Welcome to Tropical band

To most people the phrase "tropical bands" bring a pretty clear picture to mind - a bunch of shirtless guys playing calypso music. But to experienced shortwave DXers those two little words express the most challenging and enjoyable part of the radio hobby. The phrase kindles memories of a DXer's best catches and favorite QSLs, of exotic stations, music and of early morning listening sessions. (Don Moore)
I like the "Tropical band" name for new 60m allocation. (OK1RP)

Effective from 1st Jan 2017 please paper QSL via OM-bureau only.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Antennas for 60m - Inspiration by Iulian, VA3IUL

Hello,

these antennas inspirations are not appointed to just 60m but it can help you when you are planning your antenna for 60m band or you are thinking about an improvement...

































References:
 
Antenna Toolkit - J. Carr
Practical Antenna Handbook - J. Carr
More Antenna Classics - C. Hutchinson
Amateur Radio Techniques - P. Hawker
The Radio Handbook - W. Orr (editor), 15th edition
The Radio Antenna Handbook - Engineering Staff of "Radio"
Jones Antenna Handbook - Frank C. Jones
SM0DTK - http://www.sm0dtk.se/antennas.htm
ARRL Antenna Handbook 1990-2007
ARRL Handbook 1937-2009
ARRL Antenna Compendium
73 Magazine 1970-2002
Funkamateur Magazine 1990-2011
RSGB Handbook - 2007 - 2010
QST Magazine - 1980 - 2010
Ham Radio Magazine - 1969 - 1990
Radio-Electronics Magazine - 1986 - 1990
 

Thanks to Iulian, VA3IUL for ideas. Maybe it will help and inspire others to install better antennas for 60m band too...


73 - Petr, OK1RP
.../-.-

IARU-R3 Band plan for 60m - update by NZART

Hello,

short info arrived from NZART Administration Officer to my queries...


  • What is the status of the IARU Region 3 band plan? (As far as I am aware, the only published 5 MHz plan is a draft put together by IARU Region 1.)  
  • What is the status of the 5 MHz band in New Zealand?  (No allocation as yet but discussions are ongoing with the regulator and current licensees)


  • So in fact no additional information or news are available yet.
    The current band plans are available as I posted already here:



    73 - Petr, OK1RP
    .../-.-

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Last aid antenna for 60m - helical whip

    Hello all,

    are you one of those wretches with absolutely no space (mean zero space) for antenna and you would like to try QSO on 60m band?

    Well except the magnetic loops you can try also this crazy helical whip...


    Please forget it if you have space for at least 10m piece of wire outside to be used as random wire antenna (horizontal, zig-zag, sloped or even vertical) and grounding point or counterpoise close to your ham-shack...


    If there is no way for anything better and for some reasons you can not use the small loops then your last wretch's aid is this helical stick.

    http://www.nevadaradio.co.uk/amateur-radio/antennas/mobile-antennas/am-pro-60


    • 5 MHz single band whip
    • Power rated : 250w
    • Fitting : standard 3/8" thread
    • Length : 245cm (max)
    • Bandwidth : 50kHz
    • Slimline design


    Sometime something is better than nothing...


    73 - Petr, OK1RP
    .../-.-

    Monday, January 16, 2017

    IARU Regions Band Plans

    Hi all,

    if you are looking for IARU Regions band plans then you can download them over here:




    IARU Region 1 Band Plan
    IARU Region 2 Band Plan
    IARU Region 3 Band Plan

    Hope it helps,


    73 - Petr, OK1RP
    .../-.-

    Saturday, January 14, 2017

    ARRL Asks FCC to Allocate New 5 MHz Band, Retain Channels

    Hi all,
    thanks to MRCA group I can share this important information about the ARRL activity regarding the 60m band allocation as follows...

    See attached encouraging news from the ARRL.  When the FCC publishes a rule making petition and it is put out for public notice it will be important to send as many comments as possible supporting the continued use of  the four channels not affected by the WRC-15 proposed 15 kHz band and the existing 100 watt PEP power level – DG.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: ARRL Web site [mailto:memberlist@www.arrl.org]
    Sent: Friday, January 13, 2017 4:30 PM
    Subject: ARLB004 ARRL Asks FCC to Allocate New 5 MHz Band, Retain Channels
    and Current Power Limit

    ARRL has asked the FCC to allocate a new, secondary contiguous band
    at 5 MHz to the Amateur Service, while also retaining four of the current five 60-meter channels and current operating rules, including the 100 W PEP effective radiated power (ERP) limit. The federal government is the primary user of the 5 MHz spectrum. The proposed action would implement a portion of the Final Acts of World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) that provided for a secondary international allocation of 5,351.5 to 5,366.5 kHz to the Amateur Service; that band includes 5,358.5 KHz, one of the existing 5 MHz channels in the US.

    "Such implementation will allow radio amateurs engaged in emergency and disaster relief communications, and especially those between the United States and the Caribbean basin, to more reliably, more flexibly and more capably conduct those communications [and preparedness exercises], before the next hurricane season in the summer of 2017," ARRL said in a January 12 Petition for Rule Making. The FCC has not yet acted to implement other portions of the WRC-15 Final Acts.




    The Petition for Rule Making can be found on the web in PDF format
    at,
    http://www.arrl.org/attachments/view/News/87580 .

    The League said that 14 years of Amateur Radio experience using the five discrete 5-MHz channels have shown that hams can get along well with primary users at 5 MHz, while complying with the regulations established for their use. "Neither ARRL, nor, apparently, NTIA is aware of a single reported instance of interference to a federal user by a radio amateur operating at 5 MHz to date," ARRL said in its petition. NTIA - the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which regulates federal spectrum - initially proposed the five channels for Amateur Radio use. In recent years, Amateur Radio has cooperated with federal users such as FEMA in conducting communication interoperability exercises.

    "While the Amateur Radio community is grateful to the Commission and to NTIA for the accommodation over the past 14 years of some access to the 5-MHz band, the five channels are, simply stated, completely inadequate to accommodate the emergency preparedness needs of the Amateur Service in this HF frequency range," ARRL said, adding that the five 2.8-kHz wide channels "have not provided sufficient capacity to enable competent emergency preparedness and disaster relief capability."

    Access even to the tiny 15-kHz wide band adopted at WRC-15 would "radically improve the current, very limited capacity of the Amateur Service in the United States to address emergencies and disaster relief," ARRL said. "This is most notably true in the Caribbean Basin, but the same effect will be realized elsewhere as well, at all times of the day and night, and at all times of the sunspot cycle."

    In its Petition, ARRL also called upon the FCC to retain the same service rules now governing the five channels for the new band. The WRC-15 Final Acts stipulated a power limit of 15 W effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP), which the League said "completely defeats the entire premise for the allocation in the first place."

    "For precisely the same reasons that the Commission consented to a power increase on the five channels as recently as 2011 [from 50 W PEP ERP to 100 W PEP ERP], the Commission should permit a power level of 100 W PEP ERP, assuming use of a 0 dBd gain antenna, in the contiguous 60-meter band," ARRL said. "To impose the power limit adopted at WRC-15 for the contiguous band would render the band unsuitable for emergency and public service communications."

    ARRL pointed out that the ITU Radio Regulations permit assignments that are at variance with the International Table of Allocations, provided a non-interference condition is attached, limiting the use of such an assignment relative to stations operating in accordance with the Table.

    The League asked that General class or higher licensees be permitted to use the band. The FCC will not invite comments on the League's Petition until it puts it on public notice and assigns a Rule Making(RM) number.

    NNNN
    /EX
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    73 - Petr, OK1RP
    .../-.-

    Friday, January 13, 2017

    WRC-15 vs other ITU-Regions & National band allocations

     Hello all,

    as you know several countries are allowed to operating on 60m band with their new preliminary WRC-15 band allocation. In order to keep all hams well co-operated worldwide I would like to kindly ask all of us well understand also the other ITU-Regions and National band allocations and respect each others...

    An interim bandplan was adopted by IARU Region 1 in April 2016, for the WRC-15 allocation (5351.5 - 5366.5 kHz).



    Thank you for understanding that the five channels currently used for the 60 meter band in the USA ( ITU Region 2 ) are:


    To some of the inexperienced JT65 DX-ers please DO NOT inhibit SSB and CW operation on USA channel 3.

    Always the best way is to double check if the frequency is really clean and even better is to avoid using these channels for JT65 modes if there is chance to use another one instead.

    Please understand that there are still countries with channelized 60m band with no way to move out in case of QRM compare to WRC-15 band VFO-based allocation.


    73 - Petr, OK1RP
    .../-.-

    Thursday, January 12, 2017

    Icom 7300 on 60m band modification


    Hello,

    the wide band modification of IC-7300 by removing some of diodes on the diode matrix board (close to the big RENESAS chip see below) is going to open your RX and TX in few different ranges.

    Most known modification article is by Marcus, PA2DB...



    Open RX 0.030-74.8Mhz (REMOVE D416)
    Open TX 0.1-74.8Mhz (REMOVE D422) (D419 is and must be in)




    If you don't want to modify your radio for out of band TX operation then you can just open the TX for 60m band:

    Only Open TX 60Mtr 5.255-5.405Mhz (REMOVE D405)




    As Markus saying about the modification...

    "Well, I made the mods (both for wide open and for 60 m band and it worked perfectly on an european version with the first firmware.
    After flashing the updates, the mod remained there..."
    "A proper modification, at least how I made it, can be watched on the video below.
    Check at min 21:00 to see the diode matrix after the mod!"


    Also I really like to recommending every time follow the instructions written very well below:


    Some words of "wisdom" to read BEFORE you proceed to the mod:

    Just like any other mods, beware that you do it on your risk and you loose the warranty!

    1. Check the radio to be disconnected from power supply




    2. Please, use ESD discharge measures! No kidding, use ESD countermeasures both for your body and for the soldering station!
    3. Use a lot of soldering flux! The diodes are very sensitive to high temperature and the solder Flux (I use GEL type) help in reducing the temperature for the areas not touched by the soldering station's tip.
    4. Use 60/40 soldering alloy to reduce the melting point for the ROHS solders!
    5. Use unsolder braid to clean the PCB pads!
    6. Use a good soldering station!
    7. Use good tweezers.
    8. Use good magnifying glasses AND/OR microscope. The diodes are very very small.

    I had some e-mails form a fellow ham who removed the D413 from error and the radio is not working on 6m band! He put the diode back but the radio remains without 6 m band.

    I do not know if he fried the original diode but AFAIK, the diode matrix established the country version.
    I suggest to put the diodes just as above and do a re-flash.

    I just test to see if a downgrade to 1.12 (now I have 1.13) is possible and it is!


    (Many thanks to Markus, PA2DB for his good job and hope it will help to some others.)



    73 - Petr, OK1RP
    .../-.-