Statement on the proposed re-allocation of the 6m beacon sub-band in IARU Region 1

At the coming IARU R1 meeting in Sun City /RSA, the recommendation B02 to shift the 6m beacon sub-band will be presented for acceptance.

The recommendation was made by the RSGB and was endorsed by a preparatory IARU meeting in Vienna, with gross carelessness as I believe.

Carelessness must be assumed, since the recommendation B02 does not fulfill even the minimal prerequisites required for a recommendation of such consequences, i.e. the modification of a bandplan: Neither a reason

for the proposed re-allocation is given, nor are the consequences of de-coordinating the beacon sub-bands between IARU R1 and R2/3 mentioned in the published IARU B02 document. The benefits of having all 6m beacons allocated worldwide in the same sub-band are presented in “6m beacons why and where”. Due to the intermittent nature of propagation on 6m and its rapid changes, the proximity of the beacon sub-band and the activity band is also of great importance for propagation within Region 1.

In case of re-allocation as proposed by recommendation B02, the worldwide 6m community would be faced with beacon sub-bands being different in IARU R1 than R2/R3 by about 400 kHz, at the onset of the coming solar maximum, i.e. the period of worldwide 6m openings. Those who monitor beacons with SDR and soundcard will have difficulties to check for beacons from all regions within their bandwidth limitation of typical 200 kHz.

Beacon keepers, who have already spend time and costs in setting up beacons in the first place, would have to buy crystals and retune transmitters to implement a beacon allocation far away from their present QRG. Many 6m beacons are operating from remote locations, which may be accessed only at considerable expenses. It has to be expected that this will lead to many beacons becoming inoperative ahead of a solar cycle peak.

Paradoxically, or perhaps intentionally, the question how to re-use the current beacon sub-band 50.0 - 50.08 MHz has not been addressed. The options for re-use are not many, as no HAM in Regions 2 or 3 respecting the bandplan of his own region would answer a CQ call heard in his own beacon sub-band. Whereas to DXers on the HF bands this seems self evident, the members of the VHF and microwave committee have apparently not considered this.

But it is not too late to apply sanity, and stop the proposed re-allocation of the 6m beacon  sub-band at the forthcoming Sun City meeting.

        back to the summit of the Säntis mountain