Canada Seeks New 472-479 kHz Ham Band
Canada has proposed creating a new MF Amateur Radio band at 472-479 kHz. The 7 kilohertz sliver of spectrum would be available to hams on a secondary basis. The new 630 meter band was proposed in a Consultation released in June by Industry Canada, the nation’s radiocommunication regulator. It proposed numerous revisions to Canada’s table of allocations warranted in the wake of World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 (WRC-12). Last year the ARRL asked the FCC in 2012 to carve out the same band for US hams.
“It is good to see the progress that our neighbors to the north are making in implementing the new 472-479 kHz amateur allocation,” said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ. “We hope the FCC will act soon on the petition that the ARRL filed on November 29, 2012, to achieve this goal for amateurs in the United States.”
As the ARRL noted in its Petition for Rule Making, the issue of a domestic LF or low MF Amateur Service allocation first arose in 1979 as the FCC prepared for that year’s World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC), which resulted in the creation of the 30, 17 and 12 meter bands. Last November the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (ET Docket 12-338) proposing the creation of a new LF ham band at 135.7 to 137.8 kHz. Canadian hams already have such an allocation.
As Industry Canada observed, “The main interest of the amateur service in the 500 kHz (600-metre) band lies in its unique propagation properties, which are different from those in the 135 kHz and 1800 kHz bands.” The regulator pointed out, for example, that the band allows for ground-wave propagation that’s unaffected by ionospheric disturbances and sunspot-cycle variations. “This characteristic would prove invaluable in the continuing development by radio amateurs of communications in disaster and emergency situations,” Industry Canada continued. “Moreover, new means of reliable radiocommunications using digital signal processing represent opportunities to make use of these frequencies.”
Assuming the new band is approved north of the border, the maximum allowable equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) of Amateur Radio stations could not exceed 1 W. Amateur Radio stations “shall not cause harmful interference to, or claim protection from, stations of the aeronautical radionavigation service [ARNS],” Industry Canada noted.
The regulator said studies have shown that the proposed secondary allocation “would not adversely impact the maritime mobile, aeronautical radionavigation or aeronautical mobile services.” According to Industry Canada, “mitigation measures such as frequency and geographic separation would ensure that amateur service operations would not interfere with incumbent services in the band under study.”
Some countries at WRC-12 opposed the secondary allocation, arguing that the ARNS — a “safety-of-life service” — requires protection from amateur operations. “Ultimately, a worldwide secondary allocation of 7 kHz in the band 472–479 kHz was made to the amateur service,” Industry Canada said.