Again this year, several radio amateurs who also hold FCC Part 5 Experimental licenses for 630 and 2,200 meters will transmit Field Day greetings throughout Field Day weekend, June 24-25.
“This event has been organized for the fifth consecutive year to promote awareness of the new MF and LF amateur allocations ahead of the opening of the bands to hams in the US,” John Langridge, KB5NJD/WB2XIQ, told ARRL. “It’s an opportunity where hams and ham gear come together for a fun weekend, and we hope to add yet another layer to the mix.”
Participating stations will include WH2XXP (K7PO) in Arizona, transmitting CW on 474 kHz on the hour and quarter hours; WG2XIQ (KB5NJD) in Texas, transmitting CW (and some JT9) on 474.5 kHz on the hour and at 20 minutes before and after the hour; WG2XKA (WA3ETD) in Vermont, transmitting CW on 472.5 kHz throughout FD weekend; WB2XSV (W0YSE) in Washington, transmitting JT65 on 474.2 kHz (beacon text at +1,000 Hz); WH2XND (NI7J) in Arizona, transmitting CW on 136 kHz, and WE2XPQ (KL7L) in Alaska, transmitting CW on 473.5 kHz. More participants may join the list, and additional details and operational status will be posted.
Langridge encouraged Field Day stations to use HF rigs that include general coverage receivers capable of the listening below 500 kHz, coupled to “whatever antennas they might have on site to listen for these stations and others.” He said HF dipoles and verticals are probably best, with any antenna tuners placed in bypass mode.
“Let’s face it: It’s summer, and noise is high, so some groups will have more success than others, particularly on skywave paths at night when the noise level increases tremendously,” Langridge said, “but we have found that the exposure to these bands through this event has been quite high in previous years.”
He noted that all participating MF/LF stations have committed to contacting groups in their areas to let them know about the event, and, in some cases, even to visit local Field Day sites to perform receive demos and discuss the new bands. The FCC has allocated the 630 and 2,220-meter bands to Amateur Radio and has published operating rules, but they will not become available for use until a procedure to notify utilities in advance of operation has been developed and put into place.
“I hope there are a lot of impromptu attempts to copy these stations,” Langridge said. “It’s a very good engineering exercise for those who like to build antennas on the fly to increase their signal-to-noise ratio.”
Reports are requested and may be sent to respective station operators, but stations are also encouraged to enter reports on the online QSO/Reception Report Form for the ARRL 600 Meter Experimental Group, WD2XSH. They also can earn Field Day points by sending NTS traffic to ARRL (225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; 860-594-0200) indicating which stations were heard.
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