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The RAC Microwave Band Planning Committee is currently reviewing our usage of the amateur bands between 2 and 275 GHz, and is seeking comments and suggestions on possible revisions to two of the plans, which would bring them more in line with international usage.

Most of the present band plans were approved by the RAC Board of Directors on May 23 1998, (three revised plans were approved October 14 2003), and can be found on the RAC web site at http://www.rac.ca/en/rac/services/bandplans/.

Members of the RAC Microwave band planning committee are:


Results of the RAC HF Band Planning Questionnaire

(From Bob Nash, VE3KZ)

Thanks to all who participated in the Band Plan Questionnaire last year. There were 390 identified respondents distributed geographically as follows:

Maritimes/Nfld/Lab - 39
Quebec - 46
Ontario - 162
Man/Sask/Alta - 69
British Columbia - 73
VE0 - 1

223 were RAC members - 57%
167 were non members - 43%

License Class:
77% Advanced
23% Basic

Code Qualification:
12 WPM - 76%
5 WPM - 16%
No-code - 8%

Operating Modes:
SSB - 89%
FM - 74%
CW - 63%
Digital - 37%
AM - 13%
SSTV - 11%

Operating Bands:

Band Number of hits per Band % with any activity on the band
<1hr 1 to 5hr >5hr
2m 79 114 136 84%
80m 94 157 74 83%
40m 92 141 49 72%
20m 66 84 114 68%
15m 69 82 53 52%
10m 77 52 75 52%
17m 69 62 22 39%
70cm 51 49 36 35%
30m 74 44 13 34%
12m 70 47 10 33%
160m 69 42 12 31%
6m 47 23 24 24%
Other 17 13 10 10%

Favorite Mode:
SSB - 53%
CW - 26%
FM - 15%
Digital - 5%
AM - 1%
ATV - 1%
SSTV - 1%
Note that rounding gives a 102% total.

Favorite Band:
20m - 27%
2m - 14%
80m - 12%
10m - 12%
40m - 12%
15m - 7%
6m - 5%
17m - 5%
160m - 2%
30m - 2%
12m - 1%
220MHz - 1%
70cm - 1%
Higher - 1%
Note again that rounding gives a 102% total.


Although 2 metres may be the most used band in Canada according to this survey, 20 metres is the favorite band, with all the other non-WARC bands also in the top six in both categories.

Note the differences between the actual bands operated on and the favorite bands. 20m, 6m, 160m and 10m are more loved than used while the reverse is true for the others. Certainly the fascinating propagation vagaries of 6m, 160m, and 10m account for much of this difference. For the modes, the order is the same for both actual operating and favorites.

Voice modes are the most used, but CW ranks second in popularity, despite lower usage. It is noteworthy that over one-third of the respondents use digital modes on a regular basis.

Remarks presented in the Issues and Changes sections found CW the favorite subject with remarks for and against fairly evenly divided. This prompted a separate questionnaire. The problem band was definitely 40 metres. It will take international changes to really solve the many problems there but the committee will try to bring all the factors into the Band Plan revisions. Digital mode allocations were the next highest reported concern, and revisions will try to take into account the growth of these modes since the last plan in 1995.

From the standpoint of the HF Band Planning Committee, the results indicate the extreme importance of the 80 and 20 metre bands. This is not earth-shaking news, but it is nice to have some figures to back up the supposition. The use of various modes is also important to the committee. Mode allocation within the bands is the most important role of a Band Plan. Setting up useful guidelines for operating within a band is necessary in the absence of legislated sub-bands. It is up to the amateurs of Canada to regulate our own use of modes within each band while leaving some flexibility for the unusual situations that will arise from time to time.

Using the information you have provided, and that of the other agencies worldwide, the HF Band Planning Committee hopes to provide revisions to the 1995 plan on a continuing basis over the next year. Keep track of the proposed revisions at http://www.rac.ca/bandplan.htm. These proposals will be on view prior to RAC Executive approval. Please provide any more ideas you may have to improve this guide for the use by both beginners and others of the HF bands in Canada. 

Send your information to Bob Nash at .