RAC, Canadian Amateurs Favor New MW Amateur Band
Radio Amateurs of Canada has commented in support of a proposal that would create a new secondary Amateur Radio medium-wave allocation at 472 to 479 kHz. 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 MW band for US hams.
“RAC is pleased to see the department has included this allocation to the amateur service on a secondary basis in Canada, consistent with outcome of Agenda Item 1.23 at the World Radio Conference 2012,” said RAC President Geoff Bawden, VE4BAW, on behalf of RAC. “It is acknowledged that amateur service use of this new…band will be limited to 5 W effective radiated power relative to an isotropic radiator,” Bawden continued. In line with WRC-12, Industry Canada proposed that stations in the Amateur Service “shall not cause harmful interference to, or claim protection from, stations of the Aeronautical Radionavigation Service.”
Bawden said the addition of the MW band to the Amateur Service “will give Amateur Radio operators in Canada an opportunity to participate with other amateur operators in conducting short and long-range propagation studies using very narrowband digital techniques. Such communications will provide another path for emergency and disaster relief communications, when necessary.”
Several Canadian radio amateurs and other organizations also filed comments favoring the new MW allocation.
Bawden also offered the RAC’s support to create a 60 meter band for Canada’s radio amateurs. The allocation 5250 to 5450 kHz is not yet available to hams north of the border, and while Industry Canada did not specifically propose creating an amateur allocation there, the RAC remains optimistic.
“Based on the posted comments, we expect a favourable decision to this consultation very soon and expect an appropriate footnote will be added to this portion of spectrum [in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations] indicating the six spot frequency allocations authorized to the Canadian Amateur Service and any restrictions on use that may apply,” Bawden told IC.
Low-frequency experimenter Joe Craig, VO1NA, writing on behalf of the Marconi Radio Club of Newfoundland (MRCN), added that group’s voice to those supporting the creation of the 472-479 kHz band in Canada. “From 2009-2012 , we and other Canadian amateurs conducted experiments between 504 and 509 kHz in support of a domestic allocation to the Amateur Service in this portion of the radio spectrum,” Craig noted. “We have used Morse and digital transmissions on 504.1, 507.77 and 508.5 MHz and were authorised to use up to 20 W ERP. There were no reports of interference from these operations.”
Utilities in Canada and the US have opposed the addition of a secondary Amateur Radio allocation at 472-479 kHz as well as at 135.7 to 137.8 kHz. In its comments, the Utilities Telecom Council of Canada (UTCC) urged IC not to establish an Amateur Radio allocation at 472-479 kHz, saying that interference to power line communication (PLC) systems operating in that part of the spectrum is highly likely and would be difficult to mitigate, since the PLC systems would have to avoid interfering with amateur operations.
“If there was an amateur allocation at 472-479 kHz, amateurs could freely operate in close proximity to transmission lines without the utility knowing that they were there,” the UTCC said in its comments. “Utilities would probably only become aware of these operations when it was too late, because they would experience unexplained outages or mis-operation of PLC systems. Interference to PLC systems has to the potential to cause widespread electrical outages.”
Craig asserts that the utilities are using drama, conjecture and “outright inaccuracies” to support their position, even citing what he called “the unfortunate FCC decision to deny 137 kHz” to US hams. “We can hope that reason will prevail, and that the new band will soon become available to Canadian amateurs,” he told ARRL.