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ARRL 600 Meter Experiment Reports 202,400+ Hours of Operation, Zero Interference Complaints


The ARRL 600 Meter Experiment under the WD2XSH Part 5 Experimental license reports that no interference complaints have been received from other services operating in the 465-515 kHz band over the course of more than 202,400 hours of operation, nor was interference from other operations an issue for any of the experiment’s participants. That statistic was contained in the Experiment’s March 1 to May 31, 2016, report, prepared by Experiment Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR, with participants Rudy Severns, N6LF, and John Langridge KB5NJD, and released on July 3. Utilities’ expressed fears of interference to their unlicensed PLC systems prompted the FCC to consider regulatory provisions that include a possible notification requirement by some radio amateurs to utilities with systems in the pending 630 meter (472-479 kHz) and 2200 meter (135.7-137.8 kHz) bands, prior to operating. Utilities use unlicensed PLC systems to control parts of the electrical power grid.

The latest WD2XSH update reported another 16 contacts on the pending 630 meter band, for a total of 578. The Amateur Radio community continues to wait for the FCC to release a Report and Order spelling out service rules and operational requirements for the two bands — both of which have become available in more than a dozen other countries, including Canada. The ARRL petitioned the FCC in 2012 to carve out the same band for US hams.

“When the FCC grants amateur access to the band from 472 to 479 kHz, I will restrict operation under the experimental license to 461 to 472 kHz,” Raab said in the report. “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.” Earlier this year he asked that the ARRL renew the WD2XSH experimental license while awaiting FCC action on 630 meters and 2200 meters.

In an ex parte statement filed on March 10 with the FCC, the ARRL asked the Commission not to adopt “an overbroad” requirement for notification of utilities in advance of intended Amateur Radio operation on the pending 2200 and 630 meter bands.

According to the report, activity on 630 meters continued through the spring, despite increasing noise levels and deteriorating propagation. “This spring was characterized by bad weather that was more persistent than normal,” the report recounted. “This kept a number of operators off the air a good deal of the time.”

Band conditions overall were described as “variable.” The path to Australia from North America was reported to have been good and “relatively predictable,” while the paths to Europe and Japan have been less active.