[CQ-Contest] TopBand: 160 band plan/band segments(LONG)

Bill Tippett btippett at CTC.Net
Thu Apr 3 15:36:08 EST 1997


        I recently posted the following on the Topband reflector
which was a follow-up to some discussions we have had about SSB
and CW conflicts on 160.  I would like to also solicit your input
since we have more DXers than Contesters on our subscriber list.
Please give me your opinion on one of four FCC-mandated CW only
alternatives if you have had experience on 160...contesting or
otherwise.  Here's my original post including attachment from K1KI,
which you should probably scroll down and read first:


        Attached is a copy of a response from Tom K1KI who is the 
Director for ARRL's New England Division.  We are indeed very
fortunate to have a Director like Tom who is active on 160 and
understands the need for FCC mandated mode segments on 160.  Tom
has suggested that we try to reach a consensus on our initial
recommendation for FCC segments prior to raising the issue at the
next meeting of the Board.  We can then later discuss the need for
modifications to the existing voluntary bandplan for issues such as
recommended windows for digital modes, CW DX, SSB DX, JA's, etc.

        To keep things simple and be sensitive to Tom's comment
about "not taking something away",  I suggest we choose among the
following alternatives:

1.  1800-1840 CW (including other narrowband modes like digital).
    1840-2000 All modes.
Comments:  Most like the defacto situation today and therefore
the least "take away" from anyone.  Practically, this would mean
that the lowest frequency a USA station could use on LSB would be
1843 unless they wanted to risk FCC citations.

2.  1800-1845 CW (including other...)
    1845-2000 All modes.
Comments:  This might allow a little wider defacto DX window for
SSB since more EU and other stations could operate where they normally
do and listen split on 1848 and above for USA.  Downside is that it
is a "take away" for SSB stations currently operating below 1848.

3.  1800-1850 CW (including other...)
    1850-2000 All modes.
Comments:  Even more of an SSB DX window but also more of a take away
for USA SSB stations currently using 1840-1850.

4.  Do nothing.  Leave the situation as it is today.
Comments:  In the current environment of deregulation, some may not
feel we need to get the FCC involved.  I personally feel that a little
more regulation, just as we have on EVERY other HF band, would go a 
long ways to relieving a lot of the conflicts we've been seeing as the
band becomes more populated.  I'm as conservative and anti big government
as anyone you will find but I truly feel a change would result in FEWER
problems, complaints, etc. to the FCC rather than MORE.   

        I personally favor #2 because it would create a larger
defacto SSB DX window and would also give VE SSB stations a larger 
buffer space before they would be interfering with CW on 1840 and 

        There are certainly other alternatives than the ones I've
listed, but practically I doubt that we could ever expect to get
anything more than #3 above.  PLEASE vote on one of the above by
REPLYING TO ME and I will post the results.  You are also welcome
to publicly comment on other alternatives, discuss pro's and con's,
etc.  Comments from our overseas friends are also most welcome!

        Finally, I was VERY disappointed to see that only 3 people had
bothered to offer any comments to Tom who represents the entire first
call district!  Rather than just complaining, let's try to do something
positive to improve the situation.  Remember to make comments to your
Division Director (page 10 of any recent QST).  If we can reach a 
consensus on a proposal to the FCC, we have at least one Director who
will help us put it on the Board's agenda (THANKS TOM!).  

                                        73,  Bill  W4ZV

>Return-path: <frenaye at pcnet.com>
>Date: Sat, 29 Mar 1997 11:48:13 -0500 (EST)
>From: frenaye at pcnet.com
>Subject: 160 band plan/band segments
>To: K5ZD/1 <k5zd at contesting.com>, K1ZM/1 <k1zm at aol.com>, KM1H <km1h at juno.com>
>Cc: W4ZV <btippett at CTC.Net>
>Thanks to each of you for the input on the current ARRL 160 band plan and 
>for suggestions on where to go from here.  I'm in favor of making a change.
>You each suggested something slightly different:
>	K1ZM	1800-1835 CW only
>		1835-1850 mixed CW/SSB but USA stations answer CQs only
>		1850-2000 All modes, except JA window 1907.5-1912.5
>	KM1H	1800-1840 CW only
>		1840-1850 CW and digital
>		1850-2000 All modes
>	K5ZD/1	1800-1840 CW only
>		1840-2000 All modes
>I'm assuming you all feel there should be some FCC mandated band segments, 
>similar to those on 80-2 meters, where wideband modes like SSB (and FM) are 
>restricted to a subset of the band, and CW and other narrow band modes are 
>free to go anywhere but, practically speaking, are almost always found in 
>the segment where wideband modes are not permitted.
>I think what is needed is some combination of FCC band segment and change in 
>the ARRL band plan.  
>FCC band segment 
>The most common suggestions I've seen (from you and others on the 160 
>reflector) are that SSB and wideband modes be restricted to above 
>1835-1840-1850 (pick one).
>On 80-10 meters, the non-SSB segments are 80m/50% of the band (3500-3750), 
>40m/50%, 30m/100%, 20m/43%, 17m/42%, 15m/44%, 12m/40%, 10m/18%.  That 
>suggests to me that 40-50% is a good target for 160m - but that means 
>setting the dividing line at 1880 or 1900 kHz!!  The only reason to set it 
>lower is to allow for "simplex"(I hate that word) QSOs with countries that 
>do not allow operation higher in the band (like most or all of Europe).  
>That's probably a good reason.
>Band plan
>The issue of a DX window between 1830 and 1850, and for JAs, would really 
>only be able to be handled in a band plan.  ARRL publications talk about it 
>in two ways - for DX QSOs and for intercontinental QSOs, leading to 
>confusion and misinterpretation.  The original Board policy was set using 
>the word "intercontinental" (OK for PJ2, not OK for PJ7...) as I remember it 
>(around 1985).
>I'm not in favor of a "no CQ" rule for USA stations, like that used in the 
>ARRL 160m contest - too hard to enforce and generates too much ill will and 
>DX/contest policeman...
>The ARRL had a 160m QRP SSB frequency (1910 kHz) in a version of the 
>bandplan a year or two ago (and in the current ARRL Handbook) but I'm pretty 
>sure that was not ever endorsed by the ARRL Board and should not appear in 
>the future.
>I think RTTY and other non-CW digital activity should be encouraged to use 
>1800-1810 kHz, and that other wideband modes (like SSTV which I've never 
>heard on 160m) should have some calling frequency above 1900 kHz.
>Taking something away
>Be aware that there is a great sensitivity within the ARRL and among most 
>hams about taking things away.  There are some (very few) ragchewers that 
>live below 1840 that have been there a long time, and some veteran DXers who 
>use 1840-1850, plus a big group on 1850.  If the limit was 1850, they would 
>all have to go above 1853 on LSB.  If 1850 is picked, we'll hear a lot of 
>Canadian SSB below there also.
>Where from here?
>The ARRL Board is talking about a license restructuring proposal (see March 
>QST, page 55) that includes changes on 160m - allowing Tech+ (Intermediate 
>Class) operators to use 1950-2000 kHz.  That will potentially put a lot of 
>newcomers on 160m, making it a good time to re-examine the structure (or 
>lack of it) in the rest of the band.  The top 50 kHz is not well used now, 
>but that will move people down into the 1900-1950 kHz range, where the JA 
>window exists today - but didn't I hear that the JAs were going to get some 
>access below 1850 kHz?
>I've had input from about 60 people in New England on the license 
>restructuring proposal (none came from you, and few came from contesters or 
>DXers).  Bring up the proposal to restrict wideband modes from the lower 
>part of the band as part of your comments on the bigger restructuring 
>proposal. I'd suggest that talking about 160m at the next YCCC meeting would 
>be a good idea (any of you planning to be there?).  The YCCC Internet 
>reflector is another good place (Carl, you gonna re-join?).
>As I told W4ZV a few weeks ago, I don't think it is enough to stir up 
>comments to the Board without having a proposal put together that a large 
>group of 160m operators can agree with.  It doesn't have to be perfect 
>because the Board may want to tinker with it, and if it gets to the FCC 
>(from the Board or not) there will be a comment period for anyone interested 
>in the subject to give their input.  You will be better off with a proposal 
>to the ARRL Board put together by 160m operators, than to leave it up to the 
>Board (with all of the political considerations...).
>The proposal needs to have a well written rationale about why this is a good 
>time to propose a change and why the status quo is not in the best interests 
>of 160m operators.  K1ZM had a good place to start:
>	1) 160M has become far more populated of late, especially in the 
>		95/96 and 96/97 seasons
>	2) Mixed mode operation within key DX segments (especially during 
>		contests) has suggested the time has come for specific 	
>		band/mode allocations
>	3) Specific allocation of a low-end DX window for LISTENING and 
>		THEN RESPONDING to Dx calls has proven to be of merit to 
>		lesser-advantaged stations in the USA MID/FAR-WEST who are 
>		working to achieve the DXCC award.
>I do think it is possible to get the support of the ARRL Board on this, but 
>it will not be easy.  Any Board member can bring a proposal to the Board for 
>discussion and it may be approved or declined, or sent to a committee for 
>further study.  There are a number of Directors who are active operators on 
>160m, but not a majority, and they do not all agree that things need to 
>change.   If it goes to committee, it would probably be the Membership 
>Services Committee, currently chaired by K4VX.
>I'm looking forward to further input!
>				73 Tom
>E-mail: k1ki at arrl.org   
>Tom Frenaye, K1KI, P O Box 386, West Suffield CT 06093 Phone: 860-668-5444

FAQ on WWW:               http://www.contesting.com/topband.html
Submissions:              topband at contesting.com
Administrative requests:  topband-REQUEST at contesting.com
Problems:                 owner-topband at contesting.com

CQ-Contest on WWW:        http://www.contesting.com/_cq-contest/
Administrative requests:  cq-contest-REQUEST at contesting.com

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list