CW Operating Standards

I have just worked Roger F5LKW/P (40m CW F/AM-578) - a good QSO but not made easy by several chasers calling before Roger has confirmed his QSO with me. Please don’t call until the activator had confirmed to the chaser that the QSO is good. The only way for me to confirm that the QSO was good was to again call Roger, and this wasted more time and possibly another QSO for the people who continually call out of turn or at the wrong time.

So the rule should be - please don’t open up your transmitter until you hear the activator send his 73 or TU on completion of the QSO to the chaser…allowing the chaser to know that his QSO is complete.

73 Phil G4OBK

In reply to G4OBK:
Hello Phil entirely ok with you!
The SOTA becomes such a competition that l’ one is caught with the play by forgetting the elementary rules!
j’ was l’ one of the disturber of your qso!
must say that I am also victim d’ a very strong QRN and QSB and that this n’ was not voluntary
I m’ in escuse
With l’ future I would be more vigilant, and I entirely joined your opinion on the question, that also put for me the question of becoming of our activity or hunting for the points becomes paramount for much and as there are conditions d’ modest antenna as me that becomes difficult to be made hear
what cannot escuser of course bad practices! but I think that I will have another glance on the SOTA, because the race at the points, in table d’ honor generates drifts! my best friendships
73’s qro

In reply to G4OBK:
Roger was on F/AM-578
Best 73

In reply to F6ENO:
Thank’s for pointing out my typo Alain - corrected now.

Sometimes the sheer scale of the CW pile-ups scares me :o). So many people now calling at the same time!

I wonder how I will cope with that in DM/RP next week with my basic speed and knowledge of CW.


In reply to ON3WAB:
Hello Peter no soucis, I think that you will be with the height! look at today l’ friend Roger has to manage well, there was crowd! for my part I would be disciplined, promised, hi hi with the Peter pleasure
f5nep lionel
73’s QRO

I’ll be watching you Lionel :o)


In reply to ON3WAB:

Hi Peter

You managed just fine last time, with chasers replying at your speed.

The pile-ups are not so bad during weekdays.

I would suggest starting on 10118 KHz which will thin out the chasers before you call on 7032.

If the pile up really becomes too big for your comfort you can always thin them out by taking stations in order of callsign prefix number “Pse Nr 1 only” then “Nr 2” etc, which will ensure only a few calling at any one time. Do not answer anyone else and chasers will soon get the idea.

Remember YOU are in charge as an activator. Sending too fast or calling at the wrong time receives no reply.

GL 73

Thanks for the info, Roy I’ll keep that in mind.

I didn’t realise I could be the one saying: “now only calls with nr …” hihi


In reply to G4SSH:
Thanks for the reminder about going by numbers and 10118 kHz first, Roy.
As you know, you were the first one in the log, I tried CW from some of the hills in Pembrokeshire, as GW0AXY/P, a few weeks ago, hi!
I tried to go on 7032, and it was during the week, and the wall of stations just about blew me off the hill! I did manage to work a few out of the pile-up, but I was using a Palm Key, not a paddle, and it was not easy to use when sitting crouched up on the ground trying to protect the rig etc from the rain.
I have now invested in a Palm Paddle AND a 500Hz CW-filter; only need to find a way of fitting it as I need to move the bhi DSP-filter out of the way first.
We, Christine and myself, will probably be out on some of the Scottish west coast islands (Mull is high on the list) during the next week or two. Will try some more CW from the whatever summit we get up on.
73 de Ken - GM0AXY

In reply to G4SSH:
“Going by numbers” is an operating style known to me only from DXpeditions. I do remember some activations when my revceiver gave only squeaky noises after calling cq sota on 7.032. I did not dare to call by numbers, thought that would look snotty (is this a correct word?) or arrogant for my type of operation. It certainly would have helped to handle the callers.

With the pile-ups further growing I feel that the day when I have to call by numbers will not be far away…

73 Heinz, OE5EEP

In reply to OE5EEP:
Some of the more popular SSB stations on 6 metres run their pile-ups by numbers. Being an 8 I often find myself waiting for up to half an hour for the numbers to reach me, very frustrating!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

Being an 8

The few times I’ve had to use that method I’ve started at 0 and gone backwards. Having been a 7 and now a 0 I too have waited a long time to work DX. Going backwards is my way of making up for all that waiting! :wink:


In reply to G8ADD:
also, I think that this is not best solutions, especially in this moment with very the bad propagation, and the very high level of atmospheric noise! this after midday j’ waited thirty minutes before being able to hear dl6unf with a small signal, if it had used this method, I n’ could not have made the contact! because it was audible that two has three minutes!
On my side lorsqu’ there are many stations which call I leave great silences, there are always one or two WHO which launch call in these white! if not I think that the fact of starting with the 10mhz as makes it possible to satisfy many stations as l’ one will not find in the pile up on 7 MHz
best 73’s
f5nep Lionel

The best technique is to use a narrow filter. 250Hz/500Hz is essential and if the weekend pile ups are too big to handle, then teach yourself how to work split frequency. This method is fiddly using menu driven transceivers like the FT-817 so it must be mastered and practiced at home rather than on a hill if you haven’t used it before.


VFO A on 7032 to transmit and VFO B to receive on about 7033± 0.5 KHz to receive and spread out the callers. If you use this method make sure that the QRG around 7033 is not in use, especially by another SOTA activator, or you will not be popular.

If in doubt or the band is busy try to use 7025-7029 KHz instead of 7032. There is always plenty of free spectrum there. As SOTA becomes more popular on CW I feel this technique is worth mastering. Chasers will also need to learn the split technique - used of course all the time by CW DXers like myself. Listen on your TX VFO whilst the chasers are transmitting to the activator and you will soon find out where to transmit and make your QSO. Not everyone is good at this so if you hone your skills you will be successful.

I don’t advocate calling CQ by numbers on CW - the fading (QSB) has too great effect on SOTA QRP stations signal strengths to make this method viable.

Several chasing are too “macho” and call at a speed well in excess of what the activator is sending at. This is poor operating.

Phil G4OBK (CW DXCC Honour Roll)

In reply to G4OBK:
Sorry Phil we will have to agree to differ here. In my eyes working splits turns the narrowest mode into something wider than an AM signal with splatter ;-(

Just jesting of course :wink:

Roger G4OWG
Presently propping up everyone else on the UKCW table

In reply to G4OWG:
I can appreciate your joke!

Far worse than that AM splatter Roger - the CW splits on BS7H Scarborough Reef which was QRV in May 2007 were over 50 KHz wide at certain times - yes wider than the widest short wave broadcast stations like VOA - BBC World Service etc. It took me 5 hours to get a QSO on 30m band. On 18 MHz the split was 18074 KHz - to 18130 KHz (at least) which was the freq that I worked them on! This was due to the experienced operator sat on a plank of wood in the South China Sea not being able to work stations quickly enough to keep things running smoothly without such an immense split, and of course not announcing of course, what the split was. That would have worsened things and caused too much congestion in one point of the spectrum. They made 46000 QSOs (26000 CW) in under 7 days.

I wouldn’t expect to listen higher than 1 KHz up of my TX freq if I was on a summit. The technique worked well for me last month on WB-004 when my RX was also being hit by the Radar Station there, causing undesirable effects in my receiver. Multiple signals on the same QRG on 7032 KHz and the intermod (or whatever is was) caused by the radar scanners made things impossible until I went split. Spreading the signals out a few hundred hertz made it a doddle.


In reply to G4OWG:

Would it be practicable to work with a narrower split using just the RIT?


Brian G8ADD (Presently off the bottom of the page!)

In reply to G8ADD:
I’m only moaning Brian because on 40m I tend to use my TS-530s with a straight key. With RIT one way and XIT the other I can just about get 1.5KHz (should really be Mc/s for such an old rig) split.

Roger G4OWG

In reply to G4OBK:

Far be it for me to disagree with someone with 338 DXCC under their belt but I do not think working split is a possibility with SOTA. Several times today we had stations working from 7.031 to 7.033. Admitedly it was relatively clear of RTTY/PSK above 7.033 but there was little separation sufficient to work split between stations and I think it would annoy other non-SOTA stations if we occupied more of the spectrum. Equally, working by numbers in these conditions of QSB would cause more problems and the chances of hearing when your turn came up would be problematical.
If only we could improve the manners of the alligators and form an orderly queue there would be no problem but this is probably wishful thinking. Roy/SSH’s suggestion of stating “QRM5 by …(insert call)” would at least let some of the bad operators know they were causing a problem. One who was named in this way a few weeks back, has much modified his operating manner and it shows.