It looks as if radio amateurs in Belgium are about to get a small allocation on the 40 MHz (8m) band.
Update 21st May: This information was released by the UBA on Sunday 21st May 2023...
"After more than a year of "silent diplomacy", on 21 April UBA submitted a proposal to BIPT to gain access to a small band segment around 40 MHz in Belgium.:
The UBA proposes to grant the radio amateur service access to the frequency range 40.660 – 40.690 MHz under the following conditions:
For holders of a class A operating certificate (HAREC licence)
A power limit of 5 W ERP
A bandwidth limit of 3 kHz
On individual basis, after prior approval from BIPT
It is mandatory to keep a logbook in which all transmissions are noted
These last 2 measures allow BIPT to act quickly and adequately in the event of interference reports from other services.
At the annual UBA meeting, the chairman of the BIPT Council indicated that BIPT is in favor of our proposal. We therefore expect BIPT to hold a consultation on this shortly.
The period of this consultation is at least 1 month. Only at the end of it BIPT can, provided that the consultation proceeds favorably for us, publish a decision granting us access this band segment.
So it will probably take a few months before we are actually allowed to transmit on the 8 meter band.
Until then, any amateur radio activity from Belgium around 40 MHz is illegal! "
Analysis... This is an important development as Belgium now joins Ireland (EI), Slovenia (S5) and South Africa (ZS) with official amateur radio allocations on the 40 MHz band.
A lot of licencing authorities will just look at their spectrum allocations and flatly refuse any amateur radio operation at 40 MHz because there is no allocation for amateur radio there. However if other countries grant limited access then it sets a precedent. It sets a case for radio amateurs in other countries to approach their relevant licencing body to grant some access.
As for the proposed allocation in Belgium, the 30 KHz wide band is inside the ISM band of 40.660 to 40.700 MHz. It's highly likely that the dominant mode will be FT8 on 40.680 MHz. Even with just 5-watts, the 8m signals from Belgium are likely to be heard all over the world next Winter as we're close to the maximum of the current solar cycle.
For more information on the 8m band, visit my 40 MHz page.