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WG2XPN back on the air
Published on 7 February 2015 by Brian WA1ZMS
The Experimental License for WG2XPN with one-way only beacon operations on 70.005 MHz with 3 kW ERPd from here in the US (QTH: FM07FM) has been renewed until May 1st of 2017. As such, it gives the only 4 m North American beacon an chance to be heard via TA in the EU for another 2 years. That’s a good thing in my mind. Thanks again goes to the FCC & the Society of Broadcast Engineers here in the US for their continued support; after all this portion of spectrum is still reserved for TV service only and no US 4m ham band appears possible in the future. I am always hoping for a repeat of the 7000+ km Eskip DX reports that took place in 2013. To all EU stations on 4 m: Remember to point your beams West during Eskip season and give a LONG listen on 70.005 MHz. You might just hear something!

Finland gets 300 kHz continuous allocation
Published on 2 January 2015 by Bo OZ2M
Erik, OH2LAK, writes that the allocation in Finland now covers 70,0 MHz to 70,3 MHz continuously without any special permit but still as a secondary service.

Czech Republic on 4 m in 2015
Published on 26 December 2014 by Bo OZ2M
Matej, OZ1TEH, writes that the Czech Telecommunications Office has granted another extension 4 m permits for 2015. Two small changes applies: 1) the maximum validity of an individual license is one year and 2) it is not possible to apply for a permit valid for three different locations, however, /P operation is not permitted. The price of a permit is 500 CZK.

IRTS 70 MHz (4 m) Awards
Published on 7 December 2014 by Dave EI3IO
To celebrate the adoption of the band 69.9 MHz – 70.5 MHz as a secondary amateur allocation in the European Common (frequency) Allocation Table and Ireland’s significant involvement in the process, IRTS as the national IARU member society in Ireland is pleased to launch two new 4 m awards.

The purpose of the awards is to recognise and promote DX achievements by amateur radio operators interested in the range 69 MHz – 74 MHz. In-band and cross-band awards are available. Log extracts are required and there is currently no charge for the awards. The awards will be available from 1 January 2015.

70 MHz Maidenhead Locator Award (MLA) Programme
  • For the 70 MHz MLA in-band Half Century award, communicating with stations in 50 locators is required, 75 for a cross-band award
  • For the 70 MHz MLA in-band Century award, communicating with stations in 100 locators is required, 125 for a cross-band award
  • For the 70 MHz MLA in-band Double Century award, communicating with stations in 200 locators are required, 250 for a cross-band award. A Double Century award can also be endorsed for additional locators worked in steps of 50 e.g. 250, 300, 350 etc.
A PDF document providing full details of the award and how to apply can be downloaded from the IRTS web-site.

70 MHz Continents, Countries and Islands Award (CCI) Programme

For this award points are earned for working WAC continents, DXCC countries and IOTA island groups. A continent is valid for 10 points (once only), an IOTA island reference which is not listed as a DXCC entity is valid for 2 points and a DXCC entity is valid for 1 point.
  • For the 70 MHz CCI in-band Basic award 50 points are required, 65 for a cross-band award
  • For the 70 MHz CCI in-band Century award 100 points are required, 115 for a cross-band award
  • For the 70 MHz CCI in-band Century Plus award 130 points are required, 145 for a cross-band award. A 70 MHz CCI century plus award can also be endorsed for additional entities worked in steps of 20 e.g. +20, +40, +60 etc.
A PDF document providing full details of the award and how to apply can be downloaded from the IRTS web-site.

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.