Can AM mode be used on the ham bands (Region 1)?

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by SV3ORA, Mar 7, 2021.

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  1. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The German HF bandwidth limitation has nothing with the IARU band-plan to do, but is a regulation in its own right.

    Interested readers may look up the

    "Verordnung zum Gesetz ├╝ber den Amateurfunk (Amateurfunkverordnung - AFuV)"

    where the following table is found:


    Note (3) deals with a general bandwidth restriction of 2700 Hz.

    Nowhere in this legal document are the IARU or the band-plans mentioned.

    I am however quite convinced that the spectrum bureaucrats see the AM question on the amateur bands to be something that eventually will solve itself due to the age profile.

  2. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Karl-Arne, the screen grab you have posted is incomplete. I'll find the detailed regulation.
  3. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting to read the German 160m power restrictions . . . 750W PEP below 1850kHz, 75W between 1850 and 1890 kHz, and 10W on the rest of the band.

    Here in Britain it's 400W below 1850 kHz, and 26W on the rest of the band.

    Roger G3YRO
  4. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    That's been the thinking for the past 50 years, but so far, not the reality. I remember one of the staff at the FCC's rulemaking division around 1974 at an ARRL convention in Boston, expressing surprise that "some guys even (still) want to operate AM".

    Around 1970, AM activity was at a nadir worldwide. You had to listen hard to find any AM activity on any of the bands, and it was considered dead by a large segment of the amateur community. But from then on, AM activity began picking back up. At first the new AMers were largely a group of young guys in their late teens and early 20s, mostly in Northeast US. Then AM began to catch on across the country, and activity began to attract attention in Europe. Around 1973-74 the FCC tried to outlaw AM under Docket 20777 (see attachment elsewhere in this forum). This triggered one of the greatest letter-writing campaigns ever, in those pre-internet days, which further attracted attention to amateur AM. 20777 was ultimately rejected due to a barrage of comments in opposition, submitted to the FCC. The chief of the amateur rulemaking division reportedly stood up at a ham get-together and publicly pissed and moaned after the docket was finally dismissed: "Now, we had a good proposal, but it was rejected because a segment of the ham population want to keep on using the same transmitters they've had for 25 years."

    Manufacturers began once more including some sort of AM capability in their products. AM has now been "coming back" for many more years than it was ever supposed to have been "dead" in the first place, in fact considering the gaps in activity due to the two world wars, AM has been increasing in popularity for as many years as it was ever in use by amateurs up to 1970.

    Those young guys of the early 1970s are now close to or past retirement age. They were amongst the last great wave of youthful newcomers to amateur radio; there have not been another wave of newcomers and the rate has slowed to trickle since then. Young hams, including younger AMers are now a sparse lot, but there are a few around. As the last great wave of amateur newcomers age out (die off), there will be a dearth of operators of any mode unless something changes drastically to instil renewed interest, and at the moment that seems unlikely, particularly in the sense of amateur radio as we know it.
  5. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's a bit like the interest in Vinyl Records . . . and it's often youngsters that are buying them too !

    Roger G3YRO
  6. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    As amateur radio demographics is an area of interest,
    I managed to find some data about the demographics of active AM:ers in the Nordic countries.



    AM:ers are somewhat older than the general amateur radio population, the median age is about 68, as compared to 65.

    An interesting note is that almost 90% operate AM with "plastic radios", and the "Big Iron" category is very small.

    The age distribution is remarkably similar to VHF:ers, as there is no recruitment of "youngsters" neither.

    It is no surprise that current spectrum bureaucrats see amateur radio as "a problem that will solve itself in due time..."


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
    K4KYV and G0GSR like this.
  7. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    I'm curious where you found those statistics. I suspect the Nordic countries are a very small sample, and those graphs may not be typical world-wide.

    There are a couple of AM operators I have been working this past season on 75 and 160, one in Canada and the other in the US, who are in their 20s.

    Timtron and QIX Steve are representative of the last "great wave" of newly licensed hams from back in the late 60s and early 70s. The population becomes increasingly sparse as you go back younger than that, and I mean the amateur community as a whole, not just the AMers.

    I'm afraid it's trending in that direction here, too.
  8. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I compiled the statistics from published AM and VHF activity reports during the last year, and as the callsign database and the National Census can be linked if you write a piece of scripting software, it only takes the time to collate the activity reports.

    Age distributions in amateur radio are remarkably similar between countries, at least for Central and Northern Europe.

    To my knowledge, only the German regulator regularly publishes official amateur radio age statistics, so they have to be deduced from club or society statistics for other countries.

    A general trend is that organised amateur radio is somewhat older, usually 3-4 years, than the general amateur population.

    Of course the statistics are different between regions of the world. Countries with a generally younger population tend to have younger radio amateurs.

    In the Nordic countries, the last influx of "youngsters" was in the mid/late 1980s. They are now in their mid-50s, and they mostly were CB:ers that did not contribute anything to amateur radio.

    The drop in new amateurs closely coincides with the "cellphone revolution", the abolishment of Morse in the Armed Forces and with the increasing disinterest in amateur radio from the regulators.

    There is a saying in German; "Letzte Mann macht das Licht aus" which is quite appropriate in this context.

  9. MM0LQF

    MM0LQF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The band plan is generally a gentleman's agreement, not law. Consult the licence for your specific country to see if there are any actual legal restrictions (some countries may choose to enforce the band plan as if it were law, but that is down to them)

    Here in the UK it's the bit called the "Licence Schedule" in your licence document from Ofcom that contains the relevant information that you must abide by, in terms of power limits, band edges, geographical restrictions, etc....

    In general, here in the UK you can use AM anywhere in the ham bands. The only restriction is 5MHz, where note (g)(i) says it must not exceed 6kHz when operating DSB.
  10. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would say that this is extremely unlikely.

    Having no clear picture about how the "ambition levels" are in other countries with respect to amateur radio enforcement, it is hard to speak in general terms, but the chances that the regulator spectrum monitors would listen to the amateur bands and measure occupied bandwidths with the aim of writing citations are - remote.


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