Friday, October 01, 2010

40m bandplan confusion

Peter, G4NKX, uncovered a can of worms the other day after encountering some unpleasantness by CW users in what has traditionally been the PSK segment of 40m starting at 7.035MHz. It appears that the 40m band plan in IARU Region 1 (Europe) has been changed, but nobody has been told, including the IARU.org website which still has copies of the old band plan coming up top in Google searches for "IARU Region 1 Bandplan".

Under the current European band plan for 40m, CW now has free reign up to 7.040MHz, with narrow band digimodes from 7.040 to 7.050. So the start of PSK31 operation is now presumably 7.040MHz. However the bright sparks who sit in their ivory towers and decide this sort of thing clearly forgot about the real world in which people don't find out about something unless it is shoved under their noses. People will operate where they hear other people operating, which creates a very powerful inertia against any form of change. These band plan changes came into effect on 29th March 2009, yet people are still in ignorance of them 18 months later. Where was the letter from the national society to each licensed amateur, informing them of the changes?

But more to the point, why change? It's just a recipe for chaos and an opportunity for the band police to cause unpleasantness, just for the sake of an extra 5KHz for CW operators. It also now means that digital mode users in Europe must use a different part of the spectrum to those in the USA, making transatlantic digital DX impossible without incurring the wrath of the policemen. Frankly, I don't blame PSK31 users for staying where they were and refusing to be shunted around by bandplan changes that don't give them any benefits.

I'm somewhat confused about what the 40m USA bandplan is. The document on the IARU website for Region 2 shows narrow band digital modes starting at 7.035MHz. But I thought people in the USA operated PSK31 starting at 7.070MHz and other narrow band modes like JT65A at 7.075MHz? No wonder I have never heard any Stateside DX on digital.

Radio waves don't stop at IARU regional boundaries so what is the point in having bandplans that put digital modes in different parts of the band in different regions? It just goes to prove that the powers that be who make these decisions think the only modes that matter are SSB and CW.

6 comments:

VE3WDM said...

Good morning Julian, They say change is good and I agree if it means moving forward...in this case forward does not seem to be the direction...just unintentional QRM and as you say confusion.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julian,
This is all a result from the expansion of 7 MHz in region 1. I support it because there is too little room for CW and now with the expansion everything can move upward a bit. Obviously, if this is not communicated effectively, some chaos does arise ...
The real chaos IMHO is the misalignment between IARU regions on 7 MHz. The new bandplan does not address that sufficiently, so we have to cope with it.
Cheers and keep up your very nice blog !

-- Enno, PF5X

IW1AYD said...

Hi Julian and all.
It's true that the band plan for the 40m band changed awhile ago. I would from my nationality or DXCC country point of view. Not anybody, and not any country got the same changes at the same time, nor all of the the countries in the same IARU region get the same changes. Several countries are, as far as I know still, tied to the old 100 KHz allocation. The change was done since than worldwide but on national basis, by the law of each sovereign country. Thus with different timings or nothing at all.
So, this without any doubt leaded, lead, and will lead, to severe misunderstanding by several of us from each country, over the past and future calendar time.
Anyway 18 months, or 12 or more aren't enough to move all of us out of ours habit.
At this time there are laws and personal reasons not to adhere, in the whole IARU region to the newest band plan.
My personal point of view is that the time will cure the law harmonization aspect of each country for the same IARU region in a better way ... or in the worse way. But nothing will cure or address those CW men, I couldn't say OM, that use the radio and the CW as those drivers in front of the traffic lights: no excuses for this. No excuses in any mode of emission, worse for the CW.

73 de iw1ayd Salvo

joe said...

Julian,
I also know the band plan and have had two qso's on 7040 in the last year I also received an email from a from an angry GM station telling me that I was qrming the cw portion,
I replied saying sorry for that and also am I supposed to to sit at 7040 call cq and no reply needless to say I received no reply. Joe MI0GTM

Theodore said...

Ignore the bureaucrats, since when did ham radio get channelized?
This is not CB - or is it.
It is ludicrous to say the CW crowd do not have enough room.
They splash around 30khz while PSK users normally sit within 3 khz.
Perhaps it is time to let ROS users loose in the CW segment, since ROS can work quite happily with CW qrm.
Or how about Olivia, MT63 or any other number of interference rejecting modes?
As a ham, it is a gentlemens agreement to have band plans, with some license restricted hams being limited.
But if the mode is legal, hams can communicate wherever they wish, and it is time for the petty bureaucrats to back off, or release a pandoras box of free for all.
Think it can't happen - listen to 20m/40m cw segments for all the SSB qso's even now, and take note.

In game theory the most effective strategy is tit-for-tat, lets hope it does not come to that.

Peter said...

As a 90% CW operator (due largely to living in a flat and using a stealth antenna and low power to avoid causing problems to my neighbours) I was glad to be allocated the measly 5KHz extra in the CW section of 40m, when the band as a whole doubled in size! Surely after 18 months people should have made an effort to keep up to date with the bandplans? Common sense should indicate that if the band doubles in size then it's likely the individual segments would change too. I am shocked to learn that there is still such a small allocation for digital modes which are becoming more popular all the time - surely with 200KHz now available there should be room for us all.
Peter G0TLU