First steps on 5MHz

On the first of January 2013, Full licence-holders were allowed access to 5MHz by Ofcom. At the time, this was an experimental release requiring an NoV. Since 2015, this allocation has been made available to all Full licence holders, but there are some restrictions. This page offers a basic introduction to using the the 5MHz , band, aimed that those not familiar with this allocation.

What is 5MHz?

It’s on the 60 metre band, which is a band that you won’t find mentioned in the standard amateur radio licence.  Here’s what you need to know:

  •  It’s only available to Full licence holders
  • Off-the-shelf radios don’t allow you to transmit on the 60 metre, as it’s not normally a UK band, although you should be able to listen. To transmit, you will need to modify your radio to unlock the restriction
  • The primary user of the band in the UK is the MoD
  • You are restricted to 100 watts (or 200 watts erp) with antenna no more than 20 metres  from ground level
  • There’s only a small selection of frequencies between 5.2585 and 5.4065MHz, and they are divided into 11 small chunks
  • You’re only allowed to operate at the Station Address or at a temporary location (no mobile, maritime mobile or Alternate address operation)
  • You need to be near a phone, so you can be contacted if causing interference to a primary user

What’s on 5MHz

As mentioned above, there’s only a very small number of slots on the 5MHz allocation. From what I’ve heard, this band is not being used for “rag chews”, and certainly not for contesting. Listening in, there’s much discussion of propagation of this band, and multiple nets, including the popular Sunset Net. There are also various beacons, occasional contacts with military stations, and use CW as well as various data modes.

5MHz NoV from Ofcom
The 5MHz NoV from Ofcom

Applying to use 5MHz

When this allocation first became available in January 2013, you were required to take out an NoV. Now it’s part of the allocation for Full UK licence holders, so no need for an NoV.

Using 5MHz

The band is very good for Inter-G working (working with stations in the UK), but other European and US stations have been heard. Note that many other countries don’t have access to this band, or may be allowed to use different frequencies within this band. It is not OK to contact another amateur on a frequency other than those detailed in your licence.

It’s also important to not stray out of band. The frequencies are very tight, and of low bandwidth. You’ll typically use USB, and you’ll have to allow +3KHz bandwidth for voice. For example, to ensure you don’t stray beyond 5.4065MHz, you can’t set your dial frequency above 5.4035MHz

Check the RSGB Band Plan for details of where you can transmit. We’d also recommend you get a PDF copy of the UK 60m Band Utilization Chart, created by Ian G3NRW, which gives a clear idea where you can transmit.

 

5MHz Whiteboard Extract
Extract from an early UK 60m Band Utilization Chart created by Ian G3NRW

 

5MHz RSGB News

If you’re interested in hearing the 5MHz amateur allocation active, then the time to listen is Sunday afternoon. As you may be aware, there is a weekly reading of news from the RSGB on various bands from various locations. There is a reading of the news on 5MHz weekly, followed by a Net. Details as follows:

  • Frequency: 5.4035MHz USB
  • Callsign: GB2RS
  • Reader: Steve G4HPE in Hertfordshire

The after-news Net today (Sunday the 13th Jan 2013) was very well attended – the long list of attendees seemed to surprise newsreader Steve G4HPE. Stations received here in Essex by Pete M0PSX today were as follows (with sig rpt in brackets):

  • Steve G4HPE (59+), Tony G8DQZ (58), Clem G0APM (59+), Jim GM4NTL (37), George G4ZWA (58), Wolfgang G4SSX (59), Mike G4HOL (49), Alan G3IOE (27), Sid M0SRS (49), John G3ENI (58), Bob G7JHW (48), Graham Oz1QV (59+) and Terry G0LGF (58). There were two or three other stations but hard to read.
  • Also at the end of the net, the military station 91A (Nine One Alpha) appeared to take reception reports, and was worked by a couple of amateur stations.

More on the 5MHz allocation

Here are a few handy links I’ve picked up along the way:

Summary

Hopefully, this gives you a brief introduction to 5MHz. We’ll update this article with anything new or interesting we discover…

5 Comments

  1. Avatar Mike Holden 14 January 2014 Reply
  2. Avatar R.D.Deans 16 October 2014 Reply
  3. Avatar Paul Gaskell G4MWO 18 October 2014 Reply
  4. Avatar Paul Gaskell G4MWO 18 October 2014 Reply
  5. Avatar Iain 1 June 2016 Reply

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