|Canada's National Amateur Radio Society|
|"We're ALL about Amateur Radio!"|
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This page, dedicated to stirring up interest in what we believe to be the future of amateur radio, was constructed by Ken Pulfer VE3PU with help from Laura Halliday VE7LDH.
There is a whole world of amateur radio in the Microwave Bands, which we are not exploiting. Hundreds of megahertz of bandwidth are under-utilised. If we don't get up there and use them, the private sector communicators certainly will, and we will eventually be squeezed out.
At the ITU in Geneva, spectrum users from around the world are actively competing for frequency allocations all the way up to 275 GHz. Allocations up to 1000 GHz are now being discussed.
Microwaves are being used for commercial satellite up and down links, radio astronomy, earth and space based radars, passive remote sensing, weather observation from both earth and space, inter-satellite communications, radio navigation, broadcasting satellites, fixed and mobile land based communications, vehicle control systems, search and rescue, radio location, and of course microwave heating just to name a few. Is it any wonder that there is pressure on the amateur bands?
Some time ago, amateurs in Canada were relegated to secondary status in our own bands between 430 MHz and 10 GHz. This means that we can only operate there if we do not interfere with other users IN OUR BANDS. The way commercial use of microwaves is growing, we are in grave danger of losing our primary privileges in the bands above 10GHz. If we have any hope of regaining primary status we will have to be seen to be using them in ways that benefit the public.
Some Canadian and US amateurs are using the bands. The ARRL have a data base of activity on the VHF, UHF, and Microwave Bands on their web site. Or you can visit VE6NTT's Western Canadian Weak Signal Registry
See also our own page on Canadian Claimed Microwave Records prepared by Steve Kavanagh VE3SMA
We can use these bands for satellite communications, communications to, and between, manned spacecraft, and moonbounce communications, just to name a few. Line of site land based communications is easy, but beyond the horizon communications is a challenge, and there is lots of room for experimentation.
At the very high microwave frequencies, atmospheric absorption of the signals becomes significant, and so commercial use is mostly limited to space to space communication.
On the other hand, the short wavelengths allow us to build small antennas with very high gains at a reasonable cost, which in turn allows us to work with low power transmitters and less sensitive receivers.
VE7LDH presented a paper on how to get started in microwave amateur radio at the AMSAT conference in Toronto, October 1997. Try and find a copy and read it.
In the meantime, here are a few sites on the internet where you can see what others are doing, where you can find help, and where you can look for components and equipment.
Clubs and Organizations
Personal Microwave Web Sites