13 Feb 2014

Return to 10m and rubbish band plans

I am concentrating on WSPR currently as it does not require me to use my voice, something I find very tiring with my stroke. Just a few sentences and I get quite exhausted. I am told this is to be expected and it should improve over time.

As 474.2kHz is quite quiet in the daytime, I have QSYed up to 10m where I have already been spotted in LZ, RA3,  DK, PA,  G,  GM and 4X  this morning at 2W. This afternoon, I expect the band will be open to the USA. and Canada.

If my voice was better I'd be trying 10m AM, which despite the absolute rubbish in recent IARU and RSGB band plans is still 29 to 29.2MHz. The band plans, surely written by non-users (?), shows 29-29.1 as for use by modes 2.7kHz wide or less. AM gets  a begrudged and confusing  throw away comment in the footnotes. Reading the band plans it reads as if AM on 10m never happens, whereas when the band is open I regularly hear and work (with real QRP)  stateside AM in the 10m AM window, mainly 29 - 29.1MHz. Sorry, but these poorly thought through band plans ANNOY me.

Why can't the 10m band plan reflect what ACTUALLY happens on the band? 28-29MHz is quite enough space for narrow band modes leaving AM where it is (and SHOUT THE FACT that AM exists and is a good  and fascinating mode on 10m), as well as space downlinks and FM  where they are now. Why do these know-alls have to interfere unless they actually understand what actually happens? Band plans are usually a good idea when they actually help. The current 10m band plan is plain WRONG in my view above 29MHz. Write to the RSGB, ARRL etc.. and tell them. AM is 5-6kHz wide NOT 2.7kHz or less and at 29-29.2MHz this is fine. Just damn well leave AM where it is please. Stop messing about!

I also feel it is daft having SSTV and FAX channels mentioned in the 2m band plan but AM only gets a (begrudged?) comment in a footnote. 2m AM is a minority interest but surely deserves a "centre of activity" spot on 144.55MHz so AM folk know where to gather? Ex-PMR AM gear is almost given away and AM gear is simple to build and test. When did YOU last hear a FAX station on 2m? At best, the 2m band plan is a mess. Either leave "special interest" channels out or add an AM CoA in please. AM is NOT the pox, but a good and useful mode!

RANT OVER,but these errors do get my goat.

UPDATE 1745z: lots of 10m WSPR spots this afternoon including plenty from across the pond and at good range:
The band closed transatlantic (for me) at 1840z, well after dark with copy of W8QYT. It may have been even later as my PC shut down the WSPR program after doing some updates!


David Cope said...

Hi Roger,

Listening to 10m AM from the USA on my way home this evening.

Yes, it's a minority sport and I understand your frustration. Take it easy my friend - don't get to worked up - like I said in a previous post here that AM is out there doing it's own thing in it's own way.

The next few years is going to be interesting with a possible 2m extension and increasingly less commercial traffic on shortwave.

The ideal situation is not so much band plans, but bands. Small, self contained segments around the shortwave to cater only for speciality modes - like AM, like digital weak signal.

73. David.

Roger G3XBM said...

David,I have voiced my concerns with RSGB, GQRP, RadCom Letters and on my blog. I can do little more but, frankly, people who draft band plans need to UNDERSTAND what is put to paper and actually LISTEN.

I am happy to follow sensible band plans, but not when those who drafted them clearly have NO IDEA what actually goes on as is the case on 10m.

Anonymous said...

RSGB have 29MHz on consultation, but have you made an input? No you havent yet....

Roger G3XBM said...

Hi " Anonymous",

Firstly it is sad you have to hide your callsign. Can we know who you are please?

I thought I already HAD made my views well known to the RSGB e.g. see this letter from John Gould:


I took care in drafting the reply to your letter and don’t consider that I took an easy way out in responding to what is a complex issue. I think that I have done my best to explain the IARU policy and progress on Band Planning.

I am well aware of the long-term use of 29 – 29.1 MHz for AM operation. One option would be to propose to the IARU the lowering of the bottom end of the 29.1 – 29.7 MHz 6 kHz Necessary Bandwidth “All Modes” segment. I can’t see agreement being reached to further define it for AM, for the reasons outlined in my letter. Making such a change would carry the attendant risk of other wide-band modes being used in the segment. It may thus be safer for the preservation of AM at these frequencies for things to remain unchanged. I have cc’d this to Ian, G4FSU, RSGB HF Manager as he may have a better understanding of the issues than me.

I have cc’d in John, G4SWX RSGB VHF Manager on this reply, as with Murray, G6JYB, RSGB Microwave Manager they are keen to simplify the 2m Band Plan in order to remove as much as is possible of these “dedicated” frequencies that are seen by many to be detrimental to general occupancy and to those who want to innovate. We thus seem to be in some measure of accord on this aspect of your concerns.

John Gould, G3WKL"

I have also made my view clear to M1KTA, who I asked to represent my views on various RSGB committees (Dom is the GQRP club rep).

I have also made my view known to Giles Read of RadCom, for letters.

If I need to write to others be assured I shall do so today.

Finally, may I say I have no wish to create an argument over band plans. I am in favour of them, but in the case of 10m and 2m AM the AM case has been totally incorrectly put: it was clear to me that whoever on the IARU wrote the 10m band plan was NOT familiar with 10m AM usage. AM is well used on 10m,and on 2m, although a minority interest, it deserves its case putting in a more positive way. AM sounds like a dreadful disease, whereas it is a good mode to use still in some situations. I accept that for DX SSB and other narrow band digital modes (including CW, PSK31, JT9-1 etc) are much better but DXing is but a part of our great hobby.

Roger G3XBM said...

Incidentally "anonymous" a search of the RSGB website did not reveal a 29MHz consultation. If there, it is well hidden. I am still looking and will comment if I can find it.

uglycustard said...

I've had trouble trying to convince my local "hams" that I've made AM QSOs on 29mhz...usually get "really,are you sure? thats the FM allocation etc"

steve 2E0NHR

Roger G3XBM said...

Steve, DO write on the RSGB's consultation. I am sure many so-called " experts" have no idea about 10m AM, espcecially those at the IARU, ARRL and RSGB who drafted the 10m band plan.

Roger G3XBM said...

Thanks for your RSGB forum comment Steve 2E0NHR - valuable input.