RAC Bulletin 2012-021E – Update on 60 Metres*

RAC has been pursuing channelized access to 60M since early 2010. Our request was for an allocation identical to the US allocation, with one additional unique Canadian channel, and with fewer restrictions (the US allocations were restricted to USB voice only, with power and antenna restrictions). Amateurs will recall that one of the rationales for RAC requesting a 60M allocation was to enhance emergency communications including cross-border interoperability. IC responded by indicating that they were prepared to support access in synch with US amateur allocation and regulations. In late 2011, in response to an ARRL petition for change, the FCC issued a final Report and Order that, once it has been published in the Federal Register, will result in a change to the frequency of one of the channels and will enable the use of CW and data modes in addition to USB voice. These features had already been in the original RAC request. The FCC Report and Order has cleared the way for Canada to move ahead with finalizing its allocation to match the new US allocations, including the ability to use CW and data modes. This allocation, which will be on a secondary basis, requires a public consultation through the Canada Gazette, which RAC anticipates will occur in the second quarter of 2012.

It is important that Canadian Amateurs comment on the draft once released. RAC will continue to keep our members aware of the status of this important initiative.

An important offer has been made by IC with regards to 60M. Industry Canada is prepared to licence operators in channelized 60M operation pending the results of the consultation process. The licencing process will be managed out of ICs regional offices and is open to any Canadian amateur. The process requires a formal licence application, payment of a licence fee, and the use of a special call sign instead of the licensee’s amateur call sign. RAC regards this as an important interim step allowing amateurs to get on the air in the 60M band as soon as possible and thanks IC for this initiative. RAC`s objective, however, is to ensure that Canadian amateurs have the 60M allocation available to all amateurs as part of their amateur radio certification, i.e. without licence applications, licence fees or special call signs. RAC is cautiously optimistic that this will come about in the summer of 2012.

If you wish to obtain a temporary, paid license to operate on 60M, please contact your local Industry Canada Regional Office to complete the application form.The total fee depends upon the date of your application but in any case is less than $100.

Bill Gade, VE4WO
Regulatory Affairs Officer – Radio Amateurs of Canada