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Bandplans and contests

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Ian, G7RIS

Fri Apr 11 2008, 09:46PM
Hi Gents,
During the 2007 uksmg contest I really struggled to find a "quiet" frequency and it really brought it home to me just how squashed up the band plans are. I know contests are very infrequent but having just 70Khz for phone is daft when the band is 2Mhz wide. I know I could have gone above the digital section but would anyone else be listening up there?
I was wondering what the digital, eme, ms etc guys thought about the band plans and what their views were of spreading the bandplans out etc.
I know the band first starts opening up at the bottom end first and hence why everyone wants to be down there but does this bother the eme and ms guys?
I'd be really interested to hear everyones thoughts........
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Trev, EA5ISZ
Sat Apr 12 2008, 10:30AM
Trev, EA5ISZ

Registered Member #13
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 01:43PM

Posts: 143
Thats an interesting question Ian and one I hadn't consciously considered until now.  I am not a regular 'digital modes' operator so cannot speak for those guys, but have always considered the band well up to, and often above, 50.300 as likely to contain SSB signals during a contest and especially during an opening to the USA.  Because most people tend to tune around 50.130 to 50.200 for the most part during a contest, I try and find a slot within that area in order to capitalise on that.  I always tune above that on regular intervals though, especially once the initial rush is over, as its surprising what does turn up at those rareified heights : -) 

As you say, its a large band and it does not make sense to leave a large chunk of space empty especially as most of the regular digital ops are probably operating in the contest anyway.  My view I suppose is that there are relatively few occasions when 50.2 to 50.3 is likely to be populated by anything other than white noise or the strangely musical tones of a digital QSO.  A once or twice a year incursion is unlikely to cause major upset.
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Ian, G7RIS
Sun Apr 13 2008, 10:29PM
Ian, G7RIS
Registered Member #149
Joined: Fri Apr 04 2008, 12:27PM

Posts: 18
Hi Trev,
During the contest I did venture above 50.2 for a couple of reasons, first was to look for possible French stations and secondly I was suffering 30khz plus of splatter from a very strong Italian station further down the band.
During this "venture" I was politely asked to move frequency as I was operating ssb in the digital section of the bandplan and was causing interference to a digital QSO, although I couldn't hear either stations (so there must be something in this weak signal stuff after all!!!!)
I know that in 1996's band plan the SSB and CW only section went all the way to 50.500 with a SSB "calling frequency" of 50.2. Now the SSB centre of activity is 50.150 and MS centre is 50.2 with digital modes above. There has been an explosion of fantastic digital modes and they have as much right as any mode to a slice of the cake, it is a big cake but it seams we all want the same bit of icing.......
The bottom of the band does open up first and hence that is why we are all crammed down there but as I've never yet tried EME or MS so I don't know if there are any disadvantages for these modes if they were moved slightly up the band I'd have thought sporadic e must play havoc with moonbounce though? There are some very dedicated EME guys out there so I'd love to know their thoughts and also what is the "best practice" for working french stations?
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Sergio, IK0FTA
Mon Apr 14 2008, 05:56AM
Sergio, IK0FTA
Registered Member #8
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 06:35AM

Posts: 3
Could I suggest an easy (but a "medium time resolution) propose and approve, in next IARU session, a new BP "moved up".
BEACON dwn 50050;
only CW 50050-50100 (calling qrg 50080),
INTERCONTINENATAL 50100-50150 (calling 50110),
"old narrow mode" (SSB-CW 50150-50300) (calling 50200);
ALL narrow mode (SSB, CW, RTTY, DIGITAL) 50300-50500. Digital center of activity moved up on 50300 and EME on 50350 (as fact digital center of activity is now on 50260 but all are using 230... strange world).
NO ANY CONTEST ACTIVITY(AT ALL in INTERCONTINENTAL WINDOW (50100-50150).
Any would incourage a new 6m era? Try it!
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Ken, G4IGO
Thu Apr 17 2008, 08:08PM
Ken, G4IGO
Registered Member #31
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 08:16PM

Posts: 62
Hi All. Re contets and band plan. Contests, as they are few and far between, and are a "radio sport" should live round the users that occupy the band on a daily basis - not vice versa. What use do contests serve - very little nowadays (but I accept that for country and grid hunting etc. they are of great use - I have used them for that purpose) The origonal thought behind contests was to promote acivity and, when radio was real radio, to send the data etc , and encourage propagation study - well thats all gone now. Re the band plan. For the record 50.150 was agreed by the pioneers of 50 MHZ back in the late 1980's - I myself conducted a survey and based on the replies 50.150 became an agreed centre of activity (calling channel) for EU. The bottom end - what a shambles. The beacons are supposed to be regulated/coordinated by the responsilbe person in Region 1 - but they aren't. Any person can willy nilly set up a beacon whenever and what ever they want. Beacons should be moved to 50.500 and above. This would free up the bottom end for the weak signal modes - CW and JT65 etc ( note jt65 etc is designed to be WEAK SIGNAL - not S9++signal useage). Remember that the bigger aerails and arrays are usually narrow bandwidth - so to get the best setup for your TX the SWR should be basically 1:1 - for recieve its not so critical - so if your bandwidth ( 1.2:1 is the widest for weak signal modes) is only 100 khz then you can see that having a station capable of weak signal useage over say 500 khz is not readily achievable - so whether we like it or not the major portion of the band useage is as it is - between 50.090 to 50.210 for most people and slighty more for the wsjt modes (these are not digital - they are digitally generated AUDIO signals). I think Trevors reply is in the main a fair assesment. As long as we respect each other and are respected by others then all should be OK. Remember that the only people who have a "right" to any frequency are the people that are already in qso on that frequency. In the main the EMErs wont be on whilst there is E's around - it messes up decodes - and most, but not all wsjters will qsy to CW/ SSB in any case - or go away till the contest finishes. Remeber also that there are upmteen different frequency allocation in EU that have to be satisfied - the French for example. IMHO the usage of SSb and CW is dropping year on year - after all the most acitve people on the band over the last 6 months are the WSJT crowd - signs of things to come when the main mode will NOT be SSB or CW - think about it. It wont be long before most qsos take place on the Data modes.
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Colin, 7Q7CM
Sat Apr 19 2008, 12:43PM
Colin, 7Q7CM
Registered Member #32
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 08:29PM

Posts: 2
What exactly does "intercontinental" mean?
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Ken, G4IGO
Sat Apr 19 2008, 12:55PM
Ken, G4IGO
Registered Member #31
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 08:16PM

Posts: 62
Extending or taking place between or among continents = dictionary definition
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Colin, 7Q7CM
Sun Apr 20 2008, 08:19PM
Colin, 7Q7CM
Registered Member #32
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 08:29PM

Posts: 2
Not accurate to so call the dx window then; intercontinental could be almost local traffic.
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Ian, G7RIS
Sun Apr 20 2008, 10:01PM
Ian, G7RIS
Registered Member #149
Joined: Fri Apr 04 2008, 12:27PM

Posts: 18
Hi Ken,

Something gives me the feeling you don't care for contests much!

I still find the high level of activity found during contests very useful for propagation study, even to a point of comparing propagation to a station only 4 miles away, at times it has looked as if we were on different planets. As for what use do contest serve:- for me every time I take part in a contest I try and improve some part of my station and/or operating technique, "self-training in radio communications, including technical investigations" as it's called in the licence.
I've lost count of the number of days (when there isn't a contest) thats had 9+20dB of tv timebase but not a sole on the band (but saying that the band has been dead as a dodo for so long!!!).

Fair point on the bandwidth of high gain aerials and most of us only have room for one so "one size must fit all" but I'm sure Ofcom would love to hear that we all only use a very small portion of the band because of our narrow bandwidth yagis......

If at all possible I won't venture into the digitally generated audio portion of the band (or any other portion) unless I'm using that type of mode, it's not illegal, but it probably upsets others and to me its un-ethical.

I still believe there must be a better way of using the 50mhz spectrum, possibly like you say by moving the beacons further up the band.

Cheers

Ian

PS Thanks for the article on baying two yagi's, it's given me some great ideas for the next contest setup!!!
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Neil, G0JHC
Tue Apr 22 2008, 05:46PM
Neil, G0JHC
Registered Member #110
Joined: Tue Apr 01 2008, 01:51PM

Posts: 19
Hi Ian, G7RIS. I fear we are too far down the “6m road map” to pull back from what is now the recognised IARU band plan, especially as far as the bottom end is concerned. It's obvious if we were to start again today, it would be very different. It would be interesting for UKMSG to allow QSOs in their TEST in the bottom 80KHz, to highlight the issue? Food for thought?

I for one will be using the “beacon band” next cycle or when its busy in the Es season. Until folk vote with their feet (or mic, cw key etc), nothing will change. The subject has been approached with various “Society representatives” but deemed too complicated to move forward.

I think there is room for "digital above 51MHz ?
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