- 6-meter band
The 6-meter band is a portion of the VHF radio spectrum allocated to amateur radio use. Although located in the lower portion of the VHF band, it nonetheless occasionally displays propagation mechanisms characteristic of the HF bands. This normally occurs close to sunspot maximum, when solar activity increases ionization levels in the upper atmosphere. During the last sunspot peak of 2005, worldwide 6-meter propagation occurred making 6-meter communications as good as or in some instances and locations, better than HF frequencies. The prevalence of HF characteristics on this VHF band has inspired amateur operators to dub it the "magic band".
In the northern hemisphere, activity peaks from May through early August, when regular sporadic E propagation enables long-distance contacts spanning up to 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi) for single-hop propagation. Multiple-hop sporadic E propagation allows intercontinental communications at distances of up to 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi). In the southern hemisphere, sporadic E propagation is most common from November through early February.
- The Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union allow amateur radio operations in the frequency range from 50.000 to 54.000 MHz.
6-meter frequency allocations for amateur radio are not universal worldwide. In the United States and Canada, the band ranges from 50 MHz to 54 MHz. In some other countries, the band is restricted to military communications. Further, in some nations, the frequency range is used for television transmissions, although most countries have assigned those television channels to higher frequencies (see channel 1).
Although the International Telecommunication Union does not allocate 6-meter frequencies to amateurs in Europe, the decline of VHF television broadcasts and commercial pressure on the lower VHF spectrum has allowed most European countries to provide a 6-meter amateur allocation.
In the United Kingdom, it is legal to use the 6-meter band between frequencies 50 MHz to 52 MHz, with some limitations at some frequencies. In the UK, 50 MHz to 51 MHz is primary usage and the rest is secondary with power limitations. A detailed bandplan can be obtained from the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) website
Many organizations promote regular competitions in this frequency to promote its use and to familiarize operators to its quirks. For example RSGB VHF Contest Committee has a large number of contests on 6 meters every year.
Because of its peculiarity, there are a number of 6-meter band operator groups. These people monitor the status of the band between different paths and promote 6-meter band operations.
Over the past decade or so, the availability of transceivers that include the 6-meter band has increased greatly. Many commercial HF transceivers now include the 6-meter band, as do some handheld VHF/UHF transceivers. There are also a number of stand-alone 6-meter band transceivers, although commercial production of these has been relatively rare in recent years. Despite support in more available radios, however, the 6-meter band does not share the popularity of amateur radio's 2-meter band. This is due, in large part, to the larger size of 6-meter antennas, power limitations in some countries outside the United States, and the 6-meter band's greater susceptibility to local electrical interference.
As transceivers have become more available for the 6-meter band, it has quickly gained popularity. In many countries, including the United States, access is granted to entry-level license holders. Those without access to international HF frequencies often gain their first taste of true long-distance communications on the 6-meter band. Many of these operators develop a real affection for the challenge of the band, and often continue to devote much time to it, even when they gain access to the HF frequencies after upgrading their licenses.
- AM Simplex (direct, radio-to-radio communications)
- FM Simplex (direct, radio-to-radio communications)
- FM repeater operation
- Earth-Moon-Earth Bounce
- Sporadic E propagation
- Aurora Borealis Reflection
- WSJT Digital Modes
- Packet radio
- SSB voice operation
- Morse code (CW) operation
- Radio control
RC channels Ch Frequency 00 50.80 MHz 01 50.82 MHz 02 50.84 MHz 03 50.86 MHz 04 50.88 MHz 05 50.90 MHz 06 50.92 MHz 07 50.94 MHz 08 50.96 MHz 09 50.98 MHz
In North America, especially in the United States and Canada, the 6-meter band may be used by licensed amateurs for the safe operation of radio-controlled (RC) aircraft and other types of RC hobby miniatures. By general agreement among the amateur radio community, 200 kHz of the 6-meter band is reserved for the telecommand of models, by licensed amateurs using amateur frequencies. The sub-band reserved for this use is 50.79 MHz to 50.99 MHz. The upper end of the band, starting at 53.0 MHz, and going upwards in 100 kHz steps to 53.8 MHz, used to be similarly reserved for RC modelers, but with the rise of amateur repeater stations operating above 53 MHz in the United States, and very few 53 MHz RC units in Canada, the move to the lower end of the 6-meter spectrum for radio-controlled model flying activities by Hams was undertaken in North America, starting in the early 1980s, and more-or-less completed by 1991. It is still completely legal for ground-level RC model operation (cars, boats, etc.) to be accomplished on any frequency the band, above 50.1 MHz, for suitably licensed amateur operators in the United States; however, an indiscriminate choice of frequencies for RC operations is discouraged by the amateur radio community.
- ISBN 0-9705206-3-8 SIX METERS, A GUIDE TO THE MAGIC BAND (Worldradio Books) by Ken Neubeck WB2AMU (Fourth Edition released in October 2008)
- VE3EN's 6-Meter Multimedia Page
- DX-Sherlock's real-time 6m propagation maps
- DX-Sherlock's real-time VHF&up propagation ticker
- 6m News,Forums, Propagation Reports & More
Clubs and groups
- United Kingdom Six Metre Group
- 6-Meter Group World Wide
- Six Meter International Radio Klub - SMIRK
- Six Club
International amateur radio frequency allocations Range Band ITU Region 1 ITU Region 2 ITU Region 3 LF 2200 m 135.7 kHz - 137.8 kHz MF 160 m 1.810 MHz - 1.850 MHz 1.800 MHz - 2.000 MHz 1.800 MHz - 2.000 MHz HF 80 / 75 m 3.500 MHz - 3.800 MHz 3.500 MHz - 4.000 MHz 3.500 MHz - 3.900 MHz 60 m1 5.250 MHz - 5.450 MHz 40 m 7.000 MHz - 7.200 MHz 7.000 MHz - 7.300 MHz 7.000 MHz - 7.200 MHz 30 m2 10.100 MHz - 10.150 MHz 20 m 14.000 MHz - 14.350 MHz 17 m2 18.068 MHz - 18.168 MHz 15 m 21.000 MHz - 21.450 MHz 12 m2 24.890 MHz - 24.990 MHz 10 m 28.000 MHz - 29.700 MHz VHF 6 m 50.000 MHz - 52.000 MHz1 50.000 MHz - 54.000 MHz 50.000 MHz - 54.000 MHz 4 m1 70.000 MHz - 70.500 MHz 2 m 144.000 MHz - 146.000 MHz 144.000 MHz - 148.000 MHz 144.000 MHz - 148.000 MHz 1.25 m 220.000 MHz - 225.000 MHz UHF 70 cm 430.000 MHz - 440.000 MHz 420.000 MHz - 450.000 MHz3 420.000 MHz - 450.000 MHz3 33 cm 902.000 MHz - 928.000 MHz 23 cm 1.240 GHz - 1.300 GHz 13 cm 2.300 GHz - 2.450 GHz SHF 9 cm 3.400 GHz - 3.475 GHz3 3.300 GHz - 3.500 GHz 3.300 GHz - 3.500 GHz 5 cm 5.650 GHz - 5.850 GHz 5.650 GHz - 5.925 GHz 5.650 GHz - 5.850 GHz 3 cm 10.000 GHz - 10.500 GHz 1.2 cm 24.000 GHz - 24.250 GHz EHF 6 mm 47.000 GHz - 47.200 GHz 4 mm3 75.500 GHz1 - 81.500 GHz 76.000 GHz - 81.500 GHz 76.000 GHz - 81.500 GHz 2.5 mm 122.250 GHz - 123.000 GHz 2 mm 134.000 GHz - 141.000 GHz 1 mm 241.000 GHz - 250.000 GHz THF Sub-mm Some administrations have authorized spectrum for amateur use in this region.
1 This is not mentioned in the ITU's Table of Frequency Allocations, but it is a de facto international amateur radio allocation.
2 HF allocation created at the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference. These are commonly called the "WARC bands".
3 This includes a currently active footnote allocation mentioned in the ITU's Table of Frequency Allocations.
See also: Radio spectrum · Electromagnetic spectrum
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