The RSGB VHF Manager John Regnault G4SWX gave a key presentation to the RSGB Convention on October 12 about the new amateur radio allocation at 146 MHz.
John said the future use of this band is very much in our hands. If we merely use it for more-of-the-same (conventional modulation and uses) then future use will not be viewed very favourably.
He suggested we should use the band imaginatively, with digital modes and/or new services that would not sit easily within the existing band. Digital ATV with 500 kHz bandwidth, Digital Voice, Spread Spectrum, Data Services along with things not yet widely thought of are the type of activity that is desired.
Developers of wideband modes may face challenges in ensuring their emissions are contained within the new band. Some wideband modes currently used on 1240 MHz have sidebands just 30 dB down that extend over a wide range, this would not be acceptable on 146 MHz.
Bandwidth tailoring will be imperative to ensure no RF extends into the weak signal satellite segment at 145.8-146.0 MHz (the Lunar 4M JT65B beacon uses 145.980 MHz). Narrow band users on 147 MHz must also be protected from any increase in the noise floor.
John asked that those trying new things on the band should report the work they do even if the experiment is a failure. His contact email address is vhf.manager<at>rsgb.org.uk
It may even be that successful exploitation of the new band could lead to further release to amateurs of much needed VHF spectrum!
Download the 146 MHz PowerPoint Slides here
Download the 146 MHz PDF Slides here
The new allocation has both Geographical and ERP restrictions. The Ofcom statement on the allocation can be seen at http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/vhf-143-169mhz/statement/VHF_Release_statement.pdf
At the end of October Full licence holders will be able to obtain an NoV for 146 MHz operation from the RSGB online NoV page at http://rsgb.org/main/operating/licensing-novs-visitors/online-nov-application/