Sunday, 10 August 2014

Special 630m Activity Night This Fall

Towards the end of July I noticed the following announcement in the ARRL's regular Friday news announcements:

"Special Event Planned this Fall on 630 Meters

Experimental operators on 600/630 meters will conduct a special event operation October 31-November 2. The Maritime Radio Historical Society (MRHS), which maintains the KPH/KSM commercial coast stations, will take part in the event.

“This event marks the 106th anniversary of the Berlin Treaty that created the international distress frequency at 500 kHz,” said ARRL 600 Meter Experimental Group Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR. “This will be a CW event.”

Raab said some stations will operate beacons on the experimental band, transmitting anniversary messages, while others will simulate the sort of maritime communication that once occurred in this part of the medium-wave spectrum. They will call CQ on a designated calling frequency and then change frequency to complete the contact. Silent periods will be observed.

The activity will occur between 465 and 480 kHz and between 495 and 510 kHz. “Different licensees have different frequency authorizations,” Raab noted. “The designated calling frequencies are 475 kHz for the lower band, and 500 kHz for the upper band.”

Raab noted that this may be the last such event that includes operations on 500 kHz itself. “This band is not being included on new experimental licenses, as it is supposedly reserved for a new maritime-data service,” he explained. He said he anticipates that more information will be released as the event draws closer. "

Not seeing any mention for Canadian activities in the event, I contacted the organizer and ARRL 600m Experimental Group Coordinator, Fritz Raab (W1FR). I asked Fritz if it would be possible for the three active Canadian 630m stations (VE7BDQ, VO1NA and myself) to 'officially' become part of the planned activities. I suggested to Fritz that the three of us could offer the chance for amateurs in both Canada and the U.S. to actively communicate with some of the 630m Canadian stations by working in the 'crossband' mode. Each of the three stations would have their own assigned transmit frequency and, following CQ's, would listen on specified HF frequencies for any answering stations. Fritz was delighted to add us to the program and the next '630 m Activity Night' announcement will include all of the details including exact frequencies.

Joe - VO1NA

 VO1NA will be transmitting from Torbay, Newfoundland and should be very well heard throughout eastern North America. Joe will be listening for replies on both 80 and 40m CW.

John - VE7BDQ working 2200m - 160m crossband at VA7LF

VE7BDQ will be transmitting from Delta, B.C., south of Vancouver. John will be listening for callers on 80m CW only. Being a retired Canadian Coast Guard RO, John has many years of experience manning the 500kHz watch when 600m maritime activity was in its prime.

VE7SL will be transmitting from Mayne Island B.C., midway between Vancouver and Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Like Joe, I plan to listen for callers on both 80 and 40m CW.

VE7SL - 2200m / 630m TX

All three Canadian stations are able to muster the maximum allowed eirp for 630m and with the improved propagation of late October, the opportunity for some interesting crossband contacts should be realized on both ends of the continent.

There will be more details well before the event but hopefully you can become part of the fun by giving some of the crossbanders a call on their HF 'QSX' frequencies....and if you know of anyone that might like to participate, please let them know about the upcoming event as, like so many on-the-air activities, the more the merrier!

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