Thursday, May 01, 2008

Get going on 4M before the commercial manufacturers kill it!

The four meter band (70Mhz) has been available to UK hams since 1956, about that time quite a few European countries also had 4M. Whilst Britain retained the band, most of the European countries lost their allocation to commercial services.

I found my Elmer G6HG through 4M. I lived a few doors away from Jim and his 4M signal used to cause chronic interference to our old VHF TV. We had a look in his shack (A real shack in the back yard!) he had a few filters to try… very soon I was hooked!

For years the best DX that could be worked out of G land was South Africa.

This lead to an interesting phenomenon, as up to then anyone wanting to get on the band had to make or modify their own equipment to get there. In the past this was quite an obstacle but plenty of us modified commercial AM kit or home brewed transceivers/transverters. Now there are a few kits available and one or two commercially produced products, but the economies of scale aren’t there so prices tend to be a bit higher. On the whole 4M is quite a different band and I think mainly because it feels like ham radio used to be 20 years ago. The emphasis isn’t so much on operating, but experimenting and construction as well. When you work someone there is always a story to be swapped ;o)

But the times they are a changing…

At the end of 2006 we have the following countries with allocations on 4M - Azores (CU), Crete (SV9), Croatia (9A), Cyprus (5B), Denmark (OZ), Dodecanese (SV5), Faroe Islands (OY), Gibraltar (ZB), Greece (SV), Greenland (OX), Ireland (EI), Luxembourg (LX), Madeira Is (CT3), Monaco (3A), Portugal (CT), Slovenia (S5), South Africa (ZS), UK Sovereign Base areas on Cyprus (ZC4) England (G), Isle of Man (GD), Northern Ireland (GI), Jersey (GJ), Scotland (GM), Guernsey (GU) and Wales (GW). Italian hams were given permission to use 4M during 2007 and I’m sure their allocation will be renewed.

More countries are being granted access to 4M every day. Depending on your viewpoint this has its good and bad points.

Its good to see more countries on 4M, but how long will it last before the big commercial manufacturers wake up to a “new market” and start pumping out 4M boxes and whatever .

Will 4M become like all the other bands where an “XYZ ur 599 XX91XX QRZ DX?” is the sum of 99% of QSOs. Maybe; but that’s progress?

If 6M is the magic band 4m is the constructors’ band!

If you are interested in the 4M band have a look at the 4M website at -

73 and see you soon on 4M the constructors' band?