Company Name - Company Message
Union County ARES Blog Page

USA 5 Mhz. Emcomm, Not Ragchew DX Contest

The 60-meter ham band has quite different operating privileges in various countries of the world. The frequencies, rules, purpose, regulations, operating procedures, and levels of priority are all different in each country.

In USA, the 5 MHz channels for ham radio were specifically requested, justified, and approved primarily for Emergency and Disaster Communications. The stated justification is the need for NVIS and regional disaster response communications to fill in the propagation gap between 40 meters and 80 meters. The process of the Amateur Radio Service gaining access to these 5 MHz frequencies was long and exacting.
Recently, due to another multi-year process of proposal and rulemaking, FCC increased the privileges slightly for hams on 5 MHz. However, the FCC put even tighter technical restrictions on 5 MHz operation than on any other ham bands. 60-meters is not a normal ham band.

In this new ruling, FCC re-affirmed and clearly spelled out major restrictions for hams on 5 MHz. Hams are secondary users (or less) and the Primary users of the 5 MHz channels must not be interfered with in any way.
Non-interference with a Primary user isn't just a matter of stopping transmitting if you are asked to. It can also mean refraining from transmitting, if there is *any chance* that you might be preventing a Primary user from utilizing or starting communications on the channel, even if you are not asked specifically. The only way we can hope to fulfill our requirement for non-interference, is to use very short transmissions and listen/watch carefully between transmissions.

What are some common amateur radio operating practices that may not be suitable for 5 MHz 60 meter band operation in USA?
1. Calling CQ DX.
2. Long CQs.
3. Longwinded ragchews.
4. Calling in pile-ups.
5. High power transmissions.
6. Contesting.
7. Sending a long 'brag file' on PSK31.

In order to be ready for Emergency/Disaster Communications, hams need to have good familiarity with the band and have equipment capable of operating 5 MHz. Hams can only do this by participating in active operating on the 5 MHz band. Somehow, we need to achieve a balance between a good level of activity and the requirement for non-interference. Finding this balance may be difficult, but for the most part, hams are quite adept at good operating habits.
Every ham operator transmitting on 5MHz must pay special attention to the different operating methods and procedures that this unique authorization requires.
There are proposals in the works to create an international ITU allocation of a 60-meter Amateur Radio Service band with Secondary status.
If hams in USA are found to be operating in ways that disregard the spirit of the requested, justified, and approved reasons for which we obtained 5 MHz privileges, then it may be extremely difficult to ever get FCC support for increased spectrum.
More information:

Recent Posts

NBEMS - Doing It The HAM Radio Way
Practical Reasons for Ham Radio Volunteering and Management
My First Date with Olivia
USA 5 Mhz. Emcomm, Not Ragchew DX Contest
Personal Disaster Preparedness
powered by