26 Feb 2014

OFCOM reply re: sub 8.3kHz and around 73kHz

A precis of the following is basically you need an NoV to operate below 8.3kHz and (maybe can get one for) low powered experiments around 73kHz with MoD aproval for 6 month periods. Above 3000GHz (e.g. optical) the wireless telegraphy act does NOT apply. Earth-mode or utilities assisted earth-mode (through the ground) can be used without a licence (is my reading) but not if signals are essentially radiated.  No real surprises.

 "Spectrum Licensing

to me
Your ref: 1-641-1681

Dear Roger,

Thank you for your email and apologies for the delay in responding.

There is no lower limit for the definition of ‘wireless telegraphy’ in the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006, only an upper limit* and we unaware of any order changing that. Transmissions below 8.3 kHz would still be covered by the WT Act and would need the relevant authorisation, even if there is no Allocation available in the UK FAT.  As you are most likely wanting to do this under the authorisation of your amateur radio licence, you would need to apply for a variation.

Unfortunately, the UK amateur radio licence does not authorise use of 73 kHz and we do not note it in any relevant exemption regulations, such as The Wireless Telegraphy (Testing and Development Under Suppressed Radiation Conditions) (Exemption) Regulations 1989. So any intended operation(s) would also have to be the subject of a variation.

If you wish to approach Ofcom for a NoV we would need you to provide as much information as possible. Information required would be things like radiated power, frequency, bandwidth, antenna type, height, NGR, whether directional (and, if so, direction), elevation, class of emission and purpose of use. We may be able offer a variation, but initially this would likely be for a temporary period e.g. six months. However, there is no guarantee that we can authorise this use.  We also note that the 73 kHz band is UK2 and that means prior approval from the MoD would need to be sought. 

*“116     “Wireless telegraphy”.
(1)        In this Act “wireless telegraphy” means the emitting or receiving, over paths that are not provided by any material substance constructed or arranged for the purpose, of energy to which subsection (2) applies. .
(2)        This subsection applies to electromagnetic energy of a frequency not exceeding 3,000 gigahertz that— .
(a)        serves for conveying messages, sound or visual images (whether or not the messages, sound or images are actually received by anyone), or for operating or controlling machinery or apparatus; or .
(b)        is used in connection with determining position, bearing or distance, or for gaining information as to the presence, absence, position or motion of an object or of a class of objects. .
(3)        The Secretary of State may by order modify the definition of “wireless telegraphy” by substituting a different frequency for the frequency that is for the time being specified in subsection (2). .
(4)        No order is to be made containing provision authorised by subsection (3) unless a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House”

We hope the above information helps.



:: Ash Gohil
   Team Leader
  Spectrum Licensing
  Spectrum Operations

:: Ofcom
    Riverside House
   2a Southwark Bridge Road
   London SE1 9HA


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