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
CW calling frequency
50.050 - 50.100 MHz CW
2. SSB portion
The new segmentation would be as follows:
50.100 - 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
50.325 -50.400 MHz
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
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
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
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@example.com, or take part in our debate on the
Bandplan issue in the UKSMG
UKSMG Six News