Once again this year a group of medium-wave experimental licensees will transmit greetings on 630 meters over the ARRL Field Day weekend, June 27-28. While the 472 to 479 kHz band is not yet available for Amateur Radio use, John Langridge, KB5NJD, said he’d like to continue promoting awareness of the proposed ham band. In April, the FCC proposed a new 630 meter Amateur Service MW allocation at 472 to 479 kHz, and it allocated a new LF band, 135.7 to 137.8 kHz — both on a secondary basis. Langridge this year is hoping that some LF experimenters also will take part in the exercise. No Amateur Radio operation will be permitted in either band until the FCC establishes specific operating rules.
ARRL 600 Meter Experimental Group ( WD2XSH) Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR, said the FCC’s April Report and Order, Order, and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is a step in the right direction, and he hopes it will eventually lead to a new 630 meter amateur band in the US. “However, it’s a huge document, so we expect it to take a while for any of the proposed changes to be implemented,” he told ARRL. “With that in mind, we plan to renew the WD2XSH license and continue operations much as we have been until such time as the 630 meter band becomes a reality.”
Some of the stations involved in the Field Day activity, including Langridge, are participants in the ARRL experiment. Langridge said last year he got about 60 reports from his own transmissions from Texas.
Confirmed stations taking part in the 2015 Field Day Greeting exercise are:
“It seems the longer we do this, the more legs that grow on it, and participation has really increased,” he said. The point is to make active, relevant signals available to existing Field Day stations that might have a large pool of operators, many still having no idea that anything is going on below the broadcast band.”
Langridge said Field Day stations could try using an HF transceiver capable covering the 472-479 kHz range to listen for participating stations. He stressed that stations use “whatever antennas that they have on site — a dipole, a tribander, a vertical, whatever — as the impedance mismatch may help improve the signal-to-noise ratio enough for effective copy.”
Langridge said that in 2014 he received an Argo screen shot of his CW signal from Utah. He transmitted in “normal, aural CW at about 17 WPM over a 36-hour period, and he plans on doing the same this year, with transmissions every quarter hour on 474 kHz.
“Reporting is important, since we all like to know who is listening and how we are doing,” he said. Stations hearing any of the MW (or possible LW) Field Day “greeters” may report their reception online.
Langridge said stations also may want to send a message to the ARRL via the National Traffic System (NTS). “This does two things,” he explained. “It shows the ARRL that there is activity and interest, and it gives the club an incentive, since they get points for generating and sending NTS traffic.”
Langridge said that while all of this year’s participants have indicated they’ll use CW again this year, he’s encouraging MW operators to consider introducing some digital modes. “Having a digital mode available might be very useful in this day and age when Field Day sites are often setup for PSK31 and other soundcard modes,” he said.
Contact John Langridge, KB5NJD, if you plan to take part in the 2015 Field Day Greeting event on MW or LW.