Sunday, 29 March 2015

New Licences and the 60m Minefield

UK amateurs have been receiving new licences over the past few weeks from our dear licencing authority, OFCOM.
The licences arrived (here at m0xpd, at least) by email and are pdf files, named by the licence number - having exactly the same name as the licence they are to replace (making it impossible to keep them in the same folder for comparison purposes).

I didn't surrender my foundation and intermediate licence (which arrived a few days ago) and my full licence arrived last, at which point I finally bothered to take a look and see what all the fuss was about.

Truth is, there is very little difference of any interest to me - in fact, the only matter of any real interest is the change in handling the 60m band from a Notice of Variation ('NoV') to a standard clause in the new full license.

Here's the new detailed description of the UK full licencee's rights on 60m...

I must confess, it caught me rather by surprise - particularly as I'd never looked into 60m before much less actually operated on 60m (the obstacle represented by the whole tedious process of applying for the NoV saw to that).

My surprise was  associated with the complexity of the description of the band above - as compared to the simplicity of (for example) the adjacent 80 and 40m bands. This surprise was piqued when I noted the notes...

You need to tread very carefully in this minefield of band limits to "ensure radiation does not take place outside the specified frequencies". Further, with the frequency bands presented in the format used in the license, I could not easily see exactly where a 6kHz band was available - if at all - to those poor fools who might like to use DSB. So I figured it out...

After going to the trouble of figuring it out, I found almost exactly the same information on line, which is always rather deflating. So here's an alternative way of visualizing those parts of the 60m band on which we are safe to tread...

As you see, there are 5 (of 11)  places on 60m where a DSB enthusiast could hang their hat. Otherwise, it is all SSB and narrowband modes.

What I had completely failed to understand before my new license arrived (and, hence, what surprised me) is that 60m is effectively channelized - it grew out of an intention that the band would be operated with a set of discrete (USB) dial frequencies for voice and the rest of the spectrum in between these points is pretty much a minefield (little wonder the "military" gets so much mention in this context in our new license).

It was in this state of ignorant bliss that I had provided the Kanga VFO with a continuous sweep between 5.2585 and 5.4065 MHz...

What am I going to do about it?


Except from write this blog post. The VFO is just a demonstration of what's possible with the technology building blocks rather than anything more. It could be elaborated to switch through the channelized USB frequencies on 60m, but let's just say that task is nowhere near the top of my to do list.

Neither, in all honesty, is exercising my new-found rights to operate on the 5 MHz band.

...-.- de m0xpd

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that. Your blog makes it much easier to understand the licence.
    Best 73 Rick G6AKG

    PS. I'm thinking of building fixed frequency QRP DSB rig for this band. :¬/