RAC Bulletin 2014-001E – Radio Amateurs of Canada applauds 60 metre band frequency allocations
Industry Canada has announced that a number of specific frequencies within the 60 metre high frequency band have been approved for amateur radio use.
A total of five specific frequencies within the 5 MHZ band have been allocated, 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz. Radio amateurs across Canada have new frequencies to explore as a result of a recent decision of Industry Canada.
“Canada has joined a number of countries in making channels available in the 60 metre band, near 5MHz for use by radio amateurs. This will provide increased ability for Canadian radio amateurs to help out in providing emergency communications when existing systems fail as has happened in ice storms and flooding. We applaud this decision of the Canadian government.” said Geoff Bawden, President of Radio Amateurs of Canada.
Unlike the commercial communications systems so important to modern society, amateur radio does not require an extensive infrastructure for communications. Radio amateurs take advantage of natural phenomena to send their signals across town and around the world. They delight in being able to set up in a remote location with their own power supplies and simple antennas, often home built, competing to see who can make the most contacts in a limited time. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service in Canada, sponsored by RAC, provides training and organizes exercises for radio amateurs to sharpen their skills to be able to respond to emergencies. As well these organizations and amateur radio clubs often provide communications to community public service activities and events such as ski races and marathons, bicycle races and car rallies. The skills radio amateurs develop through their hobby and these activities mean that in emergencies that shut down power grids, internet and wireless communications, amateur radio can continue to function. In major emergencies such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 and the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last year amateur radio operators are often the first source of information from affected areas.
The key resource for amateur radio is access to the radio spectrum. Conditions in the atmosphere and high in the ionosphere determine the distances over which communications are possible. The new allocation at 60m between existing allocations at 80 m and 40m should make regional communications more reliable. Furthermore as Canada and the United States have allocated many of the same channels to their radio amateurs cross border communications are possible. Fortunately major emergencies are relatively rare. Radio amateurs will explore communications on the new frequencies as they do in all available bands, experimenting, learning and making new friends across the world.
The five 60 metre channel allocations are the same as authorized in the USA, with the same power restriction of 100 watts ERP (relative to a dipole antenna). Transmissions, independent of emission mode, must be centered on the each of the following frequencies: 5.332, 5.348, 5.3585, 5.373, and 5.405 MHz with a maximum allowable channel bandwidth of 2.8 kHz. When operating SSB, upper sideband will be the convention to follow on the 60 metre band. Other modes that are permissible will be CW, Data (including PSK 31 and Pactor III), and RTTY. With this latest authorization on operation on the 5 MHz channels to Canadian Amateurs with HF privileges, there will no longer be a requirement to operate under a special Developmental license and VX9 call sign. Holders of such licences can now let them lapse. Canadian amateurs should refer to the posting of RBR-4, Issue 2, for all details before proceeding to operate on the new 60 metre channels: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf10650.html
Their curiosity and eagerness to develop and share this hobby will enrich the communities where they operate and provide needed resilience in communications when emergencies require it.
Technical details of this decision can be found here:https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf10623.html
Contributions by Norm Rashleigh VE3LC and Glenn MacDonell VE3XRA.
Vincent Charron, VA3GX/VE2HHH
Vernon Ikeda – VE2MBS/VE2QQ
RAC Blog Editor/RAC E-News/Web News Bulletin Editor