60 Meter Band Proposal
Those of you who have heard me speak about the threats facing Amateur Radio know that my greatest concerns facing our League are loss of spectrum, loss of antenna rights, and ever increasing RFI. Of these, the most urgent is the threat to our current 60 meter privileges.
Why should you care? Whether or not you are active on 60 meters, the proposed 10 dB reduction in power from 100 watts to 9.5 watts is the most sweeping reduction of HF privileges in decades. This erosion of our rights is a slippery slope which will embolden the FCC to remove or modify more HF privileges.
Atlantic Division Vice Director Marty Pittenger, KB3MXM, and I strongly encourage you to assist League members and the entire U.S. Amateur Radio community by making your voice heard on the importance of protecting our 60 meter privileges. Submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) before October 30th. Some of you have already filed well-reasoned, persuasive comments, which bear reading at the FCC web site.
If you are not familiar with the FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) and its impact on our 60 meter privileges please keep reading the deep dive below or visit our website at
This site has further information with easy instructions and links on how to file comments with the FCC.
60 Meter Deep Dive
Like many of you, I have enjoyed operating 60 meters and have participated under the occasional inter-service authority to test interoperability between radio amateurs, FEMA SHARES and Military reserve units on the authorized channels.
Even if you are not currently active on 60 meters, the proposed 10 dB reduction in power from 100 watts to an equivalent of less than 10 watts is the most sweeping reduction of HF privileges in decades. If Amateur Radio opposition to this proposed change is weak, and the FCC goes through with the change, that lackluster response from the Amateur Radio community will embolden the FCC to remove or modify more HF privileges.There are other radio services that covet our HF radio spectrum. We need to protect them.
The FCC has issued NPRM Docket Number 23-120 which would reduce our power limit on 60 meters from 100 watts ERP (Effective Radiated Power) to the equivalent of 9.5 watts ERP. The NPRM would REPLACE the current five channels (currently each with a 100-watt power limit) with a 15 KHz continuous spectrum from 5351.5 to 5366.5 KHz, but limiting power to the equivalent of 9.5 watts ERP. That is a substantial decrease. Our League is proposing to keep the current five channels AND add the docket’ proposed 15 KHz of continuous spectrum, all at a power level of 10 watts ERP.
I have heard from reliable sources that certain agency detractors have labeled ham radio operators as undisciplined on the 60 meter band and even causing interference by running at very high power. They argue that their actions threaten other government users that need that spectrum for operations and emergencies. I have never witnessed this problem, but it is hard to argue against innuendo. Even if true, which I doubt, it must be a tiny minority of operators. Retaining useful privileges on 60 meters is really a valuable goal. So, let’s argue the positive aspects of our presence.
If you are an emergency communications enthusiast, present your credentials and cite real examples of the value of 60 meters for such operations. FCC still sees such amateur operations as the highest calling of Amateur Radio. Even if you view amateur radio as strictly a hobby, separate from emergency communications, that may be an insufficient argument to persuade the FCC that we should retain our privileges.
It’s important to note that in 2022, Canada enacted our League’s position by keeping the five current channels AND adding the expanded 15 KHz of continuous spectrum, all at 100 watts. ARRL is advocating for the FCC to adopt the identical allocations and power limits which Canada put in place over a year ago. It might be an uphill battle for us, but your comments will help. Let’s try to hold the line.
When the FCC authorized 60 meter access for Amateur Radio operators in July 2003, the Commission cited the positive propagation attributes for emergency communications. Believe me, this is the correct argument that still holds today. Over the past twenty years, in the midst of multiple hurricanes, Caribbean Amateur Radio stations used 60 meters to relay critical weather and situational reports to U.S. operators. Clearly, 9.5 watts ERP would be woefully inadequate to maintain communications for these purposes.
Having a consistent band plan with Canada will also ensure harmonious communications throughout most of North America. Remember, the FCC does not make decisions on rule making by counting the comments for or against a change on a weighted scale. Rather, personally drafted comments, short or long, are more useful than just a quick cut and paste. But any comments in favor are better than none at all. Please help and get your ham friends and clubs to act NOW. We only have a few more days. Make this your weekend project.
Together, we are The National Association for Amateur Radio. PLEASE support our League’s filing in this matter. To learn more about the NPRM and its impact on our 60-meter privileges, please visit your ARRL website at: https://www.arrl.org/60-meter-band. On this site you will find links to file comments with the FCC. Please don’t delay. A substantial response from the ham community before the October 30 deadline is the only way to forestall the loss of our valued operating privileges. Protection of our Amateur Radio spectrum is our number one priority.
Keep the faith and please file a comment either by Express filing or Standard filing by document upload - PDF recommended. Read the filings uploaded far to get the drift. 73, and I will see you on the Radio. Let’s try to make sure that can also be on 60 meters in the future.
Bob Famiglio, K3RF
ARRL Atlantic Division Director