UK Hams operating outside 5MHz band limits

This week I returned to the 5 MHz band and specifically the JT65/JT9 data section around 5.357 MHz.

Here in the UK we do not have a continuous 5 MHz band, it is split up into smaller allocated parts UK 5 MHz allocation and this ‘bandlet’ is 5.354-5.358 MHz which means no part of a UK Radio Amateurs transmission should be any higher than 5.358 MHz.

JT65 signals are 200 Hz wide so when operating on USB the highest frequency you can use in the UK is actually 5.357 +800 Hz or 5.357800 MHz otherwise your transmission will be above the 5.358 MHz maximum permitted.

60m UK data

It is clear from observing the UK 5 MHz band that some (new to JT65/JT9 data mode) UK Hams may not understand the band limits and how JT65 signals can easily be transmitted out of band.

Last night I observed two UK stations well above 5.358 MHz and transmitting well outside the permitted UK allocation. They were

M0N** JT9 5.358.57 MHz 16:34-16:40 utc 03.12.2015 calling A61BK

M1P** JT65 5.358.68 MHz 17:48 utc 03.12.2015, later seen at 5.359.0 MHz and also chasing A61BK

Screenshots of the HamSpots Cluster Spots page HamSpots were taken by me showing other Amateur Stations also reporting seeing both these stations clearly transmitting outside the permitted UK 5 MHz band allocation.

What concerns me the most is that this behaviour threatens all our access to the 5 MHz band as it only takes the primary user to observe this and potentially we could lose our access. Their working the DX station also would not be legitimate either.

Elsewhere in the World the JT65/JT9 activity is permitted from 5.357-5.361 MHz plus and they can operate without having to stay within our narrow 1000 Hz wide section that falls within the rest of the World’s allocation, but if they do we cannot call them back unless we transmit in our own allocation lower down in frequency and either encourage them to join us there or work split frequency.

Seen the next day

M0A** JT65 5.358.28 MHz 15:50 utc 04.12.2015 working PA0ING

G3J** JT65 5.358.18 MHz 16:29 utc 04.12.2015 working LA4CQ

 

 

 

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Yaesu ATAS-120A problem fixed

My vehicle mounted Yaesu ATAS-120A antenna suddenly stopped working yesterday, the antenna lowered itself right down and then wouldn’t tune again or move.

I disassembled the antenna completely today suspecting either water damage from the horror stories shown online of water ingress or a failed solder joint, neither was correct the antenna looked like new inside.

Back on my vehicle the ATAS-120A still wouldn’t work, so I disconnected the power supply from my Yaesu FT-857D radio and reconnected it.

This time the antenna showed INIT on the radio display when I tried to tune and after about 30 seconds it worked perfectly again.

Wish I had done that first before I took it all apart!

73 de Philip G0ISW

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Julian G4ILO SK

Very sad news for me is the recent passing of Julian G4ILO who is now SK after his long battle with serious illness.

I never met Julian in person, but we shared almost exactly the same interests at the same time in amateur radio such as SOTA, QRP, Elecraft KX3, APRS, WSPR etc. and we communicated our enthusiasm and ideas to each other via the WWW.

Every day I use Julian’s amateur radio software, that he developed himself for the benefit of us all, such as VOAProp for assessing real-time HF conditions.

73 de Philip G0ISW

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Little activity on UK 2M or 70CM UK repeaters heard

I drove down from Cumbria to Hampshire just over a week ago (and back again the next day) and noted very little activity on any 2M or 70CM repeaters during the middle of the day, despite me putting out frequent calls.

How times have changed. I heard one QSO the entire journey and that was about someone talking about the door of their wardrobe being faulty. Despite amateur radio license numbers in the UK apparently still in healthy figures, the number of operators on the Air definitely seems to have diminished on VHF/UHF FM.

Also the quality of the conversations and operating standards have gone downhill a lot since 1983, I seldom if ever hear anyone now talking about technical matters anymore, just silly things that never used to be prevalent in this hobby.

Not a good week.

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JT65 data mode activity within UK 5 MHz band

Having a keen interest in Amateur Radio data modes I have for over the past year been using Olivia 16-500 around 5.368 MHz for working other stations within the United Kingdom. I found this mode the most robust and popular, with some PSK31 activity around 5.363 MHz, but not a lot else.

I had worked the same stations over and over again (some in excess of 20 times) & was keen to find some 5 MHz DX data activity, but where?

Being very familiar with WSJT-X and JTAlert software for JT65/JT9 weak signal data communications on the other HF bands I was initially frustrated to find that the Internationally recommended 5 MHz frequencies for both modes were 5.357-5.359 MHz for JT65 and 5.359-5.361 MHz for JT9 signals, which looked at first glance to be outside our UK 5 MHz band segments.

However, on closer inspection I noticed that our 5.354-5.358 MHz UK band segment did overlap very slightly with the International one and with careful tuning it would be possible to just fit in some 200 Hz wide JT65 signals between 5.357-5.35780 MHz. See table below.

Image

Using a combination of CQ calls and posts on the chat pages of Hamspots I was able within a few days to generate considerable activity in this area as word spread to other UK Radio Amateurs that they too could work DX here using JT65 mode, so long as they were very careful not to go higher than 5.35780 MHz. It was also a revelation for DX stations to find UK activity where they could work it.

Since 25th January 2014 I have worked 14 stations in the following Countries:

England (G), USA (K), Scotland (GM), Norway (LA), Italy (I), Canada (VE) & Slovakia (OM)

It has been interesting to observe when the 5 MHz band has been open to which DX Countries with a clear higher chance for catching US stations from around 22:30 UTC onwards, although they can be worked up to around 09:00 but that is the middle of the night for them.

If UK SSB speech users can be encouraged to use 5.354 MHz USB dial for their voice communications rather than 5.355 MHz USB then it avoids any conflict and allows simultaneous SSB voice and JT65 to co-exist harmoniously in the only small sliver of shared JT65 International spectrum.

The Cluster spots are full every day of International Amateur Radio JT65 data stations all in the range 5.357-5.359 MHz.

73 de Philip G0ISW

http://www.qsl.net/g0isw

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