Will be interesting to see what happens... FCC Invites Comments on ARRL Petition to Allocate New 5 MHz Band In November 2011, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Report and Order that substantially expanded Amateur Radio privileges on the 60-meter band. The new privileges will take effect at 0000 EST on March 5, 2012. The ARRL offers the following as a set of Recommended Operating Practices for these rules changes: Amateurs are permitted to operate on five frequency channels, each having an effective bandwidth of 2.8 kHz. Table 1: Channel 1: 5330.5 kHz Channel 2: 5346.5 kHz Channel 3: 5357.0 kHz Channel 4: 5371.5 kHz Channel 5: 5403.5 kHz These frequencies are available for use by stations having a control operator holding a General, Advanced or Amateur Extra class license. It is important to note that the frequencies shown above are suppressed carrier frequencies – the frequencies that appear in your transceiver’s tuning display when your transceiver is in the USB mode. Amateurs may transmit with an effective radiated power of 100 W or less, relative to a half-wave dipole. If you’re using a commercial directional antenna, FCC Rules require you to keep a copy of the manufacturer’s gain specifications in your station records. If you built the directional antenna yourself, you must calculate the gain and keep the results in your station records. When using a directional antenna, you must take your antenna gain into account when setting your RF output power. For example, if your antenna offers 3 dB gain, your maximum legal output power on 60 meters should be no more than 50 W (50 W plus 3 dB gain equals 100 W Effective Radiated Power). In addition to increasing the power amateurs can use on 60 meters, the Report and Order also expanded the number of legal operating modes: Upper Sideband (USB) CW Digital Each mode comes with its own requirements for legal operation on 60 meters. Upper Sideband Operation Upper Sideband operation on 60 meters is simple. Just tune your transceiver to one of the channel frequencies shown in Table 1 and operate, being careful you do not overmodulate and create “splatter” that would fall outside the 2.8 kHz channel bandwidths. If your transceiver allows you to adjust your maximum SSB transmit bandwidth, setting it to 2.4 kHz should keep you well within the legal limit. CW Operation CW operation must take place at the center of your chosen channel. This means that your transmitting frequency must be 1.5 kHz above the suppressed carrier frequency as specified in the Report and Order (see Table 1). Operating at strict channel-center frequencies may come as a disappointment to many, but cooperating with the NTIA is key to expanded privileges in the future. The channel center frequencies are: Channel 1: 5332.0 kHz Channel 2: 5348.0 kHz Channel 3: 5358.5 kHz Channel 4: 5373.0 kHz Channel 5: 5405.0 kHz Consult your transceiver manual. Some transceivers transmit CW at the exact frequencies shown on their displays, but others offset the actual transmission frequency by a certain amount (for example, 600 Hz). If your manual is not clear on this point, contact the manufacturer. If you have access to a frequency counter, this is an excellent tool for ensuring that your CW signal is on the channel center frequency. Digital Operation Our expanded privileges on 60 meters were the result of collaboration between the FCC and the NTIA – the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the agency that manages and coordinates telecommunications activities among US government departments, the primary users of the band. The NTIA expressed concern about possible interference and requested that amateurs limit digital operating to PSK31 and PACTOR III only. It is certainly possible to interpret the FCC Report and Order somewhat broadly as it concerns digital operating on the band, but be careful not to read too much into the text.Therefore, as a practical matter it appears that any J2D data emission is to be permitted up to a bandwidth of 2.8 kHz, provided that care is exercised to limit the length of transmissions With an eye to the potential for expanded 60 meter privileges in the future, the ARRL believes it is critical to cooperate fully with the NTIA. Therefore, the ARRL asks all amateurs to restrict 60-meter digital operations to PSK31 or PACTOR III. With PSK31 you must operate on the following channel center frequencies: Channel 1: 5332.0 kHz Channel 2: 5348.0 kHz Channel 3: 5358.5 kHz Channel 4: 5373.0 kHz Channel 5: 5405.0 kHz The easiest way to achieve this is to place your transceiver in the USB mode and tune to one of the suppressed carrier channel frequencies shown in Table 1. With your PSK31 software display configured to indicate audio frequencies, click your mouse cursor at the 1500 Hz mark (see below). With your radio in the USB mode, this marker indicates the center of the channel and it is the frequency on which you should be transmitting. PACTOR III operation on 60 meters is straightforward. With your transceiver in the USB mode, tune to one of the suppressed carrier channel frequencies shown in Table 1. Note that only live keyboard-to-keyboard operation of PACTOR III is allowed. Unattended automatic operation is not permitted. .