Radio Amateurs in Canada are poised to join those in several other nations around the world who have access to a new 60-meter band, 5351.5 – 5366.5 kHz, as agreed upon at World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15), but with a maximum power of 100 W effective radiated power (ERP). The updated Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations includes the new allocation, although radio amateurs have not yet been authorized to use it. Canada’s radio amateurs will also retain the four Amateur Radio channels that do not fall within the new allocation. These have been authorized under a footnote to the Table since 2014, permitting phone, data, and CW at a maximum occupied bandwidth of 2.8 kHz. The 60-meter allocation and spot frequencies are on a secondary, non-interference basis.
In January 2017, ARRL asked the FCC to allocate a new, secondary contiguous band at 5 MHz to the Amateur Service, while also retaining four of the current five 60-meter channels and current operating rules, including the 100 W PEP ERP limit. The federal government is the primary user of the 5 MHz spectrum in the US. The FCC has yet to act on ARRL’s petition.
Canada’s regulatory agency, the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) last August proposed to adopt WRC-15 decisions that included the 15 kHz Amateur Radio allocation. The proposed revisions to the Table would retain the original five 5 MHz spot frequencies with a maximum of 100 W ERP, but restrict the new 15 kHz allocation to just 15 W EIRP, as agreed to at WRC-15, accommodating the concerns of a few countries over possible interference to their domestic communications.
“Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) noted in its response to the proposed changes that there had been no reports of interference from Amateur Radio operations on the existing five 60-meter spot frequencies following their use in Canada since 2014 and in the USA for even longer,” RAC President Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRA, said. “Further, the rationale for allocating the spot frequencies had been based on the value of 60 meters for emergency communication, and the low power limit adopted at WRC-15 would seriously limit this use.”
MacDonnel said comments from the Radio Advisory Board of Canada (of which RAC is a member organization), the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club, the Marconi Radio Club of Newfoundland, and several individual radio amateurs also recommended 100 W.
“The new allocation will be more effective and manageable for domestic SSB communications, and consistent with the existing use of the band on the five spot frequencies now enjoyed by Canadian amateurs,” MacDonnel said.
ISED typically authorizes the use of new allocations via a revised document RBR-4 – Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Radio Service. “Radio Amateurs of Canada will be urging ISED to authorize the new 15 kHz segment as soon as possible,” MacDonell said.
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