Policy and Technical Framework for Amateur Service Use in the 5 MHz Band

SMSE-004-14
January 2014

Spectrum Management and Telecommunications

Posted on Industry Canada website: January 22, 2014

Contents

  1. Intent
  2. Background and Considerations
  3. Amateur Service in the Band 5250‑5450 kHz
  4. Technical Operating Parameters for the 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz Frequencies
  5. Changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations
  6. Obtaining Copies

1. Intent

1. Through the release of this paper, Industry Canada hereby announces the decisions resulting from the public consultation process undertaken through Canada Gazette notice SMSE‑010‑12 — Consultation on Changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations and to RBR‑4 to Allow for Amateur Radio Service Use in the 5 MHz Band (hereinafter referred to as the 5 MHz Consultation).

2. All comments and reply comments received in response to this consultation are available on Industry Canada’s departmental website at http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum.

2. Background and Considerations

3. In 2010, the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) approached Industry Canada and requested the use of five centre frequencies in the 5 MHz band, namely 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz. RAC stated that the use of these frequencies would allow for more reliable communications during emergency operations and highlighted that harmonizing frequency use with the United States would allow Canadian radio amateurs to conduct regional emergency communications on a coordinated basis with U.S. radio amateurs. RAC also requested the use of two additional frequencies, 5319 kHz and 5329 kHz, for Canadian domestic use. In response, Industry Canada released the 5 MHz Consultation in May 2012.

4. Having conducted a review of domestic and international use of the 5319 kHz frequency prior to the 5 MHz Consultation, Industry Canada determined that this frequency is unavailable for use by the amateur service in Canada.

5. The 5 MHz Consultation requested input on whether to allow amateur radio use in the following six frequencies: 5329 kHz, 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz, on a no-interference, no-protection basis. The 5 MHz Consultation also requested input on whether transmissions should be restricted to a 2.8 kHz bandwidth centred on each of these frequencies, whether the effective radiated power should be capped at 100 W peak envelope power (PEP), and whether the emission modes and designators should be harmonized with those specified in the United States, i.e. telephony (2K80J3E), data (2K80J2D), radioteletype (RTTY) (60H0J2B) and continuous wave (CW) (150HA1A).

3. Amateur Service in the Band 5250‑5450 kHz

6. The 5 MHz Consultation considered whether to authorize the use of the 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz frequencies by the amateur radio operators in order to harmonize with the use of those frequencies in the United States. The Consultation also considered whether to allow the use of an additional frequency, 5329 kHz, for domestic use only.

7. Respondents to the question of whether to allow amateur use of the 5329 kHz, 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz frequencies on a no‑interference, no‑protection basis unanimously supported allowing such use.

8. Respondents indicated that harmonization with the five U.S. frequencies would facilitate cross‑border communications, especially for emergency operations. Moreover, as indicated by RAC, "…most commercial amateur equipment available to Canadian amateurs is designed for the large American amateur market and already has these 5 frequencies programmed into the radio transceivers."

9. While respondents were supportive of allowing radio amateurs to have access to the additional frequency (5329 kHz) for domestic communications only, views differed on whether harmonizing Canadian and U.S. technical rules was necessary.

10. Having conducted a further review of domestic and international use of the six frequencies requested by RAC, Industry Canada has determined that the 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz frequencies can be made available for use by radio amateurs. The sixth frequency, 5329 kHz, cannot be made available for use by radio amateurs due to potential interference to other radio systems.

11. In the absence of an allocation to the amateur service in the 5 MHz range and given primary use by the fixed and mobile services, it is essential that operation on these frequencies be on a no‑interference, no‑protection basis. Moreover, given that use of these frequencies was requested, in part, to allow for cross‑border communications in times of emergency, harmonization of the frequencies with the United States would facilitate such communications between the Canadian and the U.S. amateur radio communities.

Decision

3-1 Industry Canada will allow amateur radio operators to use the 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz frequencies on a no-interference, no-protection basis.

3-2 Industry Canada will not allow amateur radio operators to use the 5329 kHz frequency.

4. Technical Operating Parameters for the 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz Frequencies

12. In the 5 MHz Consultation, Industry Canada considered the technical operating parameters for amateur radio stations operating in the 5 MHz band. The Department proposed a maximum bandwidth of 2.8 kHz, emission modes and designators, and a maximum effective radiated power of 100 W PEP.

4.1 Maximum Bandwidth

13. The Department proposed a bandwidth restriction of 2.8 kHz, which would harmonize with the United States.

14. The majority of responses supported restricting the channel bandwidths to 2.8 kHz centred on 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz respectively. Respondents indicated that there is a need for consistency with U.S. amateur operations, as access to these frequencies will be on a shared basis with the U.S. radio amateur community. However, a few respondents proposed that the bandwidth be 6 kHz in order to be consistent with the permissible bandwidth for other HF bands.

4.2 Emission Modes and Designators

15. Industry Canada considered harmonizing the emission modes and designators with those specified in the United States, i.e. telephony (2K80J3E), data (2K80J2D), RTTY (60H0J2B) and CW (150HA1A), for the requested frequencies in the 5 MHz range.

16. With regard to the question of whether to harmonize emission modes and designators with those in the United States, respondents generally agreed that harmonization would facilitate cross-border communications and allow for sharing of the channels with U.S. amateur operations. However, some respondents were of the view that emission modes and designators should not be specified given the long-standing practice of regulating only the permissible bandwidth of amateur operations.

4.3 Radiated Power

17. Industry Canada asked if the maximum effective radiated power of 100 W PEP should be specified.

18. Responses were varied with regard to limiting radiated power to 100 W PEP. Many respondents agreed that the radiated power should be capped at 100 W PEP, as this power level is sufficient to allow for domestic and international communications, even during times of degraded propagation. Some respondents added that capping the radiated power would limit the interference potential to other users of these frequencies, and other respondents specified that the proposed radiated power level would balance the ability to communicate domestically and internationally with the requirement to prevent interference to primary users.

19. RAC and some other respondents proposed that the power limitation be 100 W PEP, but without reference to effective radiated power. RAC commented that most antennas that will be used in the band will be dipoles or other wire/monopole antennas with a maximum gain of zero relative to a dipole. RAC also added that it is difficult to determine the exact performance of an antenna system, especially in quickly deployed site locations. Some respondents agreed that it would be more suitable to specify transmitter output power as opposed to effective radiated power. Reasons given were that output power, as opposed to antenna gain, is a known quantity, and antennas with gain at these frequencies are uncommon. Other respondents argued that there should be no power limitations whatsoever given that use of these frequencies is on a secondary basis and that amateurs are aware of their obligations not to cause interference to primary users.

20. With respect to limiting the maximum effective radiated power to 100 W PEP, the Department recognizes that it can be difficult to determine the gain and performance of a non-commercial antenna system. As well, antennas built for use at this frequency can be relatively inefficient compared to antennas used at higher frequencies, and this inefficiency directly affects the gain of the antenna.

21. However, evaluating the impact of allowing radiated versus transmit powers on the compatibility between stations in the amateur service and other services would require making assumptions on the gain and performance of possible non-commercial antenna systems in this band. An additional margin of safety would need to be introduced and this margin would result in less power being available to radio amateurs. For this reason, Industry Canada believes that it is preferable to allow for the power and antenna performance to be adapted to individual circumstances. Therefore, Industry Canada will specify limits in terms of maximum effective radiated power.

22. In addition, as noted in the 5 MHz Consultation, the band 5250-5450 kHz is heavily used by federal agencies in the United States. These frequencies and technical rules were carefully selected by both the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Federal Communications Commission after studying the interference potential to primary users in the band. Therefore, harmonizing Canadian frequency use and technical rules, including radiated power levels, with those of the United States would diminish the risk of interference to Canadian and U.S. primary users.

Decision

For the frequencies centred on 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz:

4‑1 Amateur stations will be allowed a maximum bandwidth of 2.8 kHz.

4‑2 Amateur stations will be restricted to the following emission modes and designators: telephony (2K80J3E), data (2K80J2D), RTTY (60H0J2B) and CW (150HA1A).

4-3 Amateur stations will be allowed to operate with a maximum effective radiated power of 100 W PEP.

5. Changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations

23. In the 5 MHz Consultation, Industry Canada proposed to add a new footnote to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations to allow the use of amateur service on the 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz frequencies.

24. The majority of respondents supported this proposal.

Decision

5-1 Industry Canada will update the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations with a new footnote, as follows:

kHz

5250‑5450

primary serviceFIXEDend primary service
primary serviceMOBILEend primary service except aeronautical mobile

C21

C21 (CAN-14): Amateur service operators may transmit on the following five centre frequencies: 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz, and 5405 kHz. Amateur stations are allowed to operate with a maximum effective radiated power of 100 W PEP and are restricted to the following emission modes and designators: telephony (2K80J3E), data (2K80J2D), RTTY (60H0J2B) and CW (150HA1A). Transmissions may not occupy more than 2.8 kHz centred on these five frequencies. Such use is not in accordance with international frequency allocations. Canadian amateur operations shall not cause interference to fixed and mobile operations in Canada or in other countries and, if such interference occurs, the amateur service may be required to cease operations. The amateur service in Canada may not claim protection from interference by the fixed and mobile operations of other countries.

25. Industry Canada will also make consequential amendments to RBR-4, Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Radio Service. This document will be published separately.

6. Obtaining Copies

26. All spectrum-related documents referred to in this paper are available on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website at http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum.

27. For further information concerning the process outlined in this document or related matters, contact:

Director, Mobile Services Engineering
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch
Industry Canada
300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C8
Telephone: 613-998-3874
Fax: 613-952-5108
E-mail: Spectrum.Engineering@ic.gc.ca