Information Net for January 23

ARRL Requests Feedback for 60 Meter Band Plan

Read by: Rick, N9GRW

Last month the FCC released a Report and Order (R&O) detailing new rules for the 5 MHz (60 meters) Amateur Radio band. These rules have not been published in the Federal Register. In order to be official, the rules must be published in the Federal Register and will take effect 30 days after the publication date.

The R&O brings with it a number of changes for 60 meter operators . . .

  • The frequency 5368.0 kHz (carrier frequency 5366.5 kHz) is withdrawn and a new frequency of 5358.5 kHz (carrier frequency 5357.0 kHz) is authorized.
  • The effective radiated power limit in the 60 meter band is raised by 3 dB, from 50 W PEP to 100 W PEP, relative to a half-wave dipole. If another type of antenna is used, the station licensee must maintain a record of either the antenna manufacturer’s data on the antenna gain or calculations of the antenna gain.
  • Three additional emission types are authorized. Data (emission designator 2K80J2D, for example, PACTOR-III), RTTY (emission designator 60H0J2B, for example, PSK31) and CW (150HA1A, i.e. Morse telegraphy by means of on-off keying). For CW, the carrier frequency must be set to the center frequency. For data and RTTY the requirement to transmit “only on the five center frequencies specified” may be met by using the same practice as on USB, i.e. by setting the suppressed carrier frequency of the USB transmitter used to generate the J2D or J2B emission to the carrier frequency that is 1.5 kHz below the center frequency.

Considering the expected increase in 60 meter activity when the R&O finally takes effect, the ARRL is asking for feedback to assist in crafting a proposed band plan. For example, what modes and activities should be recommended for the various channels?

If you’re a 60-meter operator, e-mail your suggestions to hf-band-plan@arrl.org.

Amateur Radio Fun: New QuickStats Poll Now Available on ARRL Website

Read by: Martha, KJ4RIQ

Four new poll questions have just been published on the QuickStats page on the ARRL website. Let your voice be heard!

Questions in this month’s QuickStats poll:

  1. Do you have a call sign license plate on your vehicle?
  2. Do you still have some vacuum tubes in your parts box?
  3. Will the new privileges on the 60 meter band make you more inclined to operate there?
  4. Are you active on APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System)?

Visit the QuickStats page and be sure to bookmark it in your browser. Results from this QuickStats poll will be published in the April 2012 issue of QST on the QuickStats page, located in the rear advertising section of the magazine. Along with monthly poll results, QST QuickStats offers colorful charts and graphs that highlight interesting Amateur Radio statistics.

Echolink

Read by: Nicki, KF4DHK

EchoLink is a free computer-based Amateur Radio system that allows radio amateurs to communicate with other amateur radio operators using Voice over IP (VoIP) technology on the Internet for at least part of the path between them. It was designed by Jonathan Taylowith callsign K1RFD.

The system allows reliable worldwide connections to be made between radio amateurs, greatly enhancing Amateur Radio’s communications capabilities. In essence it is the same as other VoIP applications (such as Skype), but with the unique addition of the ability to link to an amateur radio station’s transceiver. Thus any low-power handheld amateur radio transceiver which can contact a local Echolink node (A node is an active Echolink station with a transceiver attached) can then use the Internet connection of that station to send their transmission via VOIP to any other active Echolink node, world-wide. No special hardware or software is required to relay a transmission via an Echolink node.

Read by: Dennis, KF4CSR

Before using the system it is necessary for a prospective user’s callsign to be validated. The EchoLink system requires that each new user provide positive proof of license and identity before his or her callsign is added to the list of validated users. There is no cost for this service, and it ensures that this system is used only by licensed amateur radio operators.

The software is written to run on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows. Another edition of the software runs on Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad), and is available from the Apple App Store. Finally, an Android version is available on the Android Market.

Read by: Adam, W8IFG

Radio amateurs using the EchoLink software can operate it in one of two modes:

  • Single User Mode – If they have an Internet-connected computer, they can use the computer’s microphone and speakers to connect to (or through – see below) other EchoLink-enabled computers over the Internet and talk to the amateur at the other end.
  • Sysop Mode – This entails connecting their own VHF or UHF transceiver to their Internet-connected PC with a specially-designed hardware interface. Doing this enables another radio amateur with their own transceiver, who is within radio range of this station, to communicate with (or through) any other EchoLink-equipped station anywhere in the world. This is the unique feature of EchoLink.

Read by: Paul, KJ4WQN

Radio amateurs without the EchoLink software or a computer connected to the Internet can take advantage of the EchoLink network if they are within radio range of a sysop mode EchoLink station. It is also possible to link a sysop mode EchoLink station to a local repeater, further enhancing the communication possibilities.

Editions of EchoLink are also available for two of the major smartphone platforms. In February 2010, an edition of EchoLink was released for the Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch on the App Store. In August 2010, an edition of EchoLink was released for the Android platform, and is now available on the Android Market. Both the iOS and Android editions were created by Jonathan Taylor (K1RFD), the author of the original Windows edition.

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