Alternate Spectrum for Broadcasting: 25670~26100 kHz

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Alternate Spectrum

This spectrum is also known as the 11-meter shortwave broadcast band.  Because of the propagation characteristics of this band, it is only desirable for international broadcasters for shorter range (300~3000 km) broadcasting during the peaks of sunspot cycles once every 11 years.

Who uses it?

Domestic incumbent users: The primary domestic user of this spectrum are international broadcast stations who may opt to include frequencies in this spectrum for their broadcast schedules.  Since at least 1999, no US-based international broadcast station has elected to use this spectrum for transmissions targeted to points outside of the USA.  Remote broadcast pickup (RPU) stations (41).

Foreign incumbent users: Since 1999,  there has been a small amount of international broadcasting in this band, mainly targeting Europe.  There have also been trial operations of lower powers (around 1kW) in Europe, Mexico City and Brazil.  Since at least 1999, no international broadcaster has operated any transmission in this band targeting any zone in North America.

How do they use it?

ITU Region 2 allocation:  This spectrum is allocated internationally to broadcasting.  There is believed to be an informal agreement within the HFCC (a private organization recognzied by the ITU that along with three other regional organizations coordinates all of the frequency usage by international shortwave broadcasters) that prefers international broadcasting in this spectrum between 25670~25860. 

FCC allocations:  Broadcasting and remote broadcast pickup stations.

Federal Government allocations:  None.

Canada/Mexico allocations:  Both Canada and Mexico follow the ITU allocation and does not have any "footnoted" services like the USA does.

REC analysis and opinion for use as alternate spectrum

This band is extremely under utilized, especially in the past two sunspot cycles which have had lower sunspot numbers than previous ones.  

Many consumer grade receivers are available to tune in AM broadcasts on 11 meters but we do notice that some inexpensive shortwave receivers do not include 11 meters.  DRM recievers are limited to some prototype models as well as external software defined radios (SDR) connected to personal computers.  Portable SDR radios have been prototyped.  We note that Aill India Radio is starting to develop DRM on medium wave (AM broadcast) frequencies and many of those radios will also be able to tune shortwave.  The market for DRM is simply not large enough yet to warrant the mass-production of a receiver.

Like with all high frequency bands, 11-meters does have various propagation characteristics including skywave propagation during peak sunspot cycles (every 11 years  or so) as well as sporadic E layer interference that can take place even during periods of lower sunspot numbers.

The use of RPU in this band is sparse and the busiest channel, 26030 kHz only has 10 stations loaded on it.  A radial protection and grandfathering of these stations along with a prohibition of new RPU licenses in this spectrum could protect those RPU operations and not severely impact the availability of the service overall.

Using DRM at 10 kHz, this spectrum can offer up to 42 channels with about 20 stations possible in the biggest metropolitan areas.  

This spectrum is already internationally allocated for broadcasting and the ITU and HFCC already recognized that it would be a viable band for domestic broadcasting.  In order to fully use this band, the United States FMO (Frequency Management Official) would have to negotiate an agreement where very low power operations (under 50 watts EIRP) can be used throughout the 11 meter band without regards to the split of the band as well as the 10 kHz section that is set aside internationally for emergency broadcasting (which would unlikely to every be used in the North American region).

Currently, this is the most desirable band for alternate spectrum.