Members of the Experimental VLF, LF, and MF community again will be reaching out to Amateur Radio operators taking part in ARRL Field Day, June 25-26. A number of Experimental (Part 5) licensees — nearly all of them radio amateurs — have been plying the depths of the radio spectrum as the ham radio community awaits FCC action on the new 2200 and 630 meter bands. The experimenters will be transmitting Field Day-specific beacons and greeting messages.
“The intent is to be an outreach opportunity for these bands and to introduce hams that might not otherwise know that anything is going on below the AM broadcast band,” said John Langridge, KB5NJD. He holds an FCC Part 5 Experimental license with the call sign WG2XIQ. “Radios, antennas, and operators are already in one place, so this is the perfect opportunity for them to listen for these signals, provide reports, and originate NTS traffic for bonus points about the stations that they heard,” he added.
Langridge said he’s planning to visit a few sites around North Texas to do some VLF/LF/MF demonstrations, and he’s set up a page on his website for others to sign up as event participants. The table is automatically updated, and there is a link from the WD2XSH ARRL 600 Meter Experimental Group site.
“We are hoping for a good turnout of ops at MF, LF, and VLF,” Langridge said. “The last few years on MF and LF have been very productive at demonstrating the world below the AM broadcast band.” He’s hoping for the first VLF participant this year.
Several experimental stations will be operating on 630 meters between 472 and 479 kHz. Field Day stations — at home or in the field — are invited to listen for the Experimental stations, using their available Field Day antennas. Many HF radios include receive-only coverage below the Standard Broadcast Band (530-1710 kHz). Operators without Experimental licenses may attempt transmissions under the limitations of FCC Part 15 rules, and at least one has signed up to take part.
Some stations will transmit CW or slow-speed CW and may operate as continuous beacons. Stations may use digital modes, which may require software to decode. QRSS modes will benefit from software packages such as ARGO.
“If you happen to be within a hundred miles of one of these stations, you may be able to hear and decode them 24 hours a day using something as simple as a hand-held short wave receiver that also covers MF and LF,” Langridge said. “Ground wave conditions during the daylight hours are very good, even during the summer. Skywave conditions will vary with solar and geomagnetic conditions as well as season, but conceivably stations could be heard hundreds or thousands of miles away even during the summer under optimum conditions.”
Post reports in the QSO/Reception Report Form for the ARRL 600 Meter Experimental Group, WD2XSH.