Sunday, November 22, 2020

Radio amateurs in the UK unlikely to get 40 MHz allocation


Ofcom is the licensing authority for the radio spectrum in the UK and in a response to an informal query, they indicated to the Royal Society of Great Britain (RSGB) that an allocation at 40 MHz for radio amateurs in the near future was unlikely.

In an editorial comment in the VHF/UHF column of the November 2020 issue of RadCom from the RSGB, the VHF Manager John Regnault, G4SWX wrote... "In recent years, the RSGB has informally asked Ofcom about amateur access to 40 MHz. Ofcom responded that this was not amateur radio spectrum, whilst they would agree to the continuation of the GB3RAL propagation beacon on 40 MHz, they would not agree to further beacons or general access to 40 MHz by UK amateurs."

"Readers should also note that NoV access to unused spectrum at 71 and 146MHz was granted for innovative experimentation and not more of the same (CW/SSB/FM)."

"The view expressed by Ofcom is that UK radio amateurs have adequate VHF/UHF spectrum for these traditional activities." 

The GB3RAL 40MHz beacon first went on air back in 2007 and it was only operational for a short period. The RSGB are now looking to find a new home for this 8-metre beacon and getting it operational again.

As of November 2020, just Ireland, Slovenia, Lithuania and South Africa have some sort of access to the 40MHz band.

For more information on the new 40MHz band, visit this page...


Photon said...

Thanks for that news, John, which I hadn't seen elsewhere.

I would certainly be interested in using that band; it must have interesting propagation characteristics.

John, EI7GL said...

Yes John, it should roughly the same characteristics as 10m and 6m. What is really unique about the band is that F2 propagation at the peak of the sunspot cycle will reach 40 MHz a lot more often than say 50 MHz.

I'd guess it might be like comparing 28 MHz and 24.9 MHz now.

Bill 2E0FMI said...

So we hear other country's using 8meters and as close as Ireland coming through but the UK can't use that band? Like to know the answer to why not from Ofcom have I missed something?

John, EI7GL said...

Hi Bill

As outlined in the post, Ofcom are not interested in 'more of the same' when it comes to allocating additional spectrum to radio amateurs.

They did allocate space at 71 and 146 MHz for digital TV experiments. There would need to be a specific reason made for an allocation at 40 MHz before they would consider it.

Anonymous said...

5MHz is more of the same except UK amateurs can have QSOs with MOD stations but that was allowed. I do wonder if the RSGB presented a decent case for 40MHz or they are simply disinterested in the idea themselves so did not present the idea seriously.

I think the RSGB's handling of the introduction of Ofcom's EMF rules failed to represent all radio amateurs and their concerns as some of their responses to individual's concerns were impractical and simply defended their failure to stop the new rules being applied to amateurs.

Another question is, if UK radio amateurs will not be granted an allocation at 8 metres who are Ofcom hoping to lease this spectrum to?

Anonymous said...

The military use 40 mhz

Brian de GW0GHF said...

From GW0GHF . I don't see the point of having 40mhz available. It's close to 29mhz and 50 mhz and will have similar propogation characteristics to both ten and six metres. A waste of time and effort, is my thoughts !

John, EI7GL said...

In terms of F2 layer propagation, there is a huge jump from 29 MHz to 50 MHz. That's the value of the 40 MHz band, it allows people to track the MUF as it rises.