60 Meters

The 60 meter band or 5 MHz band is a relatively new ( 2002 ) amateur radio allocation and originally only available in a few countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Ireland and Iceland. However, in the last few years more countries' telecommunications administrations, together with their government and military users, have permitted Amateur Radio operation in the 5 MHz area on a short or longer term basis on either discrete channels or a frequency band allocation. Where two-way communication is authorized on 60m, it has generally been within the frequency range 5250 - 5450 kHz, but the whole of this range is not necessarily available and allocations vary significantly from country-to-country.

In most ( but not all ) countries, the allocation is channelized at present. Voice operation is generally in upper sideband mode to facilitate inter-communication with other, non-amateur, band users if necessary. In the United States it is mandatory.

Amateur equipment made in Japan and surrounding countries often did not support this allocation, since it is not currently available in those countries. However it is usually possible to modify commercial amateur equipment to work correctly on these frequencies within the terms of the individual's licensing conditions. More recently, commercial amateur radio equipment manufactured in Asia destined for the North American market has begun to include provision for 60m/5 MHz.

 Propagation characteristics

Lying approximately halfway between 80m ( 3.5 ) and 40m ( 7 MHz ), the 60 meter ( 5 MHz ) band forms a communication bridge when propagation effects make use of 80 or 40m impossible for local-to-medium distance communications - often needed in emergency communication scenarios where there is no existing normal communications infrastructure or it is devastated. Less affected by D-Layer absorption than 80m, the 60 meter ( 5 MHz ) band is an ideal candidate for NVIS - Near Vertical Incidence Skywave, the most commonly used technique capable of providing seamless local-to-medium distance HF communications

 Propagation beacons

A number of radio propagation beacons are active on 5 MHz, some of which produce a sequence of varying power levels.[2] Most of these transmit 24/7, but some personal beacons are activated as required. Online Ionograms produced by a local ionosonde are also useful for determining band state and the Critical Frequency (foF2) information needed for a reliable NVIS radio link.

In the United Kingdom currently three beacons transmit sequentially on the hour and each subsequent 15 minutes using CW. The 5290 kHz channel is utilized for the UK's beacon project. Call signs are, in transmission order - GB3RAL ( IO91in ) + 0 minutes, GB3WES ( IO84qn ) + 1 minute and GB3ORK ( IO89ja ) + 2 minutes from approximately southern, central and northern locations in the UK. Further details of the British beacon network can be found on the RSGB 5 MHz page.[1]. In addition, individual "title="WSPR (Amateur radio software)">WSPR beacon experiments using powers as low as 1 watt in the UK have led to reception reports from the USA and Middle East. Further research is likely in this area during the present sunspot cycle.

On the 5290 khz channel (5289.5 kHz / USB) is the Danish personal beacon OV1BCN, operated by OZ1FJB, particularly for NVIS observations. From Spring 2011 in operation h24 and is sequenced to transmit 2 minutes after the UK beacons, (hr+ 04/19/34/49 min.), transmitting a USB-announcement, followed by CW + MT63 identifications.

Czech beacon OK1IF ( JO40hg ) uses the 5260 kHz channel at 5258.6, although the current operational status of the beacon is unclear as it is not a dedicated beacon, but an experimental activity of the licensee, Milan, OK1IF and operates on a random basis.( Info: Petr, OK1RP )

The German Amateur Radio Club ( DARC ) operates a propagation research beacon, call sign DRA5 ( JO44vq ), on 5195 kHz, which transmits in CW (Morse code) plus various digital modulation systems. It is co-sited with the DK0WCY 30 and 80m beacons.

A Luxembourg beacon LX0HF had been established on 5205.25 kHz, under the aegis of the committee of the Luxembourg national amateur radio society - Réseau Luxembourgeois des Amateurs d'Ondes Courtes ( RL ). It is understood that the contact for the beacon is Philippe LX2A/LX7I. However, several reports indicate that it has not been heard for some time.

In addition to amateur radio beacons in the 5 MHz sector, some other non-amateur stations are used informally as propagation indicators. These include:

  • Standard Frequency & Time Stations
    • RWM ( Moscow ) on 4996 kHz
    • BPM (Xian), WWV (Colorado) & WWVH (Hawaii) on 5000 kHz
  • Shortwave Broadcasters
    • WWCR (Nashville, Tennessee) on 4840 kHz (AM)
    • AFRTS - American Forces Radio & TV System (Key West, Florida) on 5446.5 kHz (USB).
  • VOLMET - Aviation Weather Stations (all USB):
    • "R.A.F. VOLMET" on 5450 kHz
    • "South America VOLMET" on 5451 & 5475 kHz
    • "Africa VOLMET" on 5499 kHz
    • "Shannon VOLMET" (Republic of Ireland) on 5505 kHz

 United Kingdom

This 5 MHz frequency segment is in what is known as the '60 metre band' and is the subject of active research due to its propagation properties. In the UK, this research is colloquially known as the 'Five Megs Experiment' and commenced in August 2002. Access to the frequencies designated in the UK is via a 'Notice of Variation' ( NoV ) to a 'Full' Amateur Radio License issued by UK regulator Ofcom. There are a few additional restrictions ( e.g. mobile or maritime mobile operation is not currently permitted ) and power output is limited to 200 watts PEP. Instructions on amateur radio 60m operations in the UK are provided in the RSGB '5 MHz' web pages [3] and at the Ofcom web site.[4] The seven 3 kHz-wide 'channels' used for 60m in the UK are:

Centre 'Dial' Frequency ( USB )
5260 kHz 5258.5 kHz
5280 kHz 5278.5 kHz
5290 kHz 5288.5 kHz
5368 kHz 5366.5 kHz
5373 kHz 5371.5 kHz
5400 kHz 5398.5 kHz
5405 kHz 5403.5 kHz

The Summits on the Air ( SOTA ) program uses 5 MHz for a number of activations, with considerable activity from some operators.[5]

As well as Voice and CW, the band in the UK is also used for Digital Communications in modes such as PSK31, Olivia, MFSK, MT63, ionospheric distortion, particularly to the phase of the signal.

In the UK, 5 MHz is also used for the weekly RSGB ( Radio Society of Great Britain ) GB2RS news bulletin broadcast. The transmission takes place on 5403.5 kHz USB at 1230 hrs local time on Sundays. The results show that 5 MHz provides a reliable vehicle for a national news broadcast. After the news a net is carried out with signal reports in SINPO ( Strength, Interference, Noise, Propagation & Overall ) code exchanged. This data and that from other 5 MHz contacts is fed into the 5 MHz coordinator for analysis, preferably using the UK 5 MHz Logging program, written by Alan, G0TLK.[6][7]

This band is unique in the United Kingdom insofar as UK 5 MHz NoV holders may also communicate under controlled operating conditions on the seven channels with stations of UK Military Cadet Youth Organizations. Some of these station operators may be using military transceivers with 1 kHz step size synthesizers [ e.g. certain versions of the Clansman PRC320 series ] and thus will not be able to net accurately with amateur transmissions using USB. Amateur stations will need to employ their RIT to receive their transmissions - the amateur station will still need to remain within the 3 kHz channel. ( Source: RSGB 5 MHz Operating Procedure )

Originally, two-letter identifiers for each UK channel were used, as it was believed the Cadet stations were not permitted to mention frequencies over the air, however this has proved not to be the case and so they are no longer required on air. ( Source: RSGB 5 MHz Experiment FAQs - http://www.rsgb.org/spectrumforum/hf/faq.php#q5 )

The HF Team of RAYNET ( Radio Amateurs' Emergency Network - the UK's Amateur Radio Emergency Communications body ) includes 5 MHz in its regular series of HF Nets ( See RAYNET Link below )

The 5 MHz band has proved to support reliable intra-UK communication using low power and NVIS ( Near Vertical Incidence Skywave ) antennas under daylight conditions, but can be greatly affected by solar disturbances. The unique, channelized nature of the band, together with relatively light levels of activity and interference experienced, no doubt enhance this aspect.

United States

The 60 meter band became available to US radio amateurs in 2003. Only USB voice communications are authorized. Specifically, data communications are not allowed. The five 'channels' used for 60m in the USA are:

Center 'Dial' Frequency ( USB )
5332 kHz5330.5 kHz
5348 kHz5346.5 kHz
5368 kHz5366.5 kHz
5373 kHz5371.5 kHz
5405 kHz5403.5 kHz
60 m 5330 - 5406
USA 5330.5 5346.5 5366.5 5371.5 5403.5
General, Advanced, Extra
Note: US licensees operating 60m are limited to emissions of upper sideband suppressed carrier, 2.8 kHz bandwidth (2K80J3E), 50 watts PEP ERP relative to a 1/2 wave dipole, on the carrier frequencies indicated on this chart

Instructions on amateur radio operations on 60m in the USA are provided in the "60M - Frequently Asked Questions" document, prepared by the ARRL.

 Other countries

Global communication is possible during grey line and night time ionospheric conditions with reports of 70 plus countries having been worked from the UK alone.

In all, radio amateurs from approximately 90 countries have been active on 5 MHz at one time or another since the availability of the band to amateur radio.

Radio amateurs from many countries that do not have transmit access to 60m monitor the band and post their reports of stations heard on http://www.dxwatch.com/dxsd1/dxsd1.php?f=5 and several similar sites.

Bahraini General Class licensees ( all 'A9' prefixed stations ) are authorized to use two specific 3.0 kHz channel assignments with center frequencies 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz. The corresponding Upper Side Band (USB) carrier frequencies are 5371.5 kHz and 5403.5 kHz. These frequencies are assigned to the amateur service on a secondary non interference basis for propagation experiments. Such stations shall not cause harmful interference to stations of other administrations operating in accordance with the ITU Radio Regulations. The maximum mean power of any amateur station shall not exceed 27 dBW (500 Watts). ( Source: A92IO [ EI3IO ] June 2011 and Bahrain Amateur License Schedule ).

The Cayman Islands 60m authorizations became effective on March 29, 2010 and in common with other amateur licensing aspects on the Islands, follow the US 5 MHz allocation and conditions ( Source: ZF1EJ )

In the Czech Republic, reporting on the 5 MHz special license situation there, Petr, OK1RP, says that his current license is valid until the end of 2011. The 60m band in 'OK land' ( Czech Republic ) is limited to: 5258.5 - 5261.5 kHz ( i.e. a 3 kHz wide channel, centered on 5260 kHz ). Maximum Effective Radiated Power ( E.R.P. ) is 100W. The licenses are experimental and are only on a secondary basis with Czech Ministry of Defense permission. Only 2 locations can be used and these must be stated in the license document. Also, according to information from the Czech Telecommunication Institute, the number of the 60m band experimental licenses is limited ( no information on how many, but possibly 10-20 could be expected ). At the end of the year, a summary report on the results of the experiments must be sent to the Czech Telecommunication Institute. ( source: IARU Reg. I 60m Update [ see 'External Links' ] and OK1RP E-Mail )

In Finland, Club stations may apply for authorization to operate on seven 5 MHz channels with maximum power of 50 Watts on USB only. The USB dial frequencies for Finland are: 5288.6, 5298.6, 5330.6, 5346.6, 5366.6, 5371.6, 5398.6 kHz. ( Source: See IARU Region 1 60m Update )

The Greenland Telecommunications Authority permitted operation on seven 5 MHz channels. These are the same as the UK channels. SSB, CW and digital modes are allowed ( Source: OX3XR )

In Portugal, the telecommunications regulator, ANACOM, together with the military of that country, permits 5 Mhz operation on a secondary, non-interference basis on three channels 5288.5, 5371.5 and 5403.5 kHz, using CW and SSB for Propagation and Emergency Communication coverage tests. The frequency 5288.5 kHz was added in June 2011 at the same time as the special permit duration was extended to one year. Application is by individual request to ANACOM. Further news, logs and official reports of previous operational periods can be viewed on the '5 MHz - Cinco Megahertz' pages of REP, the Portuguese National Amateur Radio Society's website - http://www.rep.pt/ ( Source: CT1EEB, IARU Region 1 Website http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=784:60m-allocation-in-portugal&catid=53:spectrum )

Republic of Ireland stations received permission to operate experimentally on the band in 2008, the first license being issued on October 17.( source: IRTS News ) 3 kHz Center frequencies 5280, 5400 and 5405 kHz. Listen only is permitted on 5290 ( for UK beacons ). Communications with non-Amateur stations ( i.e. UK cadets ) is not permitted. ( Application form: http://www.comreg.ie/publications/radio_experimenter_licence__additional_authorisation_powers_or_frequencies.583.103148.p.html )

Amateurs in St. Lucia also received permission to operate on 5 MHz on a Secondary basis. The channels allocated are the same as those used by the USA, with 50W Max. ERP, SSB only.( source: St. Lucia National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, 'Technical Standards for Amateur Radio Service' document )

Counties with band allocations

In Bangladesh from 2005, the band 5250 - 5310 kHz was allocated nationally to the amateur service on a secondary basis for propagation experiments. Stations of the amateur service in Bangladesh shall not cause harmful interference to any station operating in accordance with the ITU Radio Regulations, which in this case will be of a governmental or commercial nature. All modes are permitted ( source: Bangladesh Telecomms Administration NFAP )

In July 2010, Croatian Amateurs were given special license access to 5 MHz on an individual, experimental basis. It permits operation from 5260 - 5410 kHz on all modes. Licences are valid for 1 year. ( Source:- 9A5K, OK1RP, Croatian Post & Electronic Communications Agency http://www.hakom.hr )

Stations in Denmark ( including The Faroe Islands ) used to use channels, but as from 1 Jan 2010 they have been granted the spectrum 5250 - 5450 kHz, with secondary status, 1KW erp, and all-mode. As of 2011, Danish amateur stations of a lower license level are also allowed under this permission but with lower power. Each station has to apply for the special research license for a year at a time. As of February 2011 more than 105 stations have been registered. ( Source: the Danish ITST )

The Grenada communications regulator - the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission ( NTRC ) permits 60m operation from 5250 - 5450 kHz. Their General licensees are permitted up to 500W p.e.p. and Advanced licensees 1 kW p.e.p. Modes include SSB and CW. ( Source: NTRC )

Icelandic amateur stations were given from December 13, 2010, permission for continued access to 5 MHz and were granted 150 kHz in the 5260 - 5410 kHz band, as a replacement for the eight fixed channels previously permitted. Maximum power allowed on 5 MHz is 100W ( 20 dBW ).

In Norway, initially eight channels in the 60m band were available for Emergency and Emergency Preparedness use. However, on November 6, 2009, the band 5260 - 5410 kHz was opened for general Amateur Radio use. The allocation is secondary and power is limited to 100 watts. The band was one of the HF bands used in June 2011 during a communications emergency https://www.nrrl.no/component/content/article/1-latest-news/258--nrrl-nodsamband-aktivert

In Slovakia, radio amateurs had previously been permitted experimental access to a single channel centred on 5260 kHz. In August 2011, the allocation was expanded to a band from 5258.5 kHz to 5410 kHz for experimental purposes on a non-interference basis by their Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. This is a result of negotiations with the Slovakia Amateur Radio Association and their ARES. Maximum power permitted is 100W ERP. Licenses are valid for 1 year.

Somalia - the Somalian Ministry of Information, Telecommunications & Culture permits non-channelized 5 MHz/60 Meter operation. Upper Sideband [USB] must be used and the allocation is from 5060 - 5450 kHz. All modes are allowed and the maximum power permitted is 3 kW on a non-interference basis.

Trinidad & Tobago has the band 5250 - 5450 kHz allocated on a secondary basis to the Amateur service. Maximum output power is 1.5 kW ( source 9Y4NED )

 Occasional permissions

Whilst most of the 60 meter operations listed in this article are either on a permanent secondary or experimental period basis, there are occasions when access is granted either on a one-off very limited time frame or for specific dates and times.

Probably the most well-known of these is 5 MHz operation from Canada authorized by regulator Industry Canada, when the Marconi Radio Club is permitted operation at various specific pre-announced times. Frequencies used have included 5260, 5269, 5280, 5290, 5319, 5400 and 5405 kHz, CW and SSB, 100W maximum power.

Other authorized 5 MHz operations have been reported such as Ascension Island, Belize, Bulgaria, Colombia, Ghana, Honduras, Kenya, Kiribati, Russia and Turkey ( see HFLink below ). Some Amateur Radio DXpeditions have been permitted access to 5 MHz, although the ARRL ( American Radio Relay League ) has expressed concern that over-emphasis on 'DX' activities could be counter-productive to the eventual obtaining of an ITU Amateur allocation at 5 MHz http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2007-04-06

Emergencies only

In certain countries, Amateur access to frequencies in 5 MHz is on an emergency or search & rescue basis only. In addition, Amateur call signs may not always be used, nor Amateur equipment. Currently these countries are :-
Australia : WICEN ( Wireless Institute of Australia Civil Emergency Network ) stations are allocated the frequencies 5102.0 and 5355.0 kHz for emergencies. Non-amateur call signs [ e.g. AXF404 & AXF405 ] are used together with ACMA (Australian Communications & Media Authority) type approved radio equipment such as the commercial HF SSB transceivers [ e.g. Codan or Barrett ] normally used for Outback communications in the VKS737 Australian HF network - which serves remote travelers.
New Zealand : The two frequencies 5320 and 5395 kHz USB, 2K8 bandwidth, are available only for AREC ( the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications section of the NZ National Amateur Radio Society NZARTS ) operations. The special AREC Callsigns must be used. ( source: NZARTS website http://www.nzart.org.nz/council/policies/2009-access-to-5-mhz/ )
USA - State of Alaska : In addition to previously mentioned USA 60m Amateur channels, the frequency 5167.5 kHz USB is available for emergency communications within the state of Alaska and it may be used "for tests and training drills necessary to ensure the establishment, operation, and maintenance of emergency communication systems."[13]
Frequency lists


Frequency CountryCallGrid-square Notes
5195.0 kHzGermanyDRA5JO44vqPropagation research beacon
5205.25 kHzLuxembourgLX0HFStatus Unknown
5258.6 kHzCzech RepublicOK1IFJO40hgExperimental
5290.0 kHzDenmarkOV1BCNJO55siPersonal Beacon, h24 +04/19/34/49 min. USB/CW/MT63 (5289.5 KHz.)
5290.0 kHzUnited KingdomGB3RALIO91inTransmits sequentially on the hour + 0 minutes
5290.0 kHzUnited KingdomGB3WESIO84qnTransmits sequentially on the hour + 1 minute
5290.0 kHzUnited KingdomGB3ORKIO89jaTransmits sequentially on the hour + 2 minutes

Band allocations

Frequency BandCountryNotes
5250 - 5310 kHzBangladeshSecondary, All Modes, NIB, General
5260 - 5410 kHzCroatiaAll Modes, Individual Application, Licence valid 1 yr.
5250 - 5450 kHzDenmark (inc. Faroes)Secondary, All Modes, Licence 1yr., 1 kW erp Full / 500W Lower Class
5250 - 5450 kHzGrenadaSSB & CW, 1 kW pep Advanced / 500W General Class
5260 - 5410 kHzIceland100W
5260 - 5410 kHzNorwaySecondary, 100W
5258.5 - 5410 kHzSlovakia100W erp, Licence valid 1 yr., NIB
5060 - 5450 kHzSomaliaAll Modes, USB must be used, 3 kW, NIB
5250 - 5450 kHzTrinidad & TobagoSecondary, 1.5 kW

NIB = Non-Interference Basis

 Channel allocations<

5102.0 kHzAustraliaFor WICEN emergency use only. Non-Amateur Callsigns & Equipment.
5355.0 kHzAustraliaFor WICEN emergency use only. Non-Amateur Callsigns & Equipment.
5371.5 kHzBahrain.
5403.5 kHzBahrain.
5330.5 kHzCayman Islands.
5346.5 kHzCayman Islands.
5366.5 kHzCayman Islands.
5371.5 kHzCayman Islands.
5403.5 kHzCayman Islands.
5258.5 kHzCzech Republic.
5288.6 kHzFinland.
5298.6 kHzFinland.
5330.6 kHzFinland.
5346.6 kHzFinland.
5366.6 kHzFinland.
5371.6 kHzFinland.
5398.6 kHzFinland.
5258.5 kHzGreenland.
5278.5 kHzGreenland.
5288.5 kHzGreenland.
5366.5 kHzGreenland.
5371.5 kHzGreenland.
5398.5 kHzGreenland.
5403.5 kHzGreenland.
5278.5 kHzRepublic of Ireland.
5288.5 kHzRepublic of IrelandReceive Only (for UK Beacons)
5398.5 kHzRepublic of Ireland.
5403.5 kHzRepublic of Ireland.
5320.0 kHzNew ZealandFor emergency use only.
5395.0 kHzNew ZealandFor emergency use only.
5288.5 kHzPortugal.
5371.5 kHzPortugal.
5403.5 kHzPortugal.
5258.5 kHzSlovakia.
5330.5 kHzSt. Lucia.
5346.5 kHzSt. Lucia.
5366.5 kHzSt. Lucia.
5371.5 kHzSt. Lucia.
5403.5 kHzSt. Lucia.
5258.5 kHzUnited Kingdom.
5278.5 kHzUnited Kingdom.
5288.5 kHzUnited Kingdom.
5366.5 kHzUnited Kingdom.
5371.5 kHzUnited Kingdom.
5398.5 kHzUnited Kingdom
5403.5 kHzUnited Kingdom.
5167.5 kHzUnited StatesFor emergency, test and training drill use and only available in Alaska.
5330.5 kHzUnited States.
5346.5 kHzUnited States.
5366.5 kHzUnited States.
5371.5 kHzUnited States.
5403.5 kHzUnited States.

GW1NGL NA7KR Kevin Roberts Ham Radio

Page last updated on 09/10/2012 by Kevin Roberts NA7KR a colection of Ham Radio and Electronic Information