Saturday, November 30, 2019

Falkland Islands gain access to 70 MHz band

Dave, EI3IO, reports that the Falkland Islands Telecoms Regulatory Body has granted access for radio amateurs to the 4-metre band from 70.000 MHz to 70.500 MHz using a maximum power of 1 kW on a secondary basis since 15 November 2019.

The Falkland Islands (VP8) is now one of the few countries in the southern hemisphere with access to this unique VHF band. The map below shows the countries that have some form of access to the 4-metre band.

Red & Blue = Countries with some form of access on 70 MHz
What is perhaps unique about the 70 MHz allocation in the Falkland Islands is the sheer isolation of the location. There are no countries within a normal one-hop Sporadic-E range of the islands and indeed, the closest other radio amateurs on 70 MHz are probably in South Africa, a distance of some 6,200 kms!

This raises the very real possibility that contacts outside of the Falkland Islands may not be possible on the band.

The most likely possibility if at all would be a multi-hop Sporadic-E link across to South Africa but it would probably require 3 hops at 70 MHz which isn't easy. The other possibility is St.Helena in the South Atlantic but this is almost as far.

There may be a remote possibility of Sporadic-E link to some Trans-Equatorial Propagation (TEP) to the north but this seems unlikely.


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