Segments of frequencies at 5MHz are allocated on a secondary basis to holders of a UK Full Amateur Licence. The maximum permitted output power on 5MHz is 100 Watts from the transmitter and 200 Watts eirp from the antenna. Mobile operation is not allowed.
UK 5MHz Frequencies
The UK 5MHz frequency allocation is shown below. Allocations in other countries vary and there is no IARU band plan for 5MHz, but operation in the UK largely follows the conventions shown in the table. Exceptions to this may occur on certain spot frequencies and QSOs can be found using any mode. Take care not to transmit outside the UK allocation even if amateur signals can be heard as they may be coming from other countries with different allocations.
At WRC-15 in November 2015, the amateur service achieved a new 15kHz secondary allocation between 5351.5 – 5366.5kHz. This is not yet in effect and UK stations must adhere to the current allocations set out in the licence schedule, as shown below.
|Lower limit kHz||Upper limit kHz||Guidelines on current usage|
|5258.5||5264.0||CW activity, 5262kHz QRP. 5258.5kHz international use|
|5276.0||5284.0||5278.5kHz international use. EMCOMM Centre of Activity|
|5288.5||5292.0||Beacons 5290kHz. WSPR|
|5298.0||5307.0||All modes. USB 5298.5kHz, 5301kHz, 5304kHz|
|5313.0||5323.0||All modes. AM 5317kHz. USB 5320kHz|
|5362.0||5374.5||Data modes. USB 5363kHz, 5371.5kHz international use|
|5395.0||5401.5||USB 5395kHz and 5398.5kHz|
|5403.5||5406.5||USB 5403.5kHz international use|
Please ensure out-of-band operation does not occur when choosing a USB frequency. Selecting a USB frequency shown in the table above will ensure compliance and is largely compatible with allocations in other countries also. See notes 2. & 4. below.
Notes on the frequency table:
1. Upper sideband should be used for SSB operation at 5MHz to preserve compatibility with other services.
2. It is important to ensure that the transmitted spectrum lies completely within the allocated frequencies. The transmitted spectrum of an upper sideband signal extends from the dial frequency on the radio, or suppressed carrier frequency, to 3kHz above the indicated frequency. Remember to set the frequency at least 3kHz below the top of the band segment. As an example in the diagram below, the narrow segment of 5378-5382kHz is only wide enough for one SSB signal which should be no higher than 5379kHz for the signal to remain within the allocation:
Another example is the use of some digital modes on 5357kHz. If the radio is set to 5357.0kHz, any transmission greater than 1000Hz (1kHz) on the waterfall will be above 5358.0kHz and therefore out of band. This will occur with JT65 and JT9 modes if the default frequency is left at 5357kHz, so be very aware of where the transmitted signal lies.
3. AM operation is permitted provided the maximum bandwidth does not exceed 6kHz. AM activity can often be found at 5317kHz.
4. Activity from stations outside the UK can be found on 5MHz, with many different allocations including countries that are limited to a few spot frequencies. The more common frequencies are indicated in the table where noted for international use. Operators should be considerate when selecting a frequency for intra-UK operation that their chosen frequency does not prevent operation on a known international spot frequency. For example, selecting a USB frequency 0.5 or 1kHz above or below the indicated frequency for international use will unnecessarily prevent a QSO on the international frequency, and while the UK stations can QSY, the international stations may not have that ability. A good rule of thumb is to use the common frequencies of 5278.5kHz, 5371.5kHz, 5398.5kHz, and 5403.5KHz, or keep them clear for others to use. Also try to avoid frequencies which may cause interference to spot allocations outside the UK. For example, use 5335kHz and 5354kHz so as not to interfere with 5330.5kHz and 5357kHz, which are allocated to many countries but cannot be used in the UK.
5. Note that the segment from 5403.5 – 5406.5kHz is only 3kHz wide, therefore it should be considered as a single channel. For USB operation, the radio should be set to exactly 5403.5kHz as any other frequency would result in the transmitted spectrum being out-of-band. This popular frequency is also shared by many countries, so it will frequently be very busy.
6. Experimental beacons operate around 5290kHz. With the exception of WSPR from 5288.5 – 5289.0kHz, it would be helpful if operators do not transmit in this narrow segment.
7. Please do not transmit USB on 5330.5, 5357, 5380.5kHz. These frequencies are commonly used in other countries but are outside the UK allocation. See also note 2. regarding JT65 and JT9 on 5357kHz and ensure the transmitted signals remain below 5358kHz.
8. As with the WARC bands at 10, 18, and 24MHz, there should be no contest activity on 5MHz.
Communications with Military Cadet Stations
Communication with UK military cadet stations is permitted. These stations will identify with callsigns of a different format to amateur calls and they use a concise operating procedure. They are unlikely to give operator names or locations but will often exchange information on equipment and aerials. Whilst military stations may be heard on any frequency around 5MHz, amateur stations must never attempt to contact military stations outside the frequency allocations above.
The 5MHz Newsletter
Paul G4MWO produces a regular newsletter on 5MHz activity and operation around the world, which also gives useful information about the current status of 5MHz. It can be downloaded or read as a pdf file in a new tab here.
RSGB 5MHz Experiment
Since gaining permission in 2002 to experiment on 5MHz, the Society has provided a basic propagation experiment in which all UK amateurs can participate. The experiment is fundamentally looking at propagation within the UK through two sets of records. One uses the logs of contacts between UK stations, the other uses data recorded of the reception reports of the three beacons within the UK 5MHz beacon chain. The data collected from the experiment is still growing and can be downloaded from the 5MHz Database website.