AM and UK Band Plans

Because of my poor voice (as a result of my cerebellum brain bleed) I tend to use digital techniques, like WSPR and JT65, but I still enjoy AM.  Like many, I’ve worked transatlantic AMers on 29-29.1MHz with real QRP and simple antennas using AM. It makes a great change from SSB.

One could be forgiven for thinking AM is a dirty word at the RSGB.  In UK Band Plans published in the February 2015 edition of RadCom, AM gets no mention on 28MHz and 50MHz and gets a (begrudging) comment as a footnote only in the 144MHz Band Plan when other modes get “centres of activity” mentions. AM is alive and well in the 29-29.1MHz sub-band. AM on the 144MHz (2m) band here in the UK can be found on and around 144.550MHz. There has been AM on 29-29.1MHz for years and years and years – in fact almost as long as I’ve been active on the air. Yes, this is in the all-mode section, but why not say this is the 28MHz (10m) AM sub-band? Also, why are 144MHz AM users asked to “consider adjacent channel activity”? AM should easily fit in 6kHz!!

Yet again, AM is being treated as a dirty and outdated mode. Here in the UK, ex-PMR AM rigs ripe for use on VHF can be picked up for virtually nothing and there is certainly room for AM on all bands from 28MHz upwards. AM has its enthusiasts on other bands too, but yet again the RSGB seems keen to kill off this mode. Why I wonder?

Allegedly, a RadCom article on digital TV in the 146-147MHz band was pulled last month at the last minute because “someone at the RSGB” thought it would not fit in the new band! Sometimes one wonders. Maybe the day when I only get SPRAT is closer than I thought? Thankfully, there are many good articles in RadCom.

Roger Lapthorn, G3XBM, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cambridge, England.

2 Responses to “AM and UK Band Plans”

  • Keith KI4IES:

    To whom and all it may concern, I am Keith KI4IES of North Carolina, USA. My info is good on QRZ.Com . I am very interested in QRP as well as AM in general. Due to my living arrangements in an apartment, I am limited to just 2 meter repeaters around this area. I am not exactly proficient with CW but want to work it and as crazy as it sounds, I want to try to see if I can get element one on my license. With a learning curve this will be hard but without it,I feel like some of the older hams disapprove of me with a general license. Now this AM thing really sounds interesting but I’d like to get a QRP transmitter/receiver. Is there a really inexpensive one out there?
    If so, where can I find one and how much am I looking to spend?

  • Cliff KU4GW:

    AM is a great mode still enjoyed by many, but what gives it a bad name are the people like W4BVT who get on running signals 20 khz wide and splatter all up and down the band on other stations. You would think a amateur radio operator would have more sense than CBers who run AM all the time with signals only 6 khz wide with very good audio. I just don’t understand why some AM operators knowingly get on the air and transmit with signals 20 khz wide or even greater. I heard a AM station on 3880 Khz one night that was running 40 khz wide! It’s crazy! What’s the reasoning?

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