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Recomendations from the IARU Region 1 meeting in Varna
Published on 12 November 2014 by Bo OZ2M
At the International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 2014 General Conference helt in Varna-Albena, Bulgaria from 21–27 September 2014 the following recommendations were made concerning 70 MHz:
  • Deleted the RTTY allocation, 70,300 MHz, in the bandplan
  • The reference frequency for WSPR transmissions is the center of the four transmitted frequencies.
  • It is emphasized that all frequencies in the bandplan refer to the frequency transmitted in the air and not any radio dial etc.
  • A 24 hours contest will be held on the same week-end as the 50 MHz contest
  • IARU contest logs deadline is the second Monday after the contest

Output from last CEPT WGFM meeting regarding 70 MHz
Published on 12 October 2014 by Dave EI3IO
During the last meeting of CEPT’s*, European Communications Committee’s (ECC) Frequency Management Working Group (WGFM) held in France, 5-10 October 2014, IARU presented a multi country contribution (document FM(14)127-R1) on behalf of five countries and IARU Region 1. The document proposed a modification of the European Common frequency Allocation table (ECA) by allocating the band 69.9 - 70.5 MHz, on a secondary basis to the amateur service.
The document explained that around thirty CEPT administrations had already allowed national amateur use of the band but some remaining CEPT countries required a clear regulatory decision before they were able to open all, or parts of this band to secondary two-way amateur usage. The proposal was therefore to amend the ECA Table to include a secondary allocation to the amateur service for the band 69.9 – 70.5 MHz and additionally update existing footnote EU9 to state that CEPT administrations may allocate all or parts of the band to the amateur service.
Whilst three countries opposed this proposal it was supported by more than ten administrations. In addition since fourteen CEPT administrations had already notified such a usage in the European Communications Office’s Frequency Information System (EFIS), WGFM therefore agreed to include this allocation change in the next revision of the ECA Table.
It should be noted that this excellent outcome does not necessarily mean that frequencies between 69.9 and 70.5 MHz will be immediately available in all CEPT countries as the ECA is not binding on CEPT national regulatory authorities. However it does provide a clear basis for IARU member societies to seek a 4 metre allocation from their national licensing authority.
The ECA is formally approved, revised and published by the ECC once per year. It is expected that the revision incorporating the change described in this notice will occur in summer 2015.
* CEPT is the regional regulatory telecommunications organisation for Europe. Its 48 members are: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia(FYROM), Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Vatican City."

Noble Radio NR-4SC 4 m transceiver
Published on 12 September 2014 by Bo OZ2M
Noble Radio has just launched its NR-4SC 4 m SSB and CW 10 W transceiver. The radio covers 69,9 MHz to 70,4 MHz, has bult-in CW keyer, wide and narrow filters, 10,7 MHz IF, sensitivity of -130 dBm MDS, IF recjection greater than 100 dB, blocking dynamic range of 107 dB and an IP3 at +14 dBm. The price is 499 EUR including 21% Dutch VAT.

Bulgaria on 4 m!
Published on 12 August 2014 by George LZ1ZP
Today was published the new "Technical requirements for Radio amateur services" in Bulgarian State paper. Since that moment - 12.08.2014, 70 MHz is resolved for Bulgarian radio amateurs. Band plan is 70.000 to 70.500 MHz and the output power is 50 W.

New 4 m repeater ON0ABT on air
Published on 14 July 2014 by Jean-Jacques ON7EQ
Last weekend a new 4 m repeater has been activated with call sign ON0ABT on 70.3875 MHz, locator JO11PC, output 25 W on 5/8 antenna elevated 55 mASL.
The main purpose of setting up this repeater was to stimulate the activity on the 4m band, by providing a limited 'relay' function for the sparse stations active on this band, and on the other hand provide them a possibility to perform tests an optimization of their station.
Due to the limited bandwidth of the band and the IARU bandplan to which the UBA wants to adhere to, a full duplex was out of question to be achieved - therefore a simplex  'echophone' was provided as alternative.
FM signals modulated with a CTCSS tone of 79.7 Hz during at least 3 seconds will be recorded op to 60 seconds, and played back - if the frequency is clear. After being repeated, the message will be followed by an accurate S-meter report in CW, this can be handly to adjust antenna, check propagation etc. Every 20 minutes, when the frequency is clear, a beacon will be sent in CW.
As 70.3875 MHz is the  'standby' frequency in the Western part of Flanders, probably that signals from across the borders (Southern UK & The Netherlands) can reach the locals ham's through the repeater.
Any reception report is mostly welcome!

German Class A access to 4 m
Published on 2 July 2014 by Bo OZ2M
Today the German BNetzA has announced that German radio amateurs holding a Class A license are allowed to use 70,000 MHz to 70,030 MHz until the end of August 2014. The other operating conditions are similar to those on 50 MHz, i.e. 25 W EIRP, max 12 kHz bandwidth and horizontal antennas.
Last year DARC files a petition for 70,0 MHz to 70,2 MHz but this was not granted by BNetzA. However, DARC will continue to work for a more permanent solution.

Please note: To minimize the interference to/from beacons it might be worthwhile considering if split operation will make sense for sked like QSOs.

Germany sets 4 m free
Published on 27 June 2014 by Bo OZ2M
Until now German operators have had access to 4 m after being granted a special permit. But from 2 July 2014 the 4 m band should be free to everybody according to DARC and BNetzA. However, the access and further conditions have to be published in "Regelungen in der Mitteilung 502 im Amtsblatt 12/2014" before any operation can take place.

Italy back on 4 m
Published on 26 June 2014 by Bo OZ2M
Thanks to Professor Piero Tognolatti of the University of Aquila Italian radio amateurs can use the 4 m band again from 23 June 2014 to 19 December 2014. The frequencies are as before 70,1 MHz, 70,2 MHz and 70,3 MHz all +/- 12,5 kHz and with max 50 W ERP. No transmission within 30 km of France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. thanks to Emilio, IK0OKY, for the information.

Montenegro on 4 m (since Apr 2012)
Published on 19 June 2014 by Bo OZ2M
Thanks to Chris, PA2CHR, it has now been verifed that radio amateurs operating in Montenegro have access to the 4 m band since 11 April 2012. The frequency allocation is 70,050 MHz to 70,450 MHz with a maximum of 100 W PEP/25 W PEP and applies to license categories A and N. Montenegro also accepts CEPT operation.

New 70 MHz CEPT Initiative by IARU
Published on 19 June 2014 by Dave EI3IO
I've been appointed as an expert by IARU to mount a new 4m initiative to obtain regulatory recognition for a 70 MHz allocation in Europe (CEPT).

A document addressing 70 MHz is currently doing the rounds for comment in Committee 5 of IARU and in National Societies. The document explains the current initiative and strategy. It is a two pronged approach to obtain a secondary allocation to the amateur service at 69.9 - 70.5 MHz in the European frequency table, firstly by encouraging national societies to lobby their regulators to support such an initiative and secondly through direct liaison by IARU with the regulators of those CEPT countries which have had some form of access to the band in recent years. The latter has already commenced. The document contains an appendix which is intended to be a multi-country and IARU proposal to the Frequency Management Working Group of CEPT which looks after the European Common Allocation (ECA) table. The proposal is to modify the ECA and footnote EU9. The support of at least 10 administrations is required to obtain an automatic modification to the table. The document will be sent for comment and hopefully support to most of the 30 countries having provided some form of access to the 4m band.

In this regard a Spectrum Workshop will be held at Hamradio FHN on Saturday 28th June at 15:00 until 16:00 in - Room A , 5th floor, 'Verwaltungsgebaeude' (Messe Administration Building).

Topics will include presentations on 4 metre CEPT proposals by myself EI3IO and 5 MHz WRC-15 progress by Hans PB2T. Other topics can also be discussed if time permits. Because of the short notice of this workshop it will not feature in the Hamradio lecture programme.