LF / MF – Time To File

The FCC is now officially inviting comment on its proposal to establish two new amateur bands ... the 2200m LF band (135.7kHz - 137.8kHz) and the 630m MF band (472 - 479kHz).

The detailed proposal was published in the Federal Registry on July 2, thus establishing the comment deadline as August 31st and a deadline of September 30th for 'comments on the comments'.

It is proposed that the Amateur Radio service would be 'secondary users' of this slice of the spectrum. Secondary users must not cause interference to the Primary users and also be willing to accept interference from the Primary users as conditions of operating. In reality, the only primary use of these bands in North America is for hydro distribution control (PLC) signals. Over several years of maximum ERP amateur experimental work, both here in Canada as well as in the U.S.A., there has been no documented interference to these signals nor have the well-shielded PLC signals been a problem for amateurs ... it seems that co-existence is readily attainable.

Whether you have operated on these bands or not (but especially if you have), I would urge you to file a comment expressing your opinions on any of the critical concerns (antenna height, power etc.) expressed by the FCC. All of these were listed in a previous three-part blog, starting here.

If you think that you might like to operate or experiment on either of these bands in the future, then just tell them that as well ... the more interest from the amateur radio world shown, the better.

For those of you that might think that this part of the spectrum has little to offer the amateur, I can assure you that such is not the case. Coast-to-coast propagation has been demonstrated on numerous occasions (on both bands). Both bands offer wide opportunities for experimental work dealing with antennas, modes and propagation as well as providing an abundance of homebrewing opportunities for builders.

Comments may be filed, identified by ET Docket No 15-99 (proceeding number), via the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). As well, you can read all of the comments that have been filed here.

U.S. amateurs have been waiting long enough (since 2007) for an opportunity to use these bands ... let's show the FCC that we really want them by filing your comments before August 31st!
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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