The 5MHz (60 metres) band is one which seems to attract odd allocations and curious special conditions. The UK allocation is a set of “bandlets” (which makes finding overlapping bits with other countries’ allocations “fun”) available to Full licence holders only, and the special conditions in the schedule take most of a page. For example, one of them (item ix in note g) says "At a Temporary Location within the UK, the Licensee shall give the location of the Station every 30 minutes to an accuracy of at least 5km by a generally used identifier as indicated in Note (e) to the “Notes to the licence”. Giving a SOTA reference probably covers that. Giving a summit name probably does, too. Giving a Maidenhead locator certainly does. Another one (item x in note g) says “The Licensee shall only operate the Station to the extent that the Licensee can be contacted on a telephone which is located in close proximity to the Station.” Ofcom have my mobile number, so assuming there’s mobile coverage, I’ve got that one covered.
When operating elsewhere under CEPT, the local licence conditions apply, and as 5MHz wasn’t that widely available until quite recently I’ve chosen to use other more standard bands and avoid falling foul of licencing oddities like the ones above, but now bits of 5MHz are available in quite a few parts of the world, and with poor solar conditions it can be a useful band.
What peculiar licencing oddities applying to 5MHz might trip up visiting amateurs intending to operate under CEPT in other countries?
The WikiPedia text on the 5MHz band is very comprehensive but of course when travelling to a different country check with the regulator for that countries website as conditions can change and may not have been updated on WikiPedia.
By the way WikiPedia are looking for more money if anyone wishes to donate to them.
I think that it is very important that operators know their own allocations or frequencies.
I noticed that some operators just go anywhere they like on 5 MHz.
It is not unusual to hear German or Dutch HAMs calling into a UK SOTA activation on 5398.5 kHz.
This morning I noticed another Dutch operator joining a group of UK Hams for a chat on 5398.5 kHz. High power as well.
All regulations go out the window these days.
Aye. I’ve noticed activations with CEPT-style callsigns being spotted on 5MHz recently. When you’re operating in another country it’s important to make sure you know the local allocations, rules and restrictions. Wikipedia tries pretty hard, but there’s a lot more complication out there than one page can cover in detail, and with that much detail in one page it’s easy to miss things even if they are mentioned. Even when you find the other country’s rules they’re probably not short and sweet, and may be in a language you’re not crash-hot at reading. (I found a version of the German regulations in English. My German’s not good enough for me to be sure of the quality of the translation. I’ve not yet found an English version of the French regulations…)
The devil is always in the detail. Especially on 5 MHz.
Just as one example here in EI:
Besides the special EI spot frequencies we also have the WARC-15 band on 5 MHz. While many European countries only allow 15 watts EIRP, we are allowed 15 watts ERP. This can be easily either overlooked- or not understood.
That’s rather simple. Again, when looking for easy-to-overlook or easy-to-not-understand restrictions, come to DL!
15W EIRP (not considering ground gain) are permitted on 60m by amateur radio regulations. But in regards to electromagnetic compatibility, we are allowed to use only 10W EIRP (on any band!) unless we have a self-declaration of emc with us telling us the distance we have to keep the passers-by from our antennas.
For my own sanity, and as I have not used 60m for some time, is 5.3985 still the go to freq for UK SSB activations?
Life was so much simpler with the allocated channels we had back when the old King was Queen and money was made of wood.
My goto frequencies for non-thinking 60m in the UK are 5.4035 and 5.3985 as these also work for Michael EI3GYB who is normally the first or second station to chase me after I spot! I have all the UK spot frequencies saved and the tops/bottoms of the larger bandlets in consecutive memories. Also I have a laminated bandplan printout with me just in case I need to go somewhere else. But 5.3985 or 5.4035 is where I start…
Haven’t been getting out much lately but yes, 5.3985 is where I start with 5.4035 as “back-up” in case refugees from 80m are using 5.3985 to discuss at great length their ailments, their pet’s ailments, what they had for breakfast, what they’re going to have for dinner, their preferred brand of Christmas Pudding etc. etc. etc On the rare occasions both are in use I head for 5.3715 but that seems to be more prone to higher levels of noise.
Like Andy I also carry a printout of the full bandplan but don’t think I’ve ever needed to consult it on a summit…
That’s them done for then… eating Christmas pud before the 25th shortens your life by 64 microseconds, unless of course you are wearing odd socks at the time.
Seriously, the 80m refugees are about the only thing I can hear at the home QTH which indicates to me that they are running big power. They also have the audacity to appear on the frequency without warning or announcement. I just wonder whether this is going to make 5.3985 pretty much a non-starter for SOTA operation with most activators running just 5 or 10 watts. Perhaps those chasers with a bit of power will be happy to monitor activations and defend the frequency for SOTA activators and prevent it becoming a no-go frequency.
Having said this about 5.3985, I was running 25 watts on 40m SSB a couple of weeks back and got pushed off two frequencies inside a couple of minutes trying to establish a working frequency. People nowadays - no manners!
By SOTA non-starter, do you mean:-
a) due to bad-mannered operators? [No, only well-mannered ops use 60m]
b) cos 5.3950 and 5.3985 are too busy? [No, highly under utilized]
c) cos 5W or 10W too weak? [Worked fine for me recently using my KX2 12W for first time on SSB (with internal mic) to work Andy MM0FMF S2S]
BTW: I shall be QRV on 60m USB 12W (either 5.3950 or 5.3985) from about 12:15 Thursday [after doing 145-fm, 10-cw and 5-cw] from G/LD-041 and trialing use of an external mic.
I don’t think so, I have had a good number of successful chases on that frequency so far this year. I have also heard chasers warning off stations coming on a SOTA operators frequency without listening or asking if the frequency is clear, so the chasers are on guard!
That’s good. In which case I’ll spot on 5.3985 on Thursday.
I’ve acquire a $4 adapter cable so I can now plug a Sony earphones/mic into my KX2 MIC and SPKR sockets. It sounds alright monitoring on a FT817 in the same room. So I’ll be looking for audio reports when on-air from G/LD-041
a) due to bad-mannered operators? - Yes, I have had to move off 5.3985 in order to complete activations. The former channels are the most popular frequencies and 5.3985 perhaps the most popular.
b) cos 5.3950 and 5.3985 are too busy? - Not in general, but it is strange how frequencies can become occupied just when you try to start to use them, when they were clear beforehand.
c) cos 5W or 10W too weak? - SOTA activations can often be weak signals, indeed I struggle to chase any activations on the band due to the high local noise level. If people are operating under these conditions, then they need to realise that the frequency may already be in use. They need to ask if the frequency is in use, listen and then listen again… many don’t!
Thanks Wunder, I read your very helpful blog article.
I changed the TX EQ settings on my KX2 [previously all zero] to the dB values you used. They may not be optimized for my cheap Sony MDREX110APB.CE7 Deep Bass Earphones with Smartphone Control and Mic as normally used with my iPad but listening to my transmitted voice on a FT817 I can tell the bass is reduced and the top-end is enhanced so I’m confident that will improve intelligibility on air.
I’ve also set the mic gain (to give 4-5 bars) and turned off Mic Bias.
I’ll try out the DVR tomorrow. I haven’t turned compression on yet. I’ve never tried compression (but then I mainly do CW). Is it something you use routinely or only in noisy conditions?
Incidentally, I changed the MIC BTN from OFF to PTT. The Sony button does then activate the Tx but the mic stops working! It was a bit much to hope that it would be compatible. No hardship - I’ll press the XMIT button instead.