Ofcom grants amateurs extension to 2m band

Ofcom Logo
Ofcom Logo

Ofcom has today confirmed that 146 to 147MHz will shortly be available for amateur radio use – with some restrictions.

The decision is in response to Ofcom’s “The release of spectrum within the frequency ranges 143 MHz to 169 MHz” proposals, following a period of public consultation.

Note the following regarding the allocation:

  • 146-147MHz will be available to Full licence holders only
  • Full licence holders will be able to request an NoV (Notice of Variation) from the end of October
  • Use of this part of the band will be on a “temporary” basis
  • There will be some geographical restrictions, to avoid interference with other countries

You can read the full Ofcom document here: stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/vhf-143-169mhz/statement

Getting access to 146-147MHz

This will only be available to Full licence holders, and as with the 5MHz band, Full licence holders will have to apply for a Notice of Variation (NoV). This will be done online via the RSGB site, and should only take a few minutes – See RSGB NoV

Also note that most commercially-available radios are ‘locked’ to prevent transmission outside of our existing 144-146MHz allocation. Radios may require modification (either software or hardware) to be able to transmit on this new allocation.

Temporary allocation

The allocation is “temporary” as Ofcom expects that other users and services will require these frequencies at some point.The NoV will be valid for 12 months, and it should be possible to reapply after 12 months. Ofcom retains the right to withdraw temporary access to spectrum at 146 – 147 MHz though. This document states the following:

“We will not consult on this decision. We will endeavour to provide Amateur Radio users with a  minimum of 12 months’ notice before withdrawing temporary access. Such notice will be published  on our website. Amateur Radio use of spectrum will be on a non-protection, non-interference basis and will be subject to some geographical restrictions to avoid interference to neighbouring countries. If use is shown to cause interference, the spectrum will be removed with immediate effect. The Notice of Variation will last for twelve months but can be re-applied for unless notice has been given on our website.

Other notes

During the public consultation, spectrum users had the change to comment on the proposals – the comments make interesting reading, Here is a summary:

  • 3 of the responses wanted permanent, not temporary, access
  • 3 of the responses questioned the need for the extension as the existing 2m allocation was not fully utilised
    2 of the responses called for this to be offered to all licence levels, not just Full (see below)

On the subject of making 146-147MHz available to Foundation and Intermediate, Ofcom said no, stating that in order to minimise the risk of interference to other users, “an advanced level of practical ability and an advanced understanding of radio theory and radio operating techniques.” was required.

VHF CB

Nearly 40 CB radio users got in touch with Ofcom asking for a VHF allocation, including a suggestion from ‘Delboy Enterprises’ and 5 others for a licence free or licence exempt band in the VHF range for CB Radio.

Summary

Will you be applying for 146-147MHz from the end of October? Have your say below.

Also, don’t forget that, as announced at the CARS AGM this week, you have until the 20th of October to have your say on changes to the amateur radio licence.

Murray G6JYB at the CARS 2014 AGM
Murray G6JYB at the CARS 2014 AGM

See our Ofcom Proposed Licence Changes summary

3 Comments

  1. Avatar Robert Adlington 10 October 2014 Reply
  2. Avatar M5AKA 10 October 2014 Reply
  3. Avatar BRIAN STANTON 14 October 2014 Reply

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