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The 5 MHz Newsletter Marks 10 Years

The first edition of The 5 MHz Newsletterappeared in the autumn of 2011, heralding the growth of the new 60-meter band to serve as a propagation bridge between 40 and 80 meters. The newsletter, edited by Paul Gaskell, G4MWO, offers official news of new allocations and regulations as well as feedback from operators. As a band, the US authorized a group of Experimental License operators to use 60 meters, while the UK discussed the issue, deciding that a number of channels could be feasible. UK hams had five 3-kHz wide channels to start.

Similarly, a band was not possible in the US, which settled on five channels. Other countries followed suit — sometimes with channels, sometimes a band, with a variety of power limits and modes. According to the newsletter, 85 countries currently have a presence on 60 meters. In 2017, the FCC invited comments on ARRL’s Petition for Rule Making to allocate a new, contiguous secondary band at 5 MHz to the Amateur Service in addition to four of the current five 60-meter channels (one would be within the new band) as well as current operating rules, including the 100 W PEP effective radiated power (ERP) limit. In the US, the federal government is the primary user of the 5 MHz spectrum. The FCC designated ARRL’s Petition as RM-11785 but has not acted on it.

At last report, the Malaysian Amateur Transmitters Society (MARTS) said its telecommunications authority MCMC has approved a secondary 60-meter allocation based on the WRC-15 template. Radio amateurs there were waiting for formal paperwork to be completed before they could use the band. However, MCMC granted MARTS temporary licenses that permit the use of 60 meters for emergency communication and emergency communication drills.

“Hardly had this been granted than it was activated,” the latest edition of the 5 MHz Newsletter reported. “During the MARTS Annual General Meeting on December 18, 2021, heavy rain began to fall, and MARTS activated its MDECC (MARTS Disaster and Emergency Communications Centre) under the call sign 9M4D. A significant number of Malaysian states were flooded, communities evacuated, and telecommunications lost. “The MDECC remained open for a number of days carrying their own as well as third-party traffic concerning situation reports and aid requests to the national disaster management agency,” the newsletter said.

MARTS now is transmitting in WSPR mode “from time to time” on 5364.7 kHz as 9M4BQC. The authorization is temporary. The beacon has been heard in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canary Island, China, Den-mark, France, Germany, Hawaii, Italy, Luxembourg, Manchester, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, UK, and in the US. Reception reports are welcome directly via WSPRnet or email. — Thanks to The 5 MHz Newsletter


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