Update – band plans need to be uniform. Accordingly, we have contacted the WIA, and asked them to endorse the changes to the plans detailed below.
The WIA have advised that they will be promulgating the proposed changes and seeking input from their members via the next AR Magazine.
Summary – proposed changes
160m – SSB and AM 1845 – 1875 kHz
40m – Digital 7030 – 7060 kHz and 7074 – 7080 kHz
40m – SSB 7060 – 7074 & 7080 – 7300 kHz
* Please avoid 7074 kHz SSB
* WICEN frequency recommended to move above 7100 kHz
The CW segments remain unchanged
Band Plans provide real-world guidelines so that radio amateurs can co-exist with the multitude of operating modes within our regulated spectrum allocations.
Developed by amateurs, they guide us on the section of the band to use for our mode of choice. While band plans are voluntary agreements, adherence to them helps us make contacts on our chosen mode and reduces the chance of interference to others.
While administered by national representative groups, and tied into international conventions set by the IARU, band plans can only work if observed by all amateurs.
It is important that band plans are seen as legitimate within the broader amateur community.
RASA considers that the legitimacy of band plans must be earned, not assumed. This can be achieved by regularly reviewing band plans to reflect modern amateur activity patterns (with an opportunity for all active amateurs to provide input) and better publicising their existence amongst the broader amateur community.
Digital modes are new and exciting and allow many people, who would otherwise be excluded from the hobby, to participate. We hear regularly from people who were previously troubled by serious QRM or small properties with limited real estate being able to get back into the hobby due to the availability of new digital modes. And this leads to further participation.
RASA encourages better use of our existing HF band allocations. Amateur radio offers many opportunities, and by recognising we have generous band allocations we can better co-exist and share the resources we have.
The current 160 and 40m band plans need revision due the rapid growth of digital modes, particularly the most popular mode of all; FT8. Unfortunately, the FT8 40m frequency is in the SSB section of the band and adjacent to the SSB sections on 160 and 80.
This Australian Band Plan revision is the result of an extensive consultation process undertaken by RASA over the past 3 months.
RASA sought input from general users, clubs, specialist user groups and the WIA to produce these proposed changes.
The result provides balance for both national and international interests between new and established transmission modes.
RASA thanks the many amateurs who provided feedback and real-world experience in response to our calls for input to the Band Plan review. A very special thanks is extended to Grant Willis VK5GR for his in-depth feedback and logical arguments relating to this, at times, complex topic.
Proposed changes to 160 and 40m bands
RASA supports band plans that reflect the growth of digital modes.
We support digital modes in the 160m band below 1845 kHz. The previous digital section ended at 1840, however FT8 activity is driving digital operation to 1843 kHz.
We also support the existing 80m plan which has digital in the segment between 3570 and 3600 kHz. However, a very popular digital mode, WSPR, has recently shifted frequency to 3568 kHz – at the top end of the 3535-3570 SSB segment. Please keep SSB operations clear of this frequency.
Subject to harmonisation with international band plans (notably Europe that has a narrow and crowded SSB portion) we also support digital modes in the 40m band below 7100 kHz.
To support these changes, RASA encourages SSB operators to move above 1845, 3600 and 7100 kHz, thereby allowing digital operators to experiment and operate with equal consideration. A SSB allocation has been retained from 3540 to 3570 kHz, but please move above 3600 kHz if possible. Similarly, a SSB segment has been retained between 7060 and 7074 kHz, but please move above 7100 kHz if possible.
We are very fortunate to have 300 kHz available on 40m – we need to use it all. Although 7200-7300 kHz is shared with broadcasting, this part of the band is quiet during the day. Therefore, please consider moving day-time nets above 7200 kHz. After dark, please spread out between 7100 and 7200 kHz, or even above 7200 if a space can be found between the broadcast stations.
RASA encourages experimentation and operation of this legacy mode.
Due to international band plan considerations, AM is encouraged above 1860 kHz on 160m.
RASA acknowledges that some legacy nets will continue on 1825 kHz during daylight hours only, thereby minimising disruption to CW and DX during grey line and night-time hours.
Note that frequencies of interest (that fall within the band plan) for FT8, PSK31, RTTY, CW and special interest groups may be found at www.vkfrequencies.info
On the lower bands (40m and down) there is greater opportunity to exercise individual discretion during daylight hours, when all stations are within working range of each other.
Please be aware not to take the dial below 3.583 or above 7074 kHz on LSB
Please be aware that 1825 kHz is in the existing CW segment and exercise consideration