Industry Canada has announced that a number of specific frequencies
within the 60 metre high frequency band have been approved for amateur
A total of five specific frequencies within the 5 MHZ band have been
allocated, 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz.
Radio amateurs across Canada have new frequencies to explore as a
result of a recent decision of Industry Canada.
“Canada has joined a number of countries in making channels available
in the 60 metre band, near 5MHz for use by radio amateurs. This will
provide increased ability for Canadian radio amateurs to help out in
providing emergency communications when existing systems fail as has
happened in ice storms and flooding. We applaud this decision of the
Canadian government.” said Geoff Bawden, President of Radio Amateurs
Unlike the commercial communications systems so important to modern
society, amateur radio does not require an extensive infrastructure
for communications. Radio amateurs take advantage of natural phenomena
to send their signals across town and around the world. They delight
in being able to set up in a remote location with their own power
supplies and simple antennas, often home built, competing to see who
can make the most contacts in a limited time. The Amateur Radio
Emergency Service in Canada, sponsored by RAC, provides training and
organizes exercises for radio amateurs to sharpen their skills to be
able to respond to emergencies. As well these organizations and
amateur radio clubs often provide communications to community public
service activities and events such as ski races and marathons, bicycle
races and car rallies. The skills radio amateurs develop through their
hobby and these activities mean that in emergencies that shut down
power grids, internet and wireless communications, amateur radio can
continue to function. In major emergencies such as the earthquake and
tsunami in Japan in 2011 and the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
last year amateur radio operators are often the first source of
information from affected areas.
The key resource for amateur radio is access to the radio spectrum.
Conditions in the atmosphere and high in the ionosphere determine the
distances over which communications are possible. The new allocation
at 60m between existing allocations at 80 m and 40m should make
regional communications more reliable. Furthermore as Canada and the
United States have allocated many of the same channels to their radio
amateurs cross border communications are possible. Fortunately major
emergencies are relatively rare. Radio amateurs will explore
communications on the new frequencies as they do in all available
bands, experimenting, learning and making new friends across the world.
The five 60 metre channel allocations are the same as authorized in
the USA, with the same power restriction of 100 watts ERP (relative to
a dipole antenna). Transmissions, independent of emission mode, must
be centered on the each of the following frequencies: 5.332, 5.348,
5.3585, 5.373, and 5.405 MHz with a maximum allowable channel
bandwidth of 2.8 kHz. When operating SSB, upper sideband will be the
convention to follow on the 60 metre band. Other modes that are
permissible will be CW, Data (including PSK 31 and Pactor III), and
RTTY. With this latest authorization on operation on the 5 MHz
channels to Canadian Amateurs with HF privileges, there will no longer
be a requirement to operate under a special Developmental license and
VX9 call sign. Holders of such licences can now let them lapse.
Canadian amateurs should refer to the posting of RBR-4, Issue 2, for
all details before proceeding to operate on the new 60 metre
Their curiosity and eagerness to develop and share this hobby will
enrich the communities where they operate and provide needed
resilience in communications when emergencies require it.
Technical details of this decision can be found
Contributions by Norm Rashleigh VE3LC and Glenn MacDonell VE3XRA.
Vincent Charron, VA3GX/VE2HHH
Director of Communications and Fundraising – Radio Amateurs of Canada