CQ North America. 10m FM Band Plan Question

As many of the North American Chasers will be aware, I’ve been working quite a bit of 10m FM. This mode has seen very little SOTA activity and the Chasers, especially North American, are extremely keen to work it.

I normally hang out around 29.200, however the Russian QRM can be a nightmare here. Maybe I’m reading things incorrectly, but according, to the RSGB Band Plan, 29.100 - 29.200 with 10KHz spacing. is okay for FM.

However, looking at the ARRL Band Plan, 29.000 - 29.200 is the North American AM segment of the band. Everything between 29.200 and 29.590, seems cluttered with Satellite Downlinks and Repeater inputs up to 29.590.

29.600 is the recognised FM calling channel and then from 29.610 we run into repeater outputs.

I would be grateful for some North American thoughts?

73 Mike

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Good question ! 10m FM is kind of not thought about on the band plan, apart from repeaters. After all repeaters are the be all and end all :wink:
I’d avoid the Satellite downlinks, there’s also a little space in between the repeater outputs … or the “AM” sub band I guess.
It was nice to work you the other day !

Andrew - K1YMI / GM1YMI

This 2001 discussion is informative. 10m FM

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Hi Andrew,

Looks like the band planners have paid little more than lip service to the FM part of 10m. For many of the North American Chasers I’ve worked, it has been their first ever HF FM contact This is not surprising, as not only is there very little bandwidth to play with but AM seems to be the much more popular mode.

Thanks for taking the time to give me a call on 10m FM last Sunday, great fun!

73 Mike

Hi Marc,

Many thanks for the link.
Look forward to working you on 10m USB/FM again, real soon.

73 Mike

It could be the bandplan reflects interesting in the wider audio modes. If AM is used a lot more you’d expect to see more in the bandplan. Or maybe the bandplanners like AM more than FM.

Anyway, you can always use repeater allocations Mike. The repeaters don’t have dibs on the frequency so if they’re not actually supporting QSOs not using the frequency is a waste. Then there’s the possibility of working split so that stations where bandplanning is mandatory can use a frequency listed in their plan and you can, quite acceptably, operate elsewhere.

Chicken and egg, Andy. If there’s hardly any FM bandwidth alocated in the first place, then it could be reasonably argued that AM will be the more popular mode.

Indeed. Probably trying to operate within the spirit of the bandplan is the best you can do. There’ll always be someone who moans but keeping AM/FM together is probably better than running FM over satellite downlinks or beacons.

DX FM is quite rewarding especially when you get a monster fully-quietening signal. I did a bit of 6m FM DX in the past and had many a ragchew into LA/SM during peak SpE season.

Great to hear you’re enjoying the FM portion of the band Mike!

I had a great time on Sunday from home, nothing more than 25 watts Carrier (100 W PEP) on AM and worked a few US stations, very nice on the ears too! So easy to listen to rather than the hiss of SSB! Best of all on an antenna that cost 3 pounds to make, 1/4 wave vertical with 3 groundplanes, they really are so simple and the way to go on 10m!

I’m now up and running with PSK using Wolphi Link and the Droid PSK app, I might take a venture up a hill I have already activated and give the system a test.

About to start activating again, a mixture of cricket, band and women have prevented me getting out on the hills, here’s to hoping that will change in due course!

If you’re up for a joint activation Mike, let me know.

This pooch needs walking all the time


Matt G8XYJ

In my total 54 Amateur Life on the air I have never really worked much 10M FM
Such Little action on the air there I would think any Freq you can work and not have much QRM from Bootleggers would be great. I do know last week I think it was on 29.600 there was real weak signals in there crying about it being the FM Calling Freq. I though you was Calling and we Reply (?) HEE
What Ever Freq you want to work should be good as We do not stay on long at one time anyway.
Always good to work you on any Mode.
Thanks and Cheers
73 de W4DOW (Dow)
#1 Chaser in W4V

Checking the IARU bandplans for region 1 & 2, they have the same allocations for 10m FM.

29.600 is the FM calling frequency
10kHz channels
29.620 - 29.690 repeater outputs

Region 3 has 29.510 - 29.700 for wideband modes.

Region 1 lists 29.610 for “FM simplex repeater”, whatever that is.

It would seem OK to call on 29.600, then move up in 10kHz steps if the frequency is busy.

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Here in VK there are 4 main repeater channels, 29.620 - 29.680 output, with the 10 Khz steps up from 29.600 used for simplex. There are 4 10m repeaters in VK, VK5RSC, VK3RHF, VK4RKC and VK6RHF, although not sure if they are still on as they are only workable via skip here.

29.200 - 29.300 Mhz is used in Japan like a CB band, lots of local chatter in Japanese. There is an unofficial JA calling frequency on 29.300 Mhz.

10m FM is a fairly inefficient mode subject to phase distortion from multi-pathing, but can sound great when really open.

Just hear how good the 10m FM signal can be when the propagation works:
YO2MSB/P in QSO with M0WRI