Scott Yonally, N8SY

Section Manager

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Scott Yonally, N8SY

 

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Ohio Section of the

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The mysterious “Line A”

And what it means to Amateur Radio Operators in Ohio..

 

Hi,

There’s been a plethora of emails flying around lately inquiring about how to properly operate an Amateur Radio Station that is located around “Line A” during times where skip takes radio waves that wouldn’t normally travel great distances to all new bounds..

 

For those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, “Line A” is a boundary line that was formed from a treaty between the United States and Canada many years ago in order to prevent UHF signals (400 MHz and above) from the United States crossing over the border and entering into Canadian Territory and vice versa. Yes, this does directly affect the 70cm band of the Amateurs in the United States.

 

What isn’t known about “Line A” is more of a mystery than of fact. After a number of phone calls to the F.C.C. and our own (United States) State Department, I found out that there is no map specific to Ohio, or any of the other states that are included in “Line A”, that give any real detail to just where on the globe “Line A” truly is. That seemed very odd to me, especially in this day and age of Google Maps where you can see a stake cooking on a grill from 20,000 miles up that there is no precise map that shows the infamous “Line A” on it. What we do have however, is a description of where “Line A” was agreed to be. It is as follows..

 

“For bands below 470 MHz, the areas which are involved lie between Lines A and B and between Lines C and D, which are described as follows:

 

Line A - Begins at Aberdeen, Wash., running by great circle arc to the intersection of 48 degrees N., 120 degrees W., thence along parallel 48 degrees N., to the intersection of 95 degrees W., thence by great circle arc through the southernmost point of Duluth, Minn., thence by great circle arc to 45 degrees N., 85 degrees W., thence southward along meridian 85 degrees W., to its intersection with parallel 41 degrees N., thence along parallel 41 degrees N., to its intersection with meridian 82 degrees W., thence by great circle arc through the southernmost point of Bangor, Maine, thence by great circle arc through the southern-most point of Searsport, Maine, at which point it terminates; and

 

The definition of Line A in Section 90.7 is taken from Paragraph 2 of Arrangement A contained in the revised Technical Annex to the agreement between the United States and Canada on the "Coordination and Use of Radio Frequencies Above 30 Megacycles per Second", signed at Ottawa on June 16 and 24, 1965. As you indicate, some points on the line are defined as passing through certain points of cities. These points have been interpreted differently by various persons who have attempted to draw, or enter into a computer, points along this line. As you have noted, there are at least three sets of points used for the four cities listed. Because these points are subject to interpretation, it would be difficult to argue which set is correct; however, for the sake of consistency, it would be desirable that the same set of points be used by everyone.”

 

Now after extensive research I have found landmarks to help guide you as to just where

"Line A" is in Ohio.. Remember, if you are at, or north of these landmarks "Line A" does apply to you.

 

Ohio

Treaty definition: The area north of latitude 41 degrees N from the Indiana line east to longitude 82 degrees W (near Lodi, OH), and north by great circle arc to Bangor, Maine.

In general, the northern quarter of the state. This includes the following major highways:

  • I-71 (including I-271) from the junction with I-76 north to its terminus

  • I-75 from 2 miles north of Findlay to the Ohio/Michigan border.

  • I-77 from Akron north to its terminus.

  • I-80 (the Ohio Turnpike) from Exit 14 (Niles) west to the Ohio/Indiana border.

  • I-90 (the Ohio Turnpike, and then the Northeast Extension) along its entire length.

  • US 23 from Carey (junction of State Route 15) north to the Ohio/Michigan border.

  • US 24 along its entire length.

  • US 127 from Scott north to the Ohio/Michigan border.

This includes portions or all of the following Ohio counties: Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Geauga, Hancock, Henry, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Lucas, Medina, Ottawa, Paulding, Portage, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Summit, Trumbull, Williams, Woods

The map below is from the F.C.C. website describing “Line A” .. As you can see, it’s not very detailed.

 

If you operate in the 400 MHz band (70cm), you might want to use the land locations listed above as a guide only to where “Line A” lives.

 

 

 

Here are some additional notes from Arnal Cook, N9ACC that will help you better understand this Treaty from the FCC side of things..

 

From §97.303 Frequency sharing requirements (from current ARRL maintained copy of Part 97) on the ARRL website at http://www.arrl.org/part-97-text  

 

.. per (m) (1)   First is that the total ban on transmissions from US Amateurs only applies from 420 to 430 MHz, not in the 440 to 450 MHz FM sub-band.  It does not apply to all of the "this does directly affect the 70cm band of the Amateurs in the United States" you imply.

 

.. per (m) (2)  Second, commercial services are or may be FCC licensed around Detroit (Toledo) and Cleveland in the 420-430 MHz segment.  Amateurs "must not cause harmful interference to, and must accept interference from, stations authorized by the FCC in the land mobile service within 80.5 km" of those cities.  Line A or not.  I have not plotted this 80.5 km (~50 miles) radii to see if it is included within Line A, or is an extension to it.

 

.. per (m) (3)  Third, even though the transmission ban does not apply to the 440 to 450 MHz band, it DOES apply to the 440-450 MHz sub-band if any of our signals 'in our band' interfere with them, i.e., any Canadian licensees received have what amounts to 'Primary Status' in the 420-430 AND 440-450 MHz sub-bands, meaning by definition, US Amateurs (including Repeaters) must cease operations and not interfere with such signals from Canadian licensed stations.

 

Part 97 part 303

 

"(m) In the 70 cm band:

 

"(1) No amateur station shall transmit from north of Line A in the 420-430 MHz segment. See §97.3(a) for the definition of Line A.

 

"(2) Amateur stations transmitting in the 420-430 MHz segment must not cause harmful interference to, and must accept interference from, stations authorized by the FCC in the land mobile service within 80.5 km of Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit. See §2.106, footnote US230 for specific frequencies and coordinates.

 

"(3) Amateur stations transmitting in the 420-430 MHz segment or the 440-450 MHz segment must not cause harmful interference to, and must accept interference from, stations authorized by other nations in the fixed and mobile except aeronautical mobile services" (regardless of Line A, emphasis by N9ACC).