CW on 60m

Hi all,
On my activations I always allocate some time to 60m. Use it or loose it and worsening inter G conditions on 40m being the drivers. I often find that my phone seems to get “blocked” on mountain tops, so self spotting is unreliable. Another means of getting the ball moving would be worthwhile. I can often manage to find someone on 40m ssb willing to QSY to 60m (G0RQL and others) and spot me but not as easy for CW.

My question is simple, does the skimmer network function on 60m CW? If so, simply transmitting on a suitable frequency may be all I need to do to be spotted.

Looking at the 60m “band plan”, 5.381.5 would be a suitable CW QRG that would avoid having to add tails to the aerial to resonate on 5.260.

Any bright ideas?
David G0EVV

If your phone is unusable, you could not legally operate on 60m. It is a licence condition that you must be “contactable by telephone”.

To answer your original question, there is no reason why you could not use CW on 5381.5, but I think it’s very unlikely that anyone would find you there unless you were “spotted”. 5260 to 5262 is generally recognised as the CW operating area in the UK, with QRP centred on 5262 kHz.

Frequency choice on 60m is further complicated by the varying frequency allocations applying to different countries. Hardly any countries apart from the UK have access to 5260 - 5262 kHz.

5381.5 does have the advantage that Dutch and Scandinavian stations can use that frequency … but not Belgium or Spain.

Walt (G3NYY)

However there are very few skimmers on 60m.
Currently there are only 3 operational and I’ve seen less that that in the past!
They’re also not well placed for “Inter G” alerting, being at DJ3AK, DJ9IE and HA1VHF.

I always operate between 5.260 and 5.262. This is a regular CW watering hole where a CQ will stand you the best chance of being picked up.
I’m tempted to leave a skimmer running on 60 myself for when I go out in the field!
It, like other things, is waiting till I get a round tuit…

Other than that, there’s always Iridium and APRS where SMS fails.


Hi David,
My recommendation is for you to work CW between 5.351.5 and 5366.5, which is the IARU recommended frequency window and has already been adopted by countries like EA Spain and PA The Netherlands among possibly others I’m not aware of or I don’t recall right now.
Best 73 de Guru

However you need to be careful, because (5351.5 to 5354.0) and (5358.0 to 5362.0) is not available in the UK.

Also, 5357.0 to 5360.0 is heavily used in several European countries for JT65 digital mode.

As I said, it’s rather complicated!

Walt (G3NYY)

With the information you’ve just posted, Walt, it looks reasonable saying that 5354 to 5358 would be the perfect window for you to use if you want to have maximum chances to be chased by Europeans.
Not too long ago I was informed that 5358.5 is a CW calling frequency for USA hams.
If you call on 5358, you’ll be close enough to the US calling frequency as to be easily detectable by US stations and then work in split by just using the RIT of your rigs to move RX 500Hz up in your case and down for the americans.
73 de Guru

Hi all,
Thanks for the comments. I agree it is rather complex.

Thanks Walt for reminding me of the UK licence constraint on having telephone contact. I had overlooked that important point, thinking it had been withdrawn with the consolidation of the 5MHz NOV into the body of the latest licence. My telephone numbers were given to Ofcom with my NOV, I have now re-informed Ofcom by E Mail.

I am particularly interested in inter G using NIVIS so the use of skimmers and the RBN network is currently not going to be the way forward.

The difficulty in using 5.260 where I often operate from home is that it needs tails on the aerial when portable to make it resonant. So…

I have monitored 5.381.5 and I hear no traffic, there is a wall of data 5kHz up, just outside the top of the UK bandlet so 5.381.5 looks like a suitable location where I can send CW without re-tuning the aerial and without affecting other users…

Self spotting seems to be the only way to attract customers, sitting on a cold mountain top in the rain waiting for passing customers is not funny. Generally I do not like to self spot, there are sufficient tuners to establish contact and a spot on 40CW, 40SSB, 30CW, 20CW and 20SSB but this is not the case in the vast emptiness of 60m.

I can usually get a few frequent shack sloths to follow me from 40SSB to 60SSB (5.398.5) and then work up to 20 stations, but CW is another story. The low critical frequency has prevented many inter G contacts on 40m so few CW stations who could QSY to 60m. On my next SOTA I will try setting up on 5.381.5MHz CW and self spot using the mobile phone. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and fully licence compliant.

Thanks for your help.


But that is in the middle of the JT65 international centre of activity and I often hear weak signal mode traffic there.

Colin G8TMV

I have started using 60m more since the sky started to get more broken. It was quite good on 60m yesterday from up near Edinburgh to Manchester and further South. I was operating on 5.3985 MHz SSB and I simply switched to CW and hit send on the keyer. The 817 said 5.399.3 MHz and I called and immediately was answered by G4LNA. I don’t know if he was listening on SSB but could not hear me well or if he saw the spot or if he was only looking for CW. Good signal however.

I’m not sure if you are looking for inter-G or SOTA inter-G but I spent the first few years of my SOTA career using 99% 5MHz SSB. 7MHz SSB was hard work with out a dedicated place to call or self-spotting and the much lower chaser density. I found once I could manage some CW switching to CW after working the chasers on SSB would result in a few QSOs. Some would be from chasers who like to work the activator on every band/mode they can and some would be from chasers who couldn’t hear/work the SSB activity. I will probably continue this mode of working. Whether FE is the best place, pass. The bandplan is so convoluted and the non-UK allocations are all differen such that it is a nightmare to know the best place. FE/FM works for me. I do have a laminated bandplan in the rucksack but most of the time it’s a case of turn on 817, hit memory button, tune select knob to FE, check for activity, call CQ and spot .

If you are aiming for inter-G then that should work well, however none of the Europeans have that available as far as I know. If you can find an unused frequency in the 5.354 to 5.355 area which doesn’t seem to be heavily used then the ONs and PAs that see your spot will be able to work you too.

73, Colin G8TMV

Hello Colin,
As you say, spot the frequency and see what happens.
The only stations outside Europe I have worked on 60M SSB have been on 5.403.5
For me the big plus for the band is there is less QRM…

So put tails on it!

A quick glance at my log shows that of the hundred or more CW SOTA QSOs on 60m, all bar 3 are between 5.260 and 5.262.

I think you really put yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t call there.
The first page of my log tells the story…

There is no such thing as FE and FM. Please speak in frequencies like everyone else!


Walt (G3NYY)

Walt, sometimes I think we’re all out of step with you!

I’ve used up many of the minutes I get on this earth, I haven’t got enough minutes left to waste typing in numbers when everyone who was NoV’d knows what FE and FM are.

Which means any radio amateur not in the UK has no idea what they are.

The sooner everyone gets the same band rather than channels and the IARU agree a new bandplan, the better, but how long that will take, who knows? I believe Belgium and Holland already have the band agreed at WRC15,lets hope other (at least European) countries follow suit asap.


There have been enough references in this forum that any interested person could easily find out.

Remember this hobby is about learning and self training. We are much more than “Appliance operators”.

The problem in the UK is we have much more spectrum allocated than the IARU allocation and more ERP ISTR. So exchanging our bizarre blocks of spectrum for a continuous 15kHz chunk is a bum deal just so we can work DX.

The old channels were
Centre (USB) Channel ID
5260 kHz 5258.5 kHz FA
5280 kHz 5278.5 kHz FB
5290 kHz 5288.5 kHz FC
5368 kHz 5366.5 kHz FK
5373 kHz 5371.5 kHz FL
5400 kHz 5398.5 kHz FE
5405 kHz 5403.5 kHz FM

Now we have: ( 5MHz - Radio Society of Great Britain - Main Site : Radio Society of Great Britain – Main Site )

I would hazard guess that an awful lot of amateur transceivers in the UK that support alphanumeric memories like the 817, 857 etc. will have a memory labelled FE than just showing the frequency.

I may not be up to date, but AFAIK Norway, Iceland, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Barbados and the Netherlands have access to that frequency.

Gone but not forgotten! Those channel identifiers are a tradition amongst that happy band that took part in the original 5 megs experiment, use of “FE”, “FM” etc is a badge of honour that identifies you as a pioneer in the UK, it will probably persist for as many years as “S20” has persisted on 2 metres!


Me for one! I have all the old channels in the memories, plus all the present segments in 1 kHz steps, plus the old channel frequencies interleaved between the adjacent 1 kHz steps. A pain in the proverbial to program but such a convenience to use!