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CW on 60m


B Licence
Swyre Head

All obsolete - or are they if people are still referring to them?


They may be obsolescent, but old customs are comforting to cling to, they carry memories.


Once again thanks for the comments,

Note the waste of 1kHz on the Orfishul “band plan”, putting the ssb “carrier” at 5.379 instead of the bandlet edge of 5.378!

Certainly the use of 5.381.5 for CW makes it available to a number of continental stations who may be in NIVIS range.

I hope to be operating from GI next week, I will give it a whirl. Look out for the spot.



I had an NoV right from the start, when 60m first became available to UK amateurs.
In common with a very large number of NoV holders, I never used the two-letter channel designators.
They were a ridiculous scheme dreamt up by G3L** to facilitate intercommunication with military stations.
(How often, in practice, did that ever happen?)

There is no mention of them in the licence, and nobody outside the UK has ever heard of them.

Methinks everyone is out of step except “oor Andy”.

Walt (G3NYY)


All the more reason to use frequencies, rather than channels. Channels are for appliance operators and CBers.

Walt (G3NYY)


At one time of course we had no choice other than to be an “appliance operator”. In some ways it could be argued that channelisation was actually better for SOTA operation in that chasers had fewer options where to listen for you.

73, Gerald G4OIG


Not if we were using CW … which is what this thread was about to begin with.
Walt (G3NYY)


I am sure that they were given on my NoV! As for military stations, I never worked one though I heard them on a number of occasions, but I frequently worked the cadet stations, mainly in the regular nets to swap reports for the experiment. You may have never used the channel designators but as I remember it just about everybody else did - it was virtually universal. I also remember that as part of the experiment there were designated “fox” channels on 80 and 40, used when following the start and finish of NVIS, so there were even channels on the traditional bands.

Its pedantry, I know, but all our modern gear is channelised, tuning usually in steps of 10 Hz, only those using old analogue gear can claim to be non-channelised!


PS Even CW was channelised - there was a recommendation that CW used the USB carrier frequencies of the “fox” channels so that CW and SSB could share a channel - a bright idea that was doomed to failure because the CW made the AGC “pump”!


No, channels have their place in Ham radio, most notably in the FM sections of the VHF and UHF bands.

73, Colin G8TMV


Bizarrely 60m and CW never computed until recently. Of course Paul took on the 60m duties when we teamed up back in 2008 and he has used SSB exclusively. Even when we activated the Orkney summits and shared the lower bands between us, I never considered CW on 60m.

73, Gerald G4OIG


They were not. I have my original NoV in front of me. The NoV only ever specified frequency bands in MHz. There were originally seven of them, each 3 kHz wide. The only mention of channels with 2-letter names was in an RSGB Spectrum Forum document “Operating Procedures 5 MHz doc.02”. The Licensee was “invited, on a voluntary basis” to comply with these procedures, but they were not mandatory.

Walt (G3NYY)


No, originally there were five channels - plus two, one each on the flanking bands as part of the experiment but not needing an NoV.


Yes, you are right … if you go back to 2002.

“This research commenced in August 2002 with the allocation of five 3 kHz-wide channels, which by mid-2006 had been increased to seven”.

I must admit I didn’t get involved until 2006.

I don’t know what you mean by “the flanking bands”, though. Are you saying there were two frequencies on which one could transmit without an NoV?

Walt (G3NYY)


If we are invoking pedantry, I think “Channel” is the accurate descriptor for communications. A stable sine wave might be be referred to by its frequency, but once you start modulating it and generating sidebands (which includes switching it on and off to send Morse Code), then you are occupying a band of frequencies defined as a channel.

The current haggle is about how that channel should be described…



FE ?
That works for me. Oh… hang on!


I’ll be looking for an S2S then. Long range forecast looks “challenging”…


My first NoV was issued on 10-01-2005 with five channels, it was initially intended to expire on 31-07-2006 but was extended. It was re-issued on 01-08-2006 with seven channels, expiring on 30-06-2010. A third NoV was issued on 19-08-2010 with seven channels, expiring on 30-06-2015. I don’t understand the 2002 reference as IIRC the Americans were the first to get permission to use the band, in 2003, but perhaps there was some limited work carried out before the first tranch of NoVs for the experiment.

I can’t find my paperwork now, but there were channels designated on 80 and 40 metres for use in conjunction with the original “fox” channels on sixty, these are what I meant by the “flanking Channels”. The only times I heard them in use, they were being used to time the closing of NIVS on the various channels, a net starting on 80 and moving progressively until NVIS closed on 40. These were designated Fx, but I cannot remember what the X was.



My NoV is dated 2/Aug/2002 which means I’ve been using the band and the terms FE/FM etc. for 4 years longer than Johnny-come-lately Walt “I had an NoV right from the start” G3NYY.

You didn’t have a NoV right from the start and are therefore not in any position to claim much about anything. Now, you and all the other newcomers to 60m can get off my lawn and respect my 14 years of 60m experience! :smile:


Temper … temper …



That would be because you only had a “B” licence. The original NoVs were made available exclusively to holders of Class “A” licences … at least according to the following historical document.