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Old 14th Jun 2019, 8:41 am   #1
HamishBoxer
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Default Save our 2 Metre Band.

This week a headline has alerted the global radio amateurs community: France plans to kick us out of the popular 2 meters band (144-146 MHz in Europe).

The spark that has triggered the alarm is the presentation of a paper on this matter at the CEPT meeting next week (see the source news).

http://www.southgatearc.org/news/201...m#.XQNmJ_ZFyM8

Spontaneously, an immediate reaction has begun to spread: let's occupy the 2 meter band on Saturday, June 15, 2019, between 20:00 and 21:00 UTC.

EURAO supports this protest action and encourages all hams world wide to show their dissatisfaction with this disgusting attempt, joining the event with QSOs in repeaters, direct and in any mode.

Courtesy of South Gate Amateur Radio News, very worrying.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 9:23 am   #2
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Default Re: Save our 2 Meter Band

That is indeed worrying. Not read anything about this proposal myself, but what is the intended use for it?

If this is going on, I think we should try and generate extra activity on the band over and above what is suggested for Saturday.

I personally quite enjoy 2M and although it's a lot quieter than the past, I have had a QSO every day on 2 this week.

I suppose this comes down to the old adage 'use it or loose it'

Let's hope this goes nowhere.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 10:01 am   #3
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Default Re: Save our 2 Meter Band

Hi Richard,

From what I've read so far, it appears that the proposal is for an extension to the aviation band.

Kind regards
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 10:16 am   #4
Martin G7MRV
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

As worrying as it sounds, I doubt the ITU will wear it. France is lobbying for additional aviation bandwidth. There is ample extra space available above the current aviation band and below our 2m band, and using that space would be much less hassle for manufacturers and the aviation industry in general, as much of the current infrastructure and installations could be modified.

However, usage of 2m has dropped dramatically since the abandonment of the A/B license scheme. This is because instant access to HF, plus the rise of datamodes and digital voice, has reduced the interest in 2m for anything much more than very local use by the majority of newer licensees. We do need to use it more, or we will see more intrusions and more lobbying for the bandwidth.

I'm not at all worried by Frances proposal, but it is an ideal area of spectrum for smartgrid technologies! Be vary wary!
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 10:45 am   #5
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

Dave757 is correct, it was for aviation use. I am getting ready to fire up the Nagi!

I was a bit wary of making this post as I did not want to put up something too controversial, so thank you mods.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 11:33 am   #6
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

And then the issue occurs where anyone with mischevious intentions can buy a baofeng for not many , and cause major hassle on safety critical frequencies.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 11:43 am   #7
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

RAYNET rely on 2m for their tactical networks. It is a band in frequent use for that kind of purpose.

The idea of grabbing 2m for use effectively by drones and the like seems bizarre (they don't seem to be wanting this for extending the aviation r/t bands but rather for unmanned aircraft for some purpose).
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 11:46 am   #8
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

Interesting and stupid.

I just pinged a friend of mine who is a commercial pilot and he thinks it is stupid as well. He has a perspective of "don't touch anything that isn't broken" and it's not. In fact he's very much against further technology "improvements" citing that the additional complexity leads to non determinism which is a sensible conclusion IMHO as he cited Boeing's recent history and the state of the F35 project.

As the 2m band is used for emergency communications regularly, there is established repeater infrastructure across Europe and significant investment in hardware it would be pretty difficult to kick everyone off.

As for it being used less it's pretty busy around here in SW London as well with local nets, APRS, repeaters, the lot. Rarely do I go for an amble with the HT and can't hear something on band. So much so I'm putting up a slim jim this weekend.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 12:05 pm   #9
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

Of course there would be no need to have an 'activity hour' if we were relatively active on the 2m band all the time. That's the problem, people see spectrum being under used and think "why not"? That said, I can tune around most evenings here now and find (respectable) CB-style conversations going on on one or two of the FM Simplex channels.

If we were the primary users of the 10MHz-wide 70cm band we would have lost that long ago on the reasonable basis of our lack of use of it, but fortunately it belongs to someone with more clout.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 12:38 pm   #10
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

The aviation band is already assigned from 108 to 154MHz Currently 108.1 to 136.975 is in use.

Pilots have only recently been forced to dump their existing comms radios (118-136.975MHz, 25kHz channel spacing) and replace them with 108-136.975Mhz, 8.33kHz channel spacing jobs. There were even government subsidies until a year or so ago to soften the blow.

America hasn't taken the 8.33kHx channel tripling step. In fact they want radios without the 8.33kHz/25kHz switching function to make them less confusing.

So, such a step by France seems odd. The planes to use it would need re-equipping yet again and I would expect pilots especially in France to get rather heated about this. It also wouldn't fit in with global norms, so France would have to retain the ability to do everything they need on the old channels in order to accommodate aircraft coming from other areas.

Most large aircraft panels are already quite full or there is a massive software re-qualification job involved.

Methinks there is some underlying issue.

That said, 2 metres is a complete wasteland around where I am. Would I miss it if it went? well from a point of anything to listen to on it, it's already gone.

2m started to die when the big repeaters on TV masts went, and my radios in the shack don't do CTCSS. SSB activity hinges on contests as far as I hear.

Going back to 25kHz spacing and 1750Hz tone access would bring a lot of radios back into use and might give a boost to at least FM activity. The population increase they were supposedly needed to handle turned out to be a decrease.

David
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 1:01 pm   #11
Martin G7MRV
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

No, most of the current spectrum above the airband up to 2m is specifically not for aeronautical use, the exception being region 1 138 to 144MHz where aeronautical mobile use is permitted.

That is as per the current UK Frequency Allocation Table. Above 146 to 154MHz is also specifically not for aeronautical use. However much of the spectrum is allocated for various satellite links.

So that again is also a clear point against France's plan!
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 1:05 pm   #12
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

I think the imposition of CTCSS has actually adversely affected repeater use, removing easy use with older equipment, and removing the much sought after fun of working distance repeaters during lift conditions.

France's airspace is particularly crowded in places, and the proposed clear skies project to remove ground control in favour of automatic deconfliction using telemetry is still a way off. Perhaps France's position stems from this?
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 2:00 pm   #13
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

At my QTH, 2M is dead - largely due to terrain [forest in one direction, the chalk of the Ridgeway in the other] and even though I have my FT-2400 scanning the entire 2M band when I'm out in the car, it's rare for anything to break the squelch except random interference. I won't be bothering to fit VHF/UHF antennas to my next car.

My last 'serious' use of 2M was back in the early-1990s when AX25-based bulletin-boards and KA9Q TCP/IP was the big thing on 144.650MHz that was, however, at a QTH that was not so VHF-hostile.

France would, I think, have a bit of a struggle getting the ITU to accede to a reclassification of 2M as an "aviation primary" allocation!
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 2:21 pm   #14
Martin G7MRV
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

I also don't think they have really thought through the risks! A key aspect of any band used for aviation, is that it has to be primary allocation, and equipment for use on that band heavily restricted, in order to reduce the likelyhood of accidental or malicious interference,

Can you imagine what would happen on an aviation band formed from taking our 2m allocation? Suddenly, a massive quantity of surplus handhelds and mobile radios flooding onto ebay for pennies...
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 2:58 pm   #15
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

I've read the proposal which ia entitled:-

"France_Proposal on non-safety aeronautical mobile applications".

My bolding.

2 metres and 70cms are dead round here. Like others I think it's down to the imposition of CTCSS and 12.5kHz channel spacing.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 3:07 pm   #16
Martin G7MRV
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

Well I suppose they are at least not trying to suggest the use of 2m for Safety Of Life purposes! But I'd still think the flood of surplus equipment would open it up as a pirate band of near unparalleled proportions and negate any advantage the extra spectrum space would give! It's bad enough with every man and his dog grabbing baofengs and just going where ever they like.

I personally think the 12.5kHz spacing on 2m is a good thing, as it is compatible with older 25kHz equipment (ideally with the deviation turned down a bit!) although older rigs may struggle if the band is very busy on adjacent channels. But the CTCSS on repeaters was a very bad move, I mean who remembers which tone you need? Bring back toneburst!

I do wish they would change 6m to 12.5kHz spacing!
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 3:16 pm   #17
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

I don't think the coming of CTCSS/12.5KHz made much difference. 12.5KHz spacing has been the standard for PMR stuff for at least 40 years, and CTCSS was ubiquitous there too (along with 5-tone selcall) so your generic 'surplus' Pye/Motorola ex-utility-company/taxi-radio was ready-to-go with a suitable EPROM (and lots cheaper than buying stacks of crystals like we had to do in the old Westminster/Vanguard days!).

I think 2M died just because the world moved on. Same as for VHF/UHF PMR (emergency-services, the local vets, courier- and taxi-companies all now gone digital) and 11M CB.

Cheap, ubiquitous cellphones and digital data have a lot to answer for.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 5:12 pm   #18
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

The issue with mandatory CTCSS is that it makes it near-impossible to go back to any call which you hear being made through a repeater which is not known to you, and equally difficult to try a speculative call yourself through the same repeater.

If it's one which seems to be in the area near to you may (or may not) have an idea what that area's CTCSS tone is, but you still have to delve into the radio's menus and dial it in, which is a 'busy' task which you shouldn't really be trying to do while driving. With 1750 you just had to arm or press your toneburst - it was that simple.

I'm not against the optional / alternative provision of CTCSS as that is actually easier to use on repeaters which are known to you, as you can have them programmed into memory channels complete with the required CTCSS tone. In those cases calling through a repeater is as easy as calling out on simplex.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 5:34 pm   #19
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SiriusHardware View Post
I'm not against the optional / alternative provision of CTCSS as that is actually easier to use on repeaters which are known to you, as you can have them programmed into memory channels complete with the required CTCSS tone. In those cases calling through a repeater is as easy as calling out on simplex.
It's only easy if your radio has CTCSS

Without it, it's very, very difficult!

I have a rather nice multimode 2m, 70cm 23 cm radio. 100W on 2m. But no CTCSS so if I hear a call on one of the local repeaters, all I can do is listen to the poor soul calling and calling unless I go out to the car and get the handheld which does have CTCSS but doesn't have the range!

The IC910 with all the options loaded was not cheap, nor is it old. I'm not inclined to dump it just to get repeaters. It really only gets used when the club works a VHF contest.

I think there is more activity on 2m EME for those with the antennae than there is terrestrial 2m round here.

David
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 5:38 pm   #20
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Default Re: Save our 2 Metre Band.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
It's only easy if your radio has CTCSS

if I hear a call on one of the local repeaters, all I can do is listen to the poor soul calling and calling unless I go out to the car and get the handheld which does have CTCSS but doesn't have the range!
CTCSS is only required to open it, so you can respond once the repeater is open.
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