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The August 1994 issue of Six News
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A New Six Metre Bandplan - Is it necessary?

Pierre Pasteur, HB9QQ



Activity on 50 MHz has greatly increased in the last ten years due to the liberation of the band in a great number of countries.  Also many amateurs with restricted licences (VHF only) have been allowed to operate on six metres and this has further increased the general activity.  The high solar values gave another incentive to activate the band and on days with great openings to W and JA the band was very overcrowded, especially in the CW portion. 

The current bandplan was created 20 to 30 years ago and the small occasional adaptations that have been made since then have not coped with changing needs. 

The next solar cycle (#24), which may bring good propagation in only five or six years from now, will motivate even more six metre operators, so there is no question whether we need a new bandplan.  The answer is YES.


Proposed new arrangement of the six metre bandplan

In the near future CW will no longer be obligatory to obtain an amateur licence to operate from UHF to HF.  Nevertheless, CW remains one of the most efficient and important traffic modes, especially for DX operation.  The newly developed modes like PSK31, WSJT, JT44 etc. might have specific advantages but they cannot reach a QSO rate (per minute) as high as CW.  Furthermore a great number of WSJT QSOs were only possible by pre-arrangement via cluster or Internet. 

1. CW portion
The current CW portion from 50.080 to 50.110 MHz is definitely too small, as has been proven during big openings to USA and JA.  Because of this the CW band would first of all be shifted down from 50.000 to 50.100 MHz and the operational details would be as follows:

50.000 - 50.050 MHz      Intercontinental segment

50.050 MHz                   CW calling frequency

50.050 - 50.100 MHz      CW general traffic


2. SSB portion
The new segmentation would be as follows:

50.100 - 50.150 MHz      Intercontinental segment

50.150 MHz                   Intercontinental calling frequency

50.150 - 50.300 MHz      SSB and CW general traffic

50.300 - 50.325 MHz      SSB and CW meteor-scatter traffic

General remark: HSCW meteor scatter might slowly disappear in the years to come, but SSB meteor scatter will always remain an interesting propagation mode.


3.  Digital communication
We can assume that digital communication will become more and more important in the future, therefore there should be enough space for any kind of digital experimentation and communication. 

The segmentation would be as follows:

50.325 -50.400 MHz       Digital communication

Subdivisions - if necessary - should be proposed by people with digital experience

General remark: it can be assumed that there will be no massive increase in WSJT DX communication as long as there is no automatic TX/RX time coordination between the two partner computers. 


4.  Crossband traffic
Crossband traffic, mostly 10m/6m, has gone more and more out of use (unfortunately...) as almost all DXers have access to a cluster or to the Internet.  Nevertheless the frequency of 28.885 MHz should be known and kept as an international six metre coordination frequency, especially for those people who have no access to the Internet (8Q7QQ, for instance).  But there is no need for a specific frequency within the new six-metre bandplan, because all crossband contacts are initiated by the station calling on 28.885 MHz, who will indicate the six-metre frequency to be used. 


5.  New definition of the beacon segment
The six metre beacons are a most important aspect of our DX activity worldwide and therefore it is surely a good idea to extend the beacon segment from 80 kHz to 100 kHz.  The beacon band should be from 50.400 to 50.500 MHz. 

50.400 -50.500 MHz       Beacons

Recommendation: for beacon rearrangements and new beacons care should be taken that the carrier in between the call sign, locator and other details should be identified as a beacon carrier by dots, dashes, pulses, shift-pulses, etc. so there is no confusion with commercial intruder carriers. 


6.  All mode segment
The all mode segment between 50.500 to 52.000 MHz could remain more or less as it is today.


May 2002, HB9QQ

Pierre is a respected DX operator and has made some important proposals.  They deserve serious consideration, but what do you think?  Whether you agree, disagree or have alternative ideas please let us know by writing to the editor at the address inside the front cover of Six News, via email to:, or take part in our debate on the Bandplan issue in the UKSMG Forum.


UKSMG Six News issue 74, August 2002


CQ from UA2F/DK2ZF
Lebanon on 6m
Bermuda on 50mhz - June 1994

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of mice and men - /p in EI
sic metres - the tragic band?
F2 DX opening cycle 22, 11 Feb '89
european beacon map
prototype time-sharing multi-band beacon
The story of PA3HEN/MM
are you one of the deserving?
an interview with Peter Sprengel, PY5CC
some statistics of activity by XE stations
the wide route along the equator

a homebrew contest station
the Hong Kong 6m scene