Posts Tagged ‘ofcom’

OFCOM and 5G frequencies

OFCOM has published a paper outlining its proposed 5G frequencies.

More news on South African 8m band (40MHz)

Read it first hand in:

In South Africa the latest radio regulations permit the use by radio amateurs of 26dBW (400W) on a 10kHz wide band 40.675 – 40.685MHz “for propagation studies only”.    Now this is exactly what OFCOM should have done in the interest of real radio-science research.  Personally I think a wider band would be better, but how far sighted to allocate this at all.  Well done S.Africa.

OK, I  could pay £50 for a special research permit, but this is exactly what radio amateurs need for real self training and radio-science research.  The take-up might be small, but real research would take place.

OFCOM/RSGB – how about it please? You have just allocated 2MHz (2 chunks of 1MHz) of spectrum that will be used by just a handful mainly for DTV tests.  How about a much smaller slice somewhere really useful in the radio spectrum? 40MHz is mid-way between 10m and 6m, so ideal for Es tests and TEP tests over the equator.

OFCOM again

Please don’t misunderstand my views on OFCOM here in the UK. Generally, they have been supportive of the amateur community and I am grateful for this.

However, I am very critical that they seem loath to make real decisions about anything hard. Perhaps this is because they need real teeth and less government fiddling in the wings? I believe they need to be fully independent of government interference and be able to make common sense decisions without excuses. All the time they seem to hide behind the law as a safe-guard from doing anything very hard.

I have been critical of the FCC many times but in several ways they take a more pragmatic approach to spectrum management. All the time OFCOM employees seem to fear taking any hard decisions in case they break the law. Perhaps we need to employ people who actually understand radio and spectrum issues. Oh sorry, I forgot, these are a dying breed. We only have “yes boys” left.

Four Metre Band and OFCOM rubbish decisions?

There was an announcement on the RSGB and OFCOM sites advising some UK full licence holders that 70.5 to 71.5MHz is being made available for one year by special permission for further digital experiments, a bit like 146-147MHz here in the UK.

Sorry, but has OFCOM gone stark raving mad???

I can see no good justification for this 1MHz of spectrum. 2m was already under-used and the 146-147MHz allocation is probably being used by a tiny handful of people from time to time only.  DATV tests could quite as easily happen at 70cms.

I can think of far better parts of the spectrum OFCOM could have allocated e.g 100kHz around 40MHz (for Es propagation experiments), 73kHz, below 8.3kHz and a contiguous 5MHz allocation. Oh no, these require a brain to be engaged by OFCOM people.

Maybe this is an April fool’s wind-up, although  I suspect it is true.

Surely if OFCOM wants to further real experimentation in radio science there are better ways of going about it?  Yet again, I am totally unimpressed. Between OFCOM and the RSGB, I think this is, yet again, a stupid stupid decision. So we now have 2MHz of extra spectrum for 12 months that a very few might use. Big deal. OFCOM, engage brains, think radio science. If you want to help grow future engineers that we so badly need, these allocations will not help at all. Think again!

See .
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OFCOM plans for the year ahead

See .

Sorry, but this CRAP shows what OFCOM plans are for the year ahead. In an executive executive summary (mine) I would summarise this as,”continue to be a bureaucratic quango”.

It looks like it was written by a young, overpaid, headless chicken. Lots of “informed choice” and similar buzz words. Rubbish in my view. No-one there seems to be able to make decisions based on the use of a brain and common sense.

Give OFCOM some real power and let them make common sense decisions. My recent discussions on VLF/LF experiments are just an example of their total inability to think “out of the box”. Sorry, but as an OFCOM “customer” I am left very unimpressed.

Opinionated, me?

OFCOM undue interference consultation

Happy New Year!

2015 has started with some important developments. Ofcom have launched a consultation on draft regulations for new wireless telegraphy legislation. The proposals are intended to strengthen regulatory power and keep pace with technological advances with respect to interference of radio communications from electronic devices.

Current Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) regulations should prevent electrical and electronic apparatus emitting electromagnetic energy that would cause interference to radio communications but as most licensed operators have experienced this is not the case. In particular the growth of "power line" networking equipment (PLT) in recent years has caused much distress to amateur radio particularly in populated areas. I myself have suffered interference from what I believe are PLT devices.

It is certainly true that most newer devices are much better and are notched to prevent emissions in certain bands but there are still many older devices in use and imported non-compliant devices are still readily available. It is not just PLT devices that cause issues but solar panels with RF noisy inverters, unfiltered switch mode power supplies, plasma televisions and other equipment that pollute the spectrum.

Unfortunately at present Ofcom has limited enforcement powers so are proposing the law is amended to make it a criminal offence to continue using equipment identified as a source of undue interference.

Several agencies such as GCHQ, CAA and emergency services have voiced concerns in the past over the threat of RF pollution (Telegraph newspaper article) so not surprisingly this weeks announcement has been given the 'spooks' spin with some sensationalist headlines "You could be prosecuted over your broadband thanks to GCHQ" as the Telegraph reported.

I feel it is important that UK licensed amateurs respond to these proposals and the consultation is only open till next month it is very easy to respond on line at the Ofcom website

It is quite a timely announcement from Ofcom since I have been forced to use the QRM eliminator that I purchased back in August due to increasing interference. I have not been able to use it in line with the FT857D as it requires the PTT/TX-GND signal from the CAT/Linear socket from the transceiver to activate a bypass when transmitting. The issue being I wished to use the CAT functionality at the same time and this involved making up a harness with the appropriate 8-pin mini-DIN plug/socket. I purchased some plugs and sockets but kept putting it off due to the fiddly nature of the small connectors and I didn't wish to cause any damage to the FT857D by shorting the pins.

By chance I spotted this cable on eBay which is the same as my current CAT cable but with the addition of the PTT/TX-GND signal on a short pigtail with a phono (RCA) socket making it a breeze to complete the installation.

I am hoping to improve the noise performance by putting up a new HF antenna in the future, to this end I have had a nice Christmas present. A Feature Tech AW07A HF-VHF-UHF Antenna Analyzer

Once I have used it in anger I will post a proper report, but it seems a great piece of kit with some encouraging reviews, currently available of £168 on eBay it is a massive £200 less than the identical MFJ-266

146-147MHz in the UK – why?

I find it extremely odd that OFCOM has granted access to an additional 1MHz of VHF when the existing 144-146MHz band is grossly under-occupied most of the time. Take a listen 144-146MHz in YOUR area in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. Mostly you will hear white noise!

This is only ad interim, only by NoV to full licence holders, and only in some areas. It is clearly a sop for messing with the microwave allocations. It is very unlikely much new (to radio science) will be gained by this 1MHz allocation. MUCH more would have been learned by a 100kHz allocation around 40 or 60MHz or by allowing UK amateurs free access below 8.3kHz or back onto the withdrawn 73kHz band.

I know it is heresy to say “no, I am not interested” but OFCOM could have done so much better and it has lost credibility in my eyes as a result. I cannot believe allocating this spectrum to radio amateurs serves any useful purpose at all. The RSGB talks about digital TV etc. Sorry, this is rubbish: it is hard enough getting anyone on digital TV on 432MHz and 1296MHz where most ATV activity takes place! I can see perhaps a small handful of people forcing themselves to use this band. On 40MHz, the Es possibilities would have been wonderful.

No, in my humble opinion OFCOM should not have given radio amateurs this band at all. It would really have advanced radio science if they had allocated new, smaller, bands at more interesting places in the spectrum. Let us at least hope OFCOM supports moves internationally to a contiguous new amateur band at 5MHz (60m) at WRC2015 next year. This will be useful in the quieter years to come.

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