Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New Ham Bands Occupied and Busy

The two newest ham radio bands – 2200 and 630 meters – are open for general amateur use and are
already being well-used. It appears that the first approval letters from the Utilities Technology Council (UTC) – which must sign off on notices that individual hams intend to use the bands – arrived on October 13, and some stations immediately got on the air. Amateurs wishing to use these bands must notify UTC and wait until an approval letter is received or until 30 days go by with no response before getting on the air.

Location of the 630 & 2200-meter bands/
in relation to surrounding spectrum.
CQ MF/LF Editor John Langridge, KB5NJD, reports that a record-setting 630-meter QSO of just over 7457 miles (12,002 kilometers) was completed on October 17 between Larry Molitor, W7IUV, in Quincy, Washington, and Roger Crofts, VK4YB, of Queensland, Australia using the JT9 digital mode. John says the previous record was 7333 miles (11,802 kilometers), set in 2016 between VK4YB and Steve McDonald, VE7SL, in Mayne, British Columbia (630 meters has been authorized in Canada for several years).

Meanwhile, the ARRL Letter reports that some denial letters have been received as well, including at least two amateurs who had been operating on the new bands under experimental licenses without reports of interference to power line carrier (PLC) systems, which share these frequencies in some locations. The FCC rule granting US amateurs access to these bands prohibits operation within 1 kilometer of power transmission lines on which PLC is in use.

On a related note, the ARRL says updated amateur frequency charts showing the new bands are now available for download, in several formats, from <http://bit.ly/2xhkUjF>.