ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, says hams need to be very careful if they're considering modifying their current transceiver or transmitter for 5 MHz. The ARRL advises that members check with the appropriate equipment manufacturers regarding specific modification information. Some modifications not only may void the warranty but could affect or alter a transmitter's operation in unpredictable ways.
"Hams need to be sure that any modifications put them right on the desired channel," Hare said. "Most hams are used to just having to think about band edges, so on other bands, if a mod were a bit 'off,' all operators would need to ensure is that they are not transmitting outside the band."
Hare recommended that on 5 MHz amateurs remain within "a few tens of Hertz" of suppressed-carrier accuracy. He also pointed out that hams have a mandate not to have any of their signal occupy spectrum outside the assigned 2.8 kHz channels.
Noting that high-frequency audio response can vary considerably from radio to radio, Hare has suggested restricting occupied channel audio bandwidth to 2600 Hz, rolling off below 200 Hz on the low end and above 2800 Hz on the high end.
Last-minute opposition to the granting of a band segment at 5 MHz came last year from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which cited the ongoing spectrum requirements of federal government licensees having homeland security responsibilities. The NTIA administers spectrum allocated to the federal government. A compromise between the FCC and the NTIA resulted in the limited, channelized allocation.
The NTIA selected the channels the FCC authorized to minimize the possibility of interference to federal government users, and it dictated the use of USB so that federal government users--who also use only USB--could readily identify amateur stations if necessary.
The FCC has set maximum power at 50 W ERP and said it would consider a typical half-wave dipole to exhibit no gain.
ARRL Bulletin 40 ARLB040
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT June 18, 2003
To all radio amateurs
SB QST ARL ARLB040
ARLB040 5 MHz allocation update
When the five new 60-meter channels become available to US Amateur Radio operators at midnight (12 AM) local time on July 3, the rules will impose a new record-keeping requirement for hams. The requirement applies only to those using something other than a simple half-wave dipole on the 5 MHz allocation.
According to Part 97.303(s), a half-wave dipole on the 5 MHz allocation will be presumed to have a gain of 0 dBd. ''Licensees using other antennas must maintain in their station records either manufacturer data on the antenna gain or calculations of the antenna gain,'' states the newest addition to the FCC's Amateur Service rules.
Because the new rules also require hams to run no more than 50 W effective radiated power (ERP) on the new channels, the choice of antenna becomes an important compliance factor. The FCC rules stipulate, ''For the purpose of computing ERP, the transmitter PEP will be multiplied (by) the antenna gain relative to a dipole or the equivalent calculation in decibels.''
ARRL has posted a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) concerning 5 MHz operation on the ARRL Web site, <http://www.arrl.org/fandes/field/regulations/faq.html#sixty>.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN ARRL LETTER Vol. 22, No. 25, June 20, 2003
60-METER RULES ADD NEW RECORD-KEEPING REQUIREMENT
When the five new 60-meter channels become available to US Amateur Radio operators at midnight (12 AM) local time on July 3, the rules will impose a new record-keeping requirement for hams. The requirement applies only to those using something other than a simple half-wave dipole for an antenna on the 5-MHz allocation.
According to §97.303(s), a half-wave dipole on the 5 MHz allocation will be presumed to have a gain of 0 dBd. "Licensees using other antennas must maintain in their station records either manufacturer data on the antenna gain or calculations of the antenna gain," the newest addition to the FCC's Amateur Service rules says.
Because the new rules also require hams to run no more than 50 W effective radiated power (ERP) on the new channels, the choice of antenna becomes an important compliance factor. The FCC rules stipulate, "For the purpose of computing ERP, the transmitter PEP will be multiplied with [sic] the antenna gain relative to a dipole or the equivalent calculation in decibels."
If you use a half-wave dipole--about 87 feet 3 inches for the "middle" channel according to the formula--setting your transmitter's power output power at up to 50 W peak envelope power (PEP) should ensure compliance.
Under no circumstances may amateurs on 5 MHz radiate more than 50 W ERP in any direction, so those choosing to employ gain antennas will have to "do the math" and calculate their ERP. They also will have to keep a record of such antenna gain calculations on file. This might include documentation such as output from a computer modeling program for a homebrew antenna design. For example, an amateur using an array for 5 MHz exhibiting a calculated or modeled gain of 3 dB would have to cut power to 25 W PEP to comply with the new rules.
Operating on 60 meters is the subject of the July 2003 QST "It Seems to Us . . ." editorial <http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2003/07/01/1/> by ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ. "If we demonstrate that we can use [the 60-meter channels] responsibly, cooperatively and in the public interest, there is no reason we cannot seek expanded access at an appropriate time," Sumner wrote. "If your personal operating practices are inconsistent with that, please do yourself and everyone else a favor and confine your operating to the traditional bands."
The FCC Report and Order in ET Docket 02-98 is available on the FCC's Web site <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-105A1.doc>. The ARRL has posted a list of frequently asked questions concerning 5 MHz operation on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/faq.html#sixty>