QRZ Logbook

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Ham Radio 2-Meter Band Threats Popping Up

A recent proposal at a recent CEPT conference may pose a threat to the popular 2-meter band in Amateur Radio.

In June, France presented a proposal to make part of the band (144-146 MHz) part of the Aeronautical Mobile Service with Primary allocation. French defense contractor Thales is requesting that they have primary use of the bands, with amateur radio having secondary use.

Even though the proposal will not appear until the World Radiocommunications Conference in 2023, already Amateur Radio organizations in neighboring places like the UK and Portugal are voicing strong objections with it. While it's going to be an uphill battle for any entity to try and overtake the allocation of the amateur radio bands in any country, the fact that it is being proposed and considered is a sobering reminder that hobbyists' contributions to the world of communications are still secondary to everything else occupying the spectrum. No matter how useful ham radio is in regards to community service, weather spotting, experimentation, scientific studies, etc., we are given the access to the ham bands at the mercy of governing bodies such as the the ITU, and if an agency with a need, and money, wants to come in and try to overtake the bands, they will certainly try.

While I'm not screaming that the sky is falling, I am saying that we need to continue to show that we need our amateur radio bands around the world. 2 meters is arguably the most popular band in VHF, if not the most popular overall, offering new hams a chance to break in and get their feet wet with ham radio. Amateur radio repeaters are all across the band, so that you can talk on an HT from your car, or on a hiking trail, or on the side of the road, and reach somebody in another city or county whether it be for emergencies or just to pass the time talking with a friend or a complete stranger.

I've touted the benefits of SKYWARN and emergency services such as ARES, but other services benefit from 2 meters. Clubs will coordinate with community organizations to provide communications for events like triathlons, road cycling tours, and other public events. Nets are held on many 2 meter repeaters (and simplex) for a variety of clubs and topics. There's also other modes of communication used as well, such as APRS. 2m is a good place to test out new modes of communication and on occasion talk to the International Space Station!

In short, 2 meters is not something I see being given away anytime soon, but as long as businesses and governments are thinking that ham radio is "old tech" and "ancient" the best way to show them that it is far from the case will be to use these bands and use them constantly, consistently, and with the best intentions that ham radio has to offer.