60m freqs for SOTA

Hi Robert,

Where I’m really coming from is a Chaser point of view, in that like 145.500 (S20) I can sit and monitor and if I am interested I’ll answer the call or let someone else work the station by QSY’ing and leaving 500 quiet. Unfortunately 398 never evolved like that. So whilst working away I am either distracted or I just turn the volume down.

Now this is a pretty selfish approach from my part, but my main raison d’être in the hobby these days is SOTA. So I am primarily interested in Activators or indeed chats about SOTA in general.

So it would be great if we had a frequency that I could leave the rig on knowing that primarily the calls would be of a SOTA nature with a possible QSY - or indeed a proper Calling Channel for 60 in general. I think there are sufficient channels/frequencies about to accommodate this - surely?



Worked eight chasers today on 5w SSB from DM/BW-484 - I chose a frequency that passed both in the UK bandlets and the WRC15 IARU band - 5.355MHz.


This may be an opportunity for SOTA operators to work RAF Air Cadets. You are invited to do so.

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And by using this frequency on USB, you caused severe QRM to JT65 users - especially in the UK - who customarily operate between 5.356 and 5.358 MHz. 5.358 MHz is the upper edge of our bandlet, so we cannot go higher.

If you must use SSB in this part of the band, may I suggest you use 5.354 MHz, then at least you will leave 5.357 - 5.358 clear for the use of JT65 operators.

Walt (G3NYY)

Please read the footnote of the latest RSGB plan - UK Ops are requested not to use the overlapping section with the International WRC15 Band for local UK calls.

This is a mess and the sooner that Ofcom issue the WRC15 band IN ADDITION to the existing frequencies and the RSGB UK Only bandplan is changed to fit, the better.

The RSGB page actually states ALL MODES for 5354-5358KHz - but this page doesn’t mention digital modes at all in the chart.


I know I have seen in a spreadsheet/PDF from the RSGB a plan that specifically lists digital modes and these are in another Bandlet that overlaps with WRC15 - that problem could be resolved by moving the digital modes section up to the top of the bandlet that it’s currently taking the bottom half of and therefore out of the overlapping area with WRC15.

Of course it is totally valid to run digital modes or CW or SSB in the WRC15 bandplan “all modes” section, when communication outside of the UK is wished for.

Like I said, it’s a mess and will stay that way until the whole of the WRC15 band is also allocated to UK amateurs.


OK, I found that other data modes segment - it’s specified in the band plan document and indeed printed in this month’s RadCom magazine - page 38 second column.
5.362 - 5.370 - Digital activity in the UK.
Lower in the same text, footnote 4 states “Contacts within the UK should avoid the WRC15 allocation if possible.”

That “if possible” is superfluous text - if the primay user wanted to use any 60m frequency that you were operating on, you would move, so there is no valid reason that using another frequency is not possible.

In any case, these two lines in the same document are in conflict with each other - one says a range of frequencies that overlaps with the WRC15 frequencies should be used for UK comms (digital) and the other line says to avoid UK contacts on WRC15 frequencies!! - I guess someone missed this error in validating the RSGB Bandplan 2017 before releasing it!
However this problem is easily resolved by allocating 5,366.5 - 5,374.5 as the UK digital modes area. In fact for weak signal/narrow bandwidth digital modes such as JT65, 5366-5366.5 could be assigned as well and be 100% in-line with the IARU band plan.

As more and more countries get the 15KHz WRC15 band, there will be the need for communication between them and the UK, so this issue is important. It’s a shame that more time wasn’t spent on the recently released RSGB Band Plan - but then again, they could be thinking that 60m in the band plan will have to change when the UK get the 5351.5 to 5366.5 KHz band!!

In the Interim for SSB, the only common (not out of band) frequencies are 5354, 5355, 5362 & 5363 KHz. Of course these are either/or either 5354 or 5355, 5362 or 5363. frequencies 1KHz apart don’t work too well with 2KHz+ wide modes!

If we want to set a “standard” for SOTA interworking between WRC15 and UK stations, I’m happy to take your suggestion of 5354 rather than 5355 (to avoid some of the JT comms). It’s probably better to go with 5362 rather than 5363 as the second option to avoid being too close to the weak signals area in the IARU Band Plan.

The section of RSGB bandplan you quoted gives exactly two USB frequencies within the WRC15/UK overlapping allocations, one at 5.354 MHz and one at 5.363 MHz. The old “UK 60m BAND UTILIZATION CHART” displayed things a bit more clearly, but only gave a single USB frequency within the overlap zone. I figure that 5.354 MHz is probably the only sensible USB frequecy that fits both with WRC15 and with UK at present.

Actually 5354-5355, however if the Inter-UK digital section were to be moved up, 5362-5363 KHz would be a second option - and as Footnote 4 says that UK digital mode allocation shouldn’t be where it is (and there’s space to move it), that would be a good change (which I have already suggested to the RSGB HF manager responsible, however having just issued the document, I can understand Ian not being eager to change it straight away).


The way actual usage in the UK goes at present, the USB signal needs to fit between 5354 and 5357, so 5354 is the only option. Any higher, and you start messing up the small JT* section which starts at 5357 and uses the top 1 kHz of that bandlet.

Hi Rick, if you look back a couple of posts in this thread I think the JT65 usage in the UK is what started the latest conversation.

Overall it’s still a mess, that will only be fixed once

A. the RSGB update the Band plan for the UK only digital traffic section, moving it up to the 2nd half of the bandlet where it is
B. Ofcom issue the IARU international WRC15 frequencies to amateurs in the UK (in addition to the current bandlets) - and the IARU band plan is implemented in the UK (may also require some moves of current frequency usages).

Until this happens, I will continue to hear UK SOTA activators on 60m who I cannot call as they are (for me) out-of-band.

Agreed overall the “safest” common frequency for SSB (or CW) at the moment, is 5354 KHz. But when that frequency is in use… Problems.


Yep, that JT* section is the result of some pre-WRC15 usage across several countries with early 5 MHz allocations. It doesn’t fit all that well with the UK bandlets, as only that 1 kHz part starting at 5357 is in one. JT* also seems to be one of the commoner modes (if the number of times cautions have been publised via the RSGB is any guide, anyway) on which out-of-band operation from the UK happens.

So yeah, it is a bit of a mess that will probably not be fixed even if the UK allocation is changed and the RSGB updates their bandplan. It’s inevitable, given the present many and various allocations (even just around Europe), that there will be occasions when we can hear activations we can’t work, or run activations where our chasers will be limited.

“5354 KHz” is NOT a suitable CW QRG for UK use. Remember that 5354 would be the CW carrier frequency with energy going out of band. 5,354.5 kHz is the lowest carrier frequency that could be used for CW on this bandlet in the UK.
The whole thing looks like a committee decision.

PS we are not allowed to talk about band plans, that is all hush hush.

Well this is SOTA, not the RSGB, and we will talk about what we d**n well like (subject to my control, of course!:wink:) and it is up to us to come up with the best solution for SOTA that we can in the present circumstances. Perhaps I should eventually send a copy of this thread to the relevant people at the RSGB so that they will know what we users have decided, since they cannot be bothered!




Not over here in Germany it’s not. The licensing links directly to IARU band plan, so not following those bandplans is an offense. In the UK and elsewhere band plans are optional, guides at best, in Germany and I’m sure some other countries, they are law.

Given that our conclusion at the moment suggests just one frequency could be used between the many European countries who are adopting the WRC15 agreed allocation and the UK, where Ofcom are apparently dragging their feet, perhaps we do need to find a way of operating cross-band between the IARU-WRC band and the UK bandlets as Andy suggests.

Is anyone already doing this?

How are the contacts arranged - are these sked only type contacts?

Can we set some “frequency pairs” for SOTA usage that are standard, so that if an IARU band plan station transmits on lets say 5360 SSB he (or she) always listens on 5360 plus 5300 (sorry if this is a bad choice for some reason - it’s just an example). Is there a “common” frequency used in the UK for SOTA - that could perhaps be “paired-up” with a frequency within the WRC15 band, so that the UK SOTA activator would listen on his own transmitted frequency plus a chosen frequency in the WRC15 band.

Does any of this make any sense?

I started my AR hobby in 1974 so I’m used to working split (crystal controlled AM on 2m!), or cross band 2m/70cm.


P.S. Brian, in response to your suggestion to send something to the RSGB, I am already in contact with the RSGB HF Manager, but more importantly if we can agree an internediate solution here for SOTA, I can certainly get it publicised through the AR Podcasts.

Bzzzt. Wrong! The people who are “dragging their feet” are not Ofcom but the people with a PRIMARY ALLOCATION. These people may be happy to move but unhappy with the cost of moving and so stay where they are or will move when the cost is not an issue. Such as buying new equipment etc.

I’m a big boy now an can publicise that I am working split by simply doing what has been done for years announcing I am working split and my RX frequency. Yes, I know to check the RX frequency is clear before dumping my “pile-up” onto some existing QSO.

You are trying to herd cats. You will not really have much success. Ensuring that less experienced amateurs know how to call and work split would be much more productive IMHO. Maybe one day there will be a harmonised band. Pointing out non-sequiturs in the bandplans is worthy but changes will take some considerable time to work through the systems. Educating people on split-ops gets an almost instant return whilst everything else moves forward at possibly glacial speed.

Split has been mentioned several times above, and it seems the most viable option. Now I will put my hand up and admit that at this moment I have not got the foggiest idea how to set up an FT8*7 for split, but it is all in the handbook and it may take as much as ten minutes for me to suss this all out!

Deciding the UK frequency for USB operation is much more difficult for the simple reason that UK activity can be very high. The older operators tend to stick to the old original “Fox” channels since they are already in the memory, and FE (5.3985) is a favourite, closely followed by FM (5.4035), so these “might” be bad choices, they are likely to be busy and can even carry net traffic. A good idea (I think) would be for stations outside the UK to program their memories with the thirteen USB channels listed in post 19 above so that they can search for UK activators by switching through all the likely UK channels on their “B” VFO. In return the UK operators should program in the WRC15 in their memories in 1 kHz steps so that they can switch through the likely channels that WRC15 ops will be calling on. This just leaves the knotty problem of countries that do not have the WRC15 band or the UK frequencies…

For convenience, these are the likely UK USB frequencies:


+ = popular old channel.

So, how does this look? I’ll leave CW operators to make their own suggestions.


PS Discourse insists on replacing + with a bullet in the key and I can’t make it see sense!

(comment from the meta-Moderator)
Just escape the plus with a \ character before the + as per standard escaping conventions.

Well other countries are managing it, however it is interesting that in Australia, this appears to be the same excuse/reason that is being given. Primary users can always use the frequencies where we are secondary users - it’s not convenient to either party but that’s the point of AR being the secondary user on this band, we have to avoid frequencies that are in use.

So the activator announces where he is listening - but what if the UK activator doesn’r realise he is reaching a summit in “tim-buc-too” where there is an activator or chaser who would really like a contact. We are not “supposed to” use the spotting system to pass messages (although I have seen it done from time to time) - if there were standard “pairs” this communication need could be avoided (as long as the activator knew to check the “paired” frequency).
I do take your point that the frequency required could be in use - this is always the problem with working split - you are using two frequencies in what is a small band (even smaller for WRC15 countries).

Agreed and that’s why I (in response to your comment) I wanted to raise the point about HOW we might use split frequency in a simpler, standardised way. My idea being the “paired frequencies”. Perhaps someone has an alternative idea? It would be great if the WRC15 station could operate in the all-mode section of the IARU 60m band plan band and simply say “listening down 41KHz” and the UK station in the 5313-5323 band could say listening up 41KHz, but it doesn’t “quite” fit!! (at the upper extent of the WRC band (5363) this would have the UK station splattering out of that bandlet:

GRRR! No easy solution !!

As you say Andy - hearding cats!

73 Ed.

ONLY, as long as these can be programmed as “receive Only” channels - which in most rigs isn’t the case. Those that are newly produced with the 60m band, might be able to restrict transmissions out of band but “wide-banded” rigs would allow transmit as well as receive on the UK channels - which could become a problem. I know it’s the responsibility of the operator… But I would prefer a solution without using channelised frequencies in any case as sometimes people are a little off frequency.


Certainly possible, but probably takes a bit of pre-organising. Split on CW with WRC15 countries would be relatively easy (WRC15 TX somewhere within 5315.5-5354, UK TX within 5258.5-5264), but the way the band gets busy at weekends, it can be complicated enough finding and holding an SSB frequency if you’re simplex, so split on SSB would probably not be quite so easy…

Worth a try sometime, with a bit of pre-planning.

As you say, the whole thing is a mess. In the Republic of Ireland, they have indeed allocated the WRC-15 band in addition to the existing bandlets. It would be nice if the UK could do the same, but there is a fear that some jobsworth might withdraw all the existing bandlets and just give us the 15 watt WRC-15 band! That is exactly what has happened in Spain.
It’s a bit pointless having an intra-UK digital modes section in the bandplan, because the amount of inter-G digital traffic on 60m is negligible. 95% of my JT65 contacts on 60m have been with stations outside the UK.

As I write this, I am listening to a strong German QSO on 5354.0 USB, with several CW stations in DL and S5 deliberately QRM-ing them.

Walt (G3NYY)

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