ARRL 630-Meter Experiment Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR, has proposed an informal band plan for the pending 472-479 kHz band. Raab said that once US radio amateurs are granted access to 630 meters, he would move stations operating under the blanket WD2XSH FCC Experimental (Part 5) license to 461-472 kHz.
“This will clear the amateur frequencies, while allowing the experimenters to run unattended propagation beacons without using the limited bandwidth that will be available to amateurs,” Raab explained in his spring 630-Meter Experiment Project Status quarterly report. “The new 630-meter band will have a very limited amount of spectrum (7 kHz).”
On March 28, the FCC adopted rules that will allow secondary Amateur Radio access to 472-479 kHz and to 135.7-137.8 kHz (2,200 meters), with minor conditions. One of these involves a requirement to notify the Utilities Telecoms Council (UTC) of proposed Amateur Radio operation on either new band. The FCC says the Office of Management and Budget (under the Paperwork Reduction Act) must first approve the information-collection requirements in §97.303(g)(2). Procedures to meet the requirements are said to be still under development by UTC, which says it wants to avoid Amateur Radio interference to power line communication (PLC) systems used to manage the electrical power grid. No such interference has been reported during the extensive Experimental operation on 630 meters as well as on 2,200 meters.
Raab and LF/VLF enthusiast John Langridge, KB5NJD, prepared the 630-meter band plan “based upon established patterns, separates different modes of operation, and harmonizes US amateur operations with those in Europe.” The plan, which has not been endorsed or adopted by ARRL, calls for using only narrowband modes — with bandwidths of 150 Hz or less — during nighttime operation. Modes such as AM, SSB, and MCW would not be used at night except during special events, under the plan, but in the event a “wideband” mode were necessary, the signal should be confined to between 476 and 479 kHz.
The plan also suggests operating frequencies for WSPR and JT9, as well as for QRSS (very slow-speed CW).
“Those desiring to operate continuously transmitting CW propagation beacons or to use wideband modes are encouraged to obtain experimental licenses and to operate either below 472 kHz or above 479 kHz,” Raab said in his quarterly report. “This will ensure they are easily monitored but will not use up the limited 7 kHz of the amateur band.”
Raab’s report notes that the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) has issued its first 472-10 award to JH3XCU. Brazilian radio amateurs now have access to 630 and 2,200 meters, while some other South American countries allow access by special permit, the report noted. Amateurs in these countries now have access to 630 meters: Germany, Greece, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Philippines, Czech Republic, Ireland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Finland, Spain, France, Poland, Bulgaria, Canada, Vietnam, Japan, Cayman Islands, La Reunion Island, Hungary, and Brazil.
“It appears that there are now over 100 DXCC entities that have permission to operate on 630 meters,” Raab pointed out in his report.