500 kHz Experimenters in North America, Europe Get Active
In the 500 kHz Experiment quarterly report for the period ending May 2009, Experiment Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR, reported that since the experiment began in late 2006, 21 participating stations are currently active. The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology granted the WD2XSH experimental license to the ARRL in September of that year. In this quarter, the FCC only issued one new experimental license for 500 kHz, WF2XAU to Roy Croston, AB4OM. The FCC renewed WD2XGI to Mike Reid, WE0H.
In the spring of 2009, hams in the WD2XSH experimental group made one contact, bringing the total number of contacts to 336. Almost 500 reports were made to the 500 kHz Experiment's Web site, documenting 1051 hours of activity. Raab said more than 34,000 hours of activity has been logged on the Web site since the experiment's inception. Stations do not have to be members of the experimental team to post reception reports.
Raab said that due to increasing noise levels, activity has slowed some on the band, but "propagation conditions have remained generally good with a number of long distance receptions." He said that most of the quarter's activity came from WD2XSH/6, run by Pat Hamel, W5THT, of Long Beach, Mississippi, and WD2XSH/12, run by Mike Mussler, AI8Z, of Nederland, Colorado.
Nine other countries hold licenses to experiment in the 500 kHz band: Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Norway, Romania and Denmark.
To celebrate International Marconi Day on April 25, a Marconi official station using Marconi equipment completed a radio contact that was similar to those Marconi himself achieved many years ago. GB4FPR was operated from the Fort Perch Rock Marine Radio Museum near Liverpool. The operators used Marconi marine equipment and CW, receiving a 539 report from VO1MRC in St John's, Newfoundland. GB4FPR was transmitting 1 W ERP on 502 kHz and receiving the Canadian station on 3566 kHz in this transatlantic crossband QSO.
On June 18, Norwegian coastal station LGQ in Rogaland and LM500LGN in Bergen made a QSO on 500 kHz. LM500LGN is a special heritage license arranged by the NRRL, Norway's IARU Member-Society, and Norkram. According to Raab, this is the first issuance of a license specifically for heritage operations.