March 19th, 2020 - Tom DF5JL, HF Manager of IARU region 1, says in view of the present COVID-19 measures in some countries: “Amateur radio offers the chance to keep up contacts despite all restrictions of the public life and also to make new ones, across all borders”.
However, observing the bands also plays a special role for him: “Only if amateur radio can continue to assert itself against other interests with regard to frequency requirements will we be able to provide the space needed to think scientifically, plan technically and shape the future socially. This is the essence of amateur radio.”
Photo credit: Leonora Kamp
UK 5 MHz beacon to close
February 16th, 2020 - It has been announced that the 5 MHz (60m) beacon GB3WES at Westmorland IO84qn on 5.290 MHz will close down on March 11, 2020, when its Notice of Variation (NoV) expires.
The beacon entered service on October 30, 2004. At the time it was one of a chain of three UK 5 MHz propagation research beacons, the others being GB3RAL in Oxfordshire and GB3ORK in Orkney.
After GB3WES closes only GB3ORK will remain.
Source GB3WES site — http://gb3wes.g3wgv.com/ (via Southgate Amateur Radio News)
France: 60m Allocation
February 13th, 2020 — Since today the French YLs/OM are officially allowed to operate on 60m. The frequency 5351,5 to 5366,5 kHz is allocated secondarily to amateur radio stations in Regions 1 and 2 with a maximum radiated power of 15 W (EIRP).
New 10 Meter Beacon activated in PA
January 4th, 2020 — In the Netherlands, a new 10 m beacon on 28.254kHz has been put into operation. The callsign is PI7BXM, and the following text is transmitted in CW: “VVV PI7BXM JO21WF”. The beacon is operating with a power of about 1.5 Watt (TX: CRT-6900N) from Baexem between Roermond and Weert in Midden-Limburg. As antenna a Lambda‑½ vertical antenna is used. OP Hans, PD1AHM, is happy to receive reports via logbook on ➡ qrz.com/db/PI7BXM.
This short video clip gives you an impression of the beacon
Over-the-Horizon Radars Causing Widespread Interference on 40 Meters
Dec. 19th, 2019 – Over-the-horizon (OTH) radars continue to plague various amateur radio bands. Those operating on exclusive ham radio allocations have been complaining for years, but military systems have a blanket waiver to use amateur radio frequencies. The latest edition of the International Amateur Radio Union Monitoring System (IARUMS) newsletter reports that a radar in northern Iran — likely military — has been operating 40 meters (6978 – 7022 kHz). Several Russian and Chinese OTH radars have become mainstays in the ham bands. While these sort of signals are operating on exclusive amateur radio allocations, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Convention essentially gives military stations free reign in the spectrum. Article 48 says, “Member States retain their entire freedom with regard to military radio installations.”
Member states are countries that have agreed to follow the Convention, and that is not a given. The Convention goes on to say, however, “Nevertheless, these installations must, so far as possible, observe statutory provisions relative to giving assistance in case of distress and to the measures to be taken to prevent harmful interference, and the provisions of the Administrative Regulations concerning the types of emission and the frequencies to be used, according to the nature of the service performed by such installations.”
According to IARUMS, the Iranian OTH radar was centered on 7000 kHz using amplitude modulation on pulse (AMOP) at 81 sweeps per second. Recordings of military transmissions are available on the ➡ SIGIDWIKI signal identification site.
The South African Amateur Radio League (SARL) News reported this week that radio amateurs in Europe and South America have reported major interference from Russian OTH radar stations on several parts of 40 meters — with 12 kHz-wide signals. The radar transmissions have been heard on 7064, 7109, 7170, and 7190 kHz.
Several European IARU member-societies have already sent complaints to their respective telecommunications regulators.
OTHER NEWS IN 2019