Watches, Warnings & Advisories for Sunflower Co.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New 60 Meter Operating Guidelines

Starting on March 5, 2012, amateur radio operators in the United States, holding the license classes General, Advanced, and Extra, will have new operating privileges on the 60-meter band.  Remember, we're considered "secondary users" on five frequencies in this band, so operate with utmost courtesy towards other amateurs, and with complete respect to the primary users of this band.  It's a life lesson that we only gain the respect that we give others, so let's carry that thought into our operating practices as well.

In short, power limits have been increased to a maximum 100 watts effective radiated power (as compared to a dipole), digital and CW have been added to the list of allowable modes.

For phone operations on Upper Side Band (USB), with a maximum bandwidth of 2.8 kHz, dial frequencies are:
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

CW and Digital operation at the center of the chosen channel, therefore you should be 1.5 kHz above the suppressed carrier frequency shown above.  Therefore, the center channel 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

Note that some transmitters may automatically offset CW above the indicated frequency.  You'll need to check your operating manual to determine if this applies for you radio.

Digital operations on these frequencies is limited to PSK-31 and PACTOR-III.  While the "center" frequencies are as indicated, a more user-friendly way to be on the correct frequency when operating PSK-31 is to tune your transceiver for USB operations, using the first list of frequencies.  Then on your digital software, select the 1500 Hz mark on the waterfall to transmit.

As we're limited to five channels in the 60-meter band, the following guideline is given for finding clear channels:

USB (phone) operations are recommended to start at Channel 5 and work your way down to find a clear channel.

Digital operations are recommended to start at Channel 1 and work your way up.

Note that Channel 5 has become the preferred DX channel.  It is requested that domestic QSOs be conducted on other channels when possible.

From the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL):

ARLB004 ARRL Publishes New Guidelines for 60 Meters

ARRL Bulletin 4  ARLB004
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  February 28, 2012
To all radio amateurs

ARLB004 ARRL Publishes New Guidelines for 60 Meters

Thanks to the FCC Report and Order issued November 18, 2011,
amateurs will enjoy a number of new privileges on the 60 meter band
beginning March 5, including a boost in effective radiated power
from 50 to 100 W, as well as the ability to use CW and certain
digital modes.

Late last year, the ARRL HF Band Planning committee surveyed 60
meter operators to gather opinions about how to best use the new
privileges. On the subject of creating a specific band plan, the
survey results indicated little consensus beyond the fact that
5403.5 kHz should retain its status as a de facto "DX channel."  On
the other hand, survey respondents made a number of suggestions for
general operating practices.

Based on the survey results and subsequent research, the committee
declined to propose a specific band plan for 60 meters at this time.
The committee instead created a "Recommended Practices" document
that is now available for downloading from the ARRL Web.

The link can be found at,

The 60 Meter pages on the ARRL Web will also be updated to reflect
the changes brought about by the Report and Order.

The April issue of QST magazine will also include an article by ARRL
Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, which offers a
detailed discussion of the new 60 meter privileges and recommended
operating practices.

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