SPECIAL BULLETIN- 5-MHz Interoperability Channels Designated for Wildfires and Hurricane Sally Response

The ARRL has put out the following bulletin this morning regarding
possible emergency traffic on the 60 meter band, Channels 1 and 2. While
they are specifically asking that amateurs “should yield to operational
traffic”, it probably would be prudent to refrain from using these
particular channels until these emergency events are over. The ARRL is
also in the process of asking the FCC to for a waiver to allow higher
baud rate PACTOR 4 EmComm transmissions during these events also. I’ll
send out another special bulletin when that is approved.

Here’s the bulletin:

September 16, 2020

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that two
60-meter channels have been made available, as necessary, for
interoperability between US Government stations and US amateur radio
stations involved in emergency communications related to the wildland
firefighting response in California, Oregon, and Washington, and to
Hurricane Sally. These interoperability channels will remain active
until the need for these channels no longer exists:

  • Channel 1 – primary voice traffic 5332 kHz channel center, 5330.5
    kHz USB voice.
  • Channel 2 – digital traffic 5348 kHz channel center, 5346.5 kHz
    USB with 1.5-kHz offset to center of digital waveform.

Frequencies may be modified or added to by FEMA Region 10 for their area
or operations due to existing 5-MHz/60-meter interoperability plans for
their region.

Amateur radio is secondary on the 5-MHz band and should yield to
operational traffic related to wildland firefighting and hurricane
response. Although the intended use for these channels is
interoperability between federal government stations and licensed US
amateur radio stations, federal government stations are primary
users and amateurs are secondary users.

The Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS –
https://netcom.army.mil/mars/ ) is following FEMA’s lead on the
interoperability channel designations for the wildfire and hurricane
response. Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, says he has
alerted all MARS members of the FEMA channel designations and
MARS members are prepared to support response efforts as needed.”

73, and stay safe


ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO

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