NESMC is currently running a trial modification to the 2m band plan. There will be a vote to make the changes permanent beginning January 1, 2015 and ending January 31, 2015. All individuals registered on the NESMC system on or before June 30, 2014 will be eligible to vote. If you are not registered with NESMC and wish to vote, please register by the deadline.

Currently, voting is restricted to amateurs with residences in NH, MA, ME, and RI. The NESMC board hopes to address repeater owners with systems in our service area, but with residences outside our service area, so that they may vote in 2015. This will require a bylaw change.

The modified band plan adds ten new repeater channels, with inputs and outputs offset by 1.5 MHz as follows. Six channels are reserved for narrowband emissions - 9K00 or less. With current technology, this would restrict them to narrowband digital emissions such as DStar, DMR, NXDN, etc.

Input    Output
144.91  146.41*
144.92  146.42
144.93  146.43*
144.94  146.44
144.95  146.45*
144.96  146.46
144.97  146.47*
144.98  146.48
144.99  146.49*
145.00  146.50*

*9K00 bandwidth or less

During this trial period five repeaters that were already operating in the 146.4 - 146.6 / 147.4 - 147.6 range were offered the choice to move to one of the new trial channels. All five accepted. Additionally three owners on the 2m waiting list were offered frequencies. All eight systems are now on the air.

12/17/2014 Update: To mitigate an issue with simplex use in NH on 146.49, the Malden '49 repeater was moved to a location in Boston with lower signal strength to the North. The Malden system was moved to 146.43 MHz. To maintain adjacent channel separation and to keep within the trial limit of 8 systems, the analog system in Milford, NH previously on 146.44 was moved to the recently vacated frequency of 147.255(+600).

Prior to commencing operation, registrants were be asked to verify that the input and output frequencies are not in use.

                  Frequency                 Status           Previous Frequency
Freetown, MA      146.41 (-1.5MHz)  DStar   Operating 2/03   147.575 (-1 MHz)   
Acton, MA         146.42 (-1.5MHz)  DMR     Operating 5/14   n/a                
Malden, MA        146.43 (-1.5MHz)  DMR     Operating 12/17  n/a
Assonet, MA       146.44 (-1.5MHz)  NXDN    Operating 3/11   n/a                
Lincoln, RI       146.46 (-1.5MHz)  FM      Operating 1/01   146.460 (+1 MHz)
Worcester, MA     146.48 (-1.5MHz)  FM/P25  Operating 5/11   146.485 (+1 MHz)   
Boston, MA        146.49 (-1.5MHz)  DMR     Operating 4/06   n/a                
Hudson, NH        146.50 (-1.5MHz)  DStar   Operating 5/26   n/a                

Coordinator's comments about the trial:
During the course of the trial, NESMC received two complaints. In the first complaint, I received a report that a digital signal could be heard strongly on 146.49 Western Mass. The complainant was unable to identify the signal. The closest repeater on 146.48 would be in Worcester - however, this system was already on the air on 146.485 for many years prior to the trial and no changes (other than a 5KHz frequency adjustment away from 146.49) were made. A second possibility was a digital repeater on 146.49 in Malden, Mass. This location is more than 100 miles from the area of reported interference. After an initial inquiry, nothing further was heard from the complainant. It is likely the issue was during a time of enhanced propagation such that situation resolved itself.

In December, I received a second complaint from a group in New Hampshire about the Malden frequency. Partially in response to that complaint, but also due to a separate issue, the Malden repeater was moved to a new frequency.

In addition to the above resolution, in advance of a trial repeater being place on the air, I reached out to a group in Southeastern Mass to work out in advance a potential conflict with simplex use. The group was very cooperative and their simplex operation moved to a frequency in the 145 MHz range.

For the duration of the one-year trial, this is the extent of all complaints received. On a more positive note, cooperation was very good. All three of the existing systems moved their inputs off of 147 MHz and rechannelized to the 10KHz splits. This cleared 147.4-147.5 of repeater activity in the NESMC region. Additionally, the use of outputs at 146 MHz will make it difficult for anyone to establish a 1MHz split repeater that utilizes 147MHz in the future.