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Echo Charlie

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Echo Charlie

Post by simon007 on Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:35 pm

Echo Charlie While access to HF was restricted to amateurs geeky enough to learn Morse code, other radio enthusiasts resorted to pirating the airwaves to get their fix. There is some activity on the following kHz frequencies, usually in "Aero En-Route" (civil) or "Fixed" bands. Echo Charlie dates back decades to at least the 1960s (to 1950s? late 40s?) and means the 6.6MHz band, which started on AM, on war-surplus equipment. What the E and C actually mean seems to be a mystery. I have been told that there was a small army radio set for commando use that had several crystal channels, labelled "Echo Charlie ch 1-6" or similar, that operated on or around this band; and that "EC" was a code for commando operations.
Mike P reports : "The 45 metre area has been used for pirate amateur-style activity for many decades ... was certainly active in the 1960's, with most people using ex-WW2 equipment (19 and 62 sets, etc) ... VERY old (1920's) amateur radio publications talk about (legal) use of "45 metres" ... in the 1970's, there was an EC Club run by a Mr Jenkins of West London, and even EC rallies (one of which, at Drayton Manor, was spectacularly raided by the Post Office). In the early 1980's, it was sometimes called the IB (International Breakers) Net, and the operators were usually wealthier CBers using converted Yaesu FT101s and similar. At one time, the Italian company CTE International actually manufactured a CB to 6.6MHz transverter, the TR45 (27MHz in, ten watts of 6.6MHz out) and matching BABO45 mobile antenna (175cm long)"


  • 86/85m 3430-3500

    calling 3475 LSB

  • 45m 6530-6700

    calling 6670 LSB

  • 21m 13900-14000

    calling 13970 USB

  • 16m 18010-18050

    calling 18030 USB

  • 14m 20900-20980

    calling 20930 USB

What 6.6MHz is ACTUALLY for!

The En-Route section is divided into 53 channels 3kHz wide, from 6526 to 6682 USB, en-route meaning flights on pre-determined standard routes, either civilian passenger flights or military aircraft using the same routes. The OR off-route band (6685 and up) is used for anything else, hence the mainly military usage.
The main legitimate use for the Echo Charlie band then is the International HF service - High Frequencies available to enroute stations serving international flight operations on the Major World Air Route Areas (MWARA's), as defined in the international Radio Regulations and the ICAO Assignment Plan. MWARA's such as NAT,AFI,CWP,CAR,MID,SAM,EA,SEA,EUR etc. See http://www.rcic.com/reg/fcc/clauses/87.263.htm for info.
Also LDOC - Long distance operational control frequencies "provide communications between aeronautical enroute stations and aircraft stations anywhere in the world for control of the regularity and efficiency of flight and safety of aircraft" i.e. private airline channels, sometimes provided as a service by a third-party.
You may encounter strong anti-EC sentiment, especially from the arrogant opinionated type of amateur who believes that the Morse code test he passed (often the only real difference between him and the EC operator) qualifies him to call for the hanging drawing and quartering of anyone who has ever so much as received anything outside of an amateur band. According to them, there will be aircraft falling out of the skies any time anyone transmits on a naughty channel. The next time someone says Echo Charlie puts lives at risk, consider the following :

  • There are 53 channels, and not all of them have any known use. The 5MHz and 8MHz bands are much more heavily used, making 6MHz deserted in comparison.
  • The bands are only used for long distance traffic, where the usual VHF service is out of reach.
  • The volume of traffic is handled easily in any one area with a small number of channels.
  • Most radio traffic consists of positions being reported, all flights are given a good separation from each other, actual instructions regarding safety are rare (?). If positions are being reported, it follows that the aircraft are beyond the reach of radar - the ground station has no real clue as to where the aircraft is. Emergency messages are not likely to be passed TO the aircraft. Emergency messages FROM the aircraft would be pretty futile, could use a number of frequencies, and there wouldn't be much anyone could do to help an aircraft in mid-atlantic flight anyway!
  • Any interference on one channel can usually be handled quite easily be moving to another channel, there are numerous aircraft bands on HF, any ground operator will have a choice of a number of channels in various bands. Propagation will make communication possible using either the nearby 5MHz band or the 8MHz band.
  • From Europe, the main use within range is for transatlantic crossings - these tend to occur in batches at different times of the day - evening Echo Charlie use doesn't often coincide.
  • Consider the worst case - Echo Charlie occuring precisely on the channel where aircraft traffic is being attempted. Interference is seldom severe enough to render comms impossible. Traffic will usually be possible in at least one direction, allowing for a change of channel message.
  • Any problems caused by Echo Charlie could easily be addressed by use of current satellite solutions.
  • Most EC operators will avoid known channels, use LSB Lower SideBand, and would move frequency if strong USB Upper SideBand was detected. Interference would consist of inverted speech frequencies if it happened at all.
  • Many EC operators are licensed radio amateurs too! Both VHF/UHF licensees and those with "the full ticket".
  • There has never been a case of life-threatening problems due to unlicensed EC operators.
I'm not trying to justify or encourage Echo Charlie (obviously) but it has to be said there was an argument in its favour considering how the amateurs hogged HF spectrum with an insistance on Morse code proficiency. These "pseudo amateur" unlicensed operators may be many things, but I do not believe that they put any lives at risk to any degree worth concern. Maybe a legitimate user of this band would like to argue their case - please get in touch if so! The worst usual situation would be a channel with higher than usual levels of noise - at very worst a channel could be useless for it's intended purpose for a short while, but other channels are available. Yes this is undesirable, but you have to consider what drives people to do this.
If the demand is there, this sort of thing WILL happen if there is no alternative. If the amateur community (via the national groups deciding ITU policy) had allowed HF voice comms for amateurs without a Morse test, EC would probably have never taken off.
I will say quite clearly PLEASE DO NOT USE FREQUENCIES FOR WHICH YOU ARE NOT LICENSED OR ARE NOT PERMITTED TO USE. Not that I believe that anyone will pay attention to that, but to make it plain that this page is not supporting or encouraging such things. This is for information and entertainment only.


6MHz En-route USB channels, example users

REMEMBER : LSB on 6640 will use 3kHz downwards (6637 to 6640)
...whereas USB on 6640 will use 3kHz upwards (6640 to 6643)
i.e. 6625 LSB will conflict with 6622 USB.

Echo Charlie operators could help their case considerably by
sticking to "safe" channels and steering well clear of air traffic!

USB
-kHz-
6526 Air France, Air Jamaica Kingston
6529
6532 CWP Central West Pacific, LDOC Sydney
6535 AFI-1, South Atlantic SAT-1
6538
6541
6544
6547
6550 SAM-1
6553
6556 Southeast Asia SEA-1&3, Monarch ops Luton
6559 Africa AFI
6562 CWP Central West Pacific
6565
6568 Rugby UK
6571 East Asia EA-1
6574 Africa AFI
6577 Caribbean CAR-A
6580 Alaska
6583
6586 Caribbean CAR-B
6589
6592 North Central Asia NCA-2
6595
6598 EUR-A Europe
6601
6604 America - VOLMET weather broadcast Gander, Alaska
6607
6610
6613
6616
6619
6622 North Atlantic NAT-F Shanwick **UK**
6625 Middle East MID, Air France
6628 North Atlantic NAT-E **UK**
6631 Middle East MID-1&3
6634 (ex Portishead - BT Rugby)
6637 LDOC - airlines private channel
6640 LDOC - airlines private channel, CEP ** EC '640' **
6643 LDOC - Berne Switzerland, Germany, Venezuela
6646 LDOC - (Royal Navy?)
6649 SAM South America
6652
6655 NP North Pacific
6658
6661 NP North Pacific
6664
6667 (El Al Tel Aviv Israel?)
6670 EC calling **LSB** '670'
6673 CEP Central East Pacific, Africa AFI, NHC 'D'
6676
6679 Anchorage VOLMET
6682 GHFS, NHC

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Re: Echo Charlie

Post by simon007 on Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:37 pm

I listen here mostly at weekends, there seems to be some networks around the EU and south Ireland. SO, if you are in the shack and bored have a listen here and see what is there





Last edited by simon007 on Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:32 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Echo Charlie

Post by simon007 on Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:43 pm


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Re: Echo Charlie

Post by simon007 on Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:30 pm

Nobody listening? Or just nothing heard I wonder pirat

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Re: Echo Charlie

Post by simon007 on Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:59 am

Nobody could find this area? Or not using the band..................

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Re: Echo Charlie

Post by simon007 on Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:01 am

Have SWR the Sandpiper and it is resonant on 45m, the only trouble is the band is so quiet you cannot imagine. Typical, I swr the antenna and all the people are not silent hehe

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Re: Echo Charlie

Post by 2E0ZMO on Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:07 am

thanks for the info ,i had asked in the past for info on ec but not reply.i will have to get the g5rv up to have a listen.

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Re: Echo Charlie

Post by simon007 on Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:37 am

Sorry Andy Embarassed If there is anything I can do to help then let me know. It seems at the moment, mostly there is Canada on 13.970USB in the evening times and recently a heap of UK activity on 6.680mhz from all over the UK on LSB

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Re: Echo Charlie

Post by 2E0ZMO on Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:37 am

dont be sorry simon it wasnt on here,was on one of the old cb sites

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VHF / UHF Antenna : tri band colinear,duel band on the van
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Re: Echo Charlie

Post by simon007 on Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:13 pm

Aha, well am going to give it a go for information for the band here, now need wait and see if anyone else tries it

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Re: Echo Charlie

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