QRP and IARU Meeting

Dear SOTA Chasers and Activators
Please support the following QRP-Proposal for the interim Meeting of the International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 in Vienna Austria, which will take place 27-28 April 2019. Get in touch with ur IARU representative and encourage him to support these measures.Please contact the responsible people in your association, who are attending the meeting!
73 de HB9BIN, Jürg

Document numbers: VIE19 C4-013 and C5-021
Source: Juerg Regli, HB9BIN, President of The Swiss SOTA Group (HB9SOTA)
Subject: Dedicating limited frequency segments to QRP operations during contests
Committee(s): C4/C5
Text: During amateur radio contests, because of the many high-power stations that
operate on seemingly every available frequency, it becomes virtually impossible for
QRP stations – also including those participating in SOTA (mountaintop activations)
or WWFF (World Wide Flora and Fauna in Amateur Radio) operations – to
successfully make contacts. The only realistic option for CW operators is to move to
the WARC bands, and those who operate only SSB have no alternatives whatsoever
during SSB contests.
Proposal: During contests, the QRP frequencies for CW and SSB (+/- 5 kHz) are to
be kept free of contest operations. Contest organizers are to be instructed to
incorporate these band-usage recommendations into their contest rules and
subsequently penalize violators if they do not adhere accordingly.
QRP frequencies for IARU Region I (Europe, Africa, Middle East and Northern Asia)
2m CW: 144.060 SSB: 144.285
6m CW: 50.060 SSB: 50.285
10m CW: 28.060 SSB: 28.360
12m CW: 24.906 SSB: 24.950
15m CW: 21.060 SSB: 21.285
17m CW: 18.096 SSB: 18.130
20m CW: 14.060 SSB: 14.285
30m CW: 10.106 – 10.116 – 10.140
40m CW: 7.030 SSB: 7.060
80m CW: 3.560 and 3.579 (colorburst xtal frequency)
SSB: 3.690
160m CW: 1.810 SSB: 1.843
Financial Implications: None.

Hi Jürg,

In principle this is a good idea, but like many proposals for specific frequencies it doesn’t really work all over the world. The suggested 40m and 80m frequencies are not practical in VK, for example.
Is it really true that SSB operators cannot use any bands if there is a contest? I know 10 mhz band is cw only in region 1 and 2, but 18 and 24 are not cw-only are they?

Even on 14 mhz, the ssb frequency suggested is in a hot area of the band in a contest. Would it not be better to choose a frequency nearer the band edge, eg 14.330, or is that not possible for some regions?

Perhaps as a principle that contests should nominate a band segment for QRP operations this could work. But would that mean that only qrp-qrp contacts are acceptable in those segments (in contests), or can QRO stations go there and reply to QRP cqs? How would it work?

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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Hi Jurg,
I think you have the frequency for 40m QRP incorrect at 7.060 - I think it should be 7.090 MHz.

Also as far as I know none of the WARC (12, 17 & 30m) bands, nor 60m are allowed to be used for contests.

As contests are international, this needs to be agreed across all IARU regions as Andrew says.

Any change of frequencies would require legal changes in some countries - e.g. in Germany as the existing band plans are not optional, rather mandatory.

Setting non-contest spot frequency 10kHz slots, how will we stop all the other contest-refugees driven from their normal net frequencies from sitting on these contest-free (intended for QRP) frequencies. Surely we should be looking at limiting contesting to the bottom “half” of a band leaving enough space for everyone else in the top half of each contest band?

73 Ed.

So the organisers of any contest need to have some one listening to your selection of QRP frequencies and make a note and disqualify or penalise any station violating this “rule”. That’s guna happen like pigs that fly.
Ian vk5cz …

If the contest organisers wanted to implement this (which I doubt), with SDR receivers these days, let alone the spot frequencies - the complete amateur spectrum during a contest could be recorded from multiple locations and should a complaint be logged, it could be verified.
Simpler would be for the contest organisers to also threaten to penalise any entrant who works a station that is on a restricted frequency. Log files can include the operating frequency taken directly from the rig. Of course these logs can be manipulated but is the work required justified rather than simply obeying the contest rules.

One example where the system proposed has been proven to work is the “Worked all Germany” contest, which happens to occur on the same weekend as the Scouts JOTA event and through agreement between both organisations there has been no issues reported for the last two years.


On contest weekends here in the US, I just go up to the old novice sub-bands. Contesters usually stay below the digital frequencies, and there usually isn’t much going on above them. Normally there’s nothing above the NCDXF beacon frequencies.

Or you can just stick to the WARC bands. It is not too hard to avoid contests.

Hi Juerg. Sadly, the practicalities vividly stated by Ian and formalities mentioned by Ed will make your ideas hardly possible on the traditional contest (non-WARC) bands. However, we may and should insist on keeping the QRP windows on the WARC bands free of QRO bullies. During my last Sunday activation (which was my MG activation and hence very important to me) I could not make any QSO with SOTA people on 20m because of the ARRL contest taking place all over the band. I kinda accepted that lightly (hey, it’s contest time), but was really annoyed by numerous LPA owners showing their might inside the 30m QRP window while doing good-morning-dr-om-and-tu-for-ur-call-type of QSO’s. Such people should be kept out of our playground.


Such a proposal can only be supported.

That would of course be a dream if the qrp frequencies could also be used at contest. Especially since it feels like there is a contest every weekend.
But even if we had a small area +/- 5 khz free, some contest stations would be so wide that even this area would not be usable.

But it would be an advance.

73, Armin

i work sota only 40m
Contests are no Problem - i make just 4 or more contest qso´s
this goes more faster as chaser qso´s

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It is such a nice idea, and in an ideal world would make a big difference. Unfortunately even if the proposal is accepted by the IARU, in my opinion it does not stand a snowball’s chance in hell of working. The first impediment is the attitude of some American amateurs, to them their bandplan is what the FCC has written into their licenses and all special interest frequencies are unenforcable nuisances to be ignored, if the channel is empty, or seems empty, they will use it and to hell with the IARU busybodies. The second impediment is that in big contests many hams are so taken up by the thrill of the chase that they pay no attention to what frequency they are on. They will occupy QRP or SSTV channels, for instance, without a second thought. Since many of them have no intention of sending in a log, even writing these protected frequencies into contest rules will have no effect. A pity, but we are up against human nature.

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I pretty much agree. There are multiple practical issues:

  1. A band plan is a recommendation, not a law, and most countries don’t enforce it. It’s a gentlemen’s agreement to which individuals decide to adhere or not. IARU is a union of amateurs and can’t make laws or enforce something, but can make recommendations. In the end, those recommendations can only make it in the contest rules, but you won’t be able to really enforce them.

  2. A single frequency in the middle of the CW or SSB segment can’t be “protected”. People will forget about it and because most modern transmitters have abysmal IMD performance and amplifiers are often overdriven, 14.285 won’t be usable with a strong contester on 14.280 for example. Also, we might need more than one frequency as during weekends it happens that 2 or 3 activations run together at the same time on the same band. The conclusion is (really) we would need a segment, 10-15kHz wide. Hard to get it.

  3. (playing devil’s advocate) Considering 1. and 2. and the fact that we spot our activations, is it easier for us to move to areas where there are no contesters ? The separation between CW and phone is already implemented in the contest rules, surely a QRP SSB activation won’t disturb the CW area of the bands that much ?

Agreed! A similar proposal has been made, over and over again, for many years to try to get SSB contesters to refrain from transmitting in the CW sub-bands, especially on 40 metres. It has always spectacularly failed, and the organisers of the “BIG” contests have consistently refused to co-operate in any such plan.

We just have to accept that it’s “survival of the fittest” … i.e. QRO always wins.

Walt (G3NYY)

No, but a QRO SSB Contest most certainly does disturb the CW area of bands, when contesters will not observe the band plans.

Walt (G3NYY)

This. This a million billion zillion times.

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I’ll raise you a googolplex! :grinning:

If the contest organizers refused to score any contacts in the subband, behavior would change very quickly. Maybe IARU involvement would help, but it isn’t necessary.

Talk to folks on the ARRL Contest Committee, maybe. ARRL Staff & CAC


Hi Juerg!
I really admire your interest for the SOTA community!!!But how many days in a year are there contests on the bands? My opinion is to let them the possibility to enjoy freely the Event! We have alternative WARC bands and modes. Personally I do activate summits from time to time and so I have no problem with contest days. From another point of view it is a chance to work under difficult situations!!! This is the “ART of QRP”.
With great respect,
73 Christos.

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Hi Juerg,

Good idea, but in the matter of “disturbing” let’s start with ourselves.

Let’s answer the question (especially our dear chasers using high powers) how many times is it that when we hear the activator who is calling S2S we ignore it because it is more important for us to log our chaser QSO.
The activator trying to call S2S we (chasers) could copy very well because many of us logged QSO with him on the same band a moment earlier.
It does not bother us, however, to turn on our big gun and chase, chase chase at all costs …

Of course there are exceptions, but unfortunately there are very few :frowning:

So, let’s start with ourselves.

73, Jarek SP9MA

I think many of us chasers will give way to a S2S call, but for my part if the activator is not hearing the S2S call I will work him myself and tell him that there is a S2S call for him. He can then call for the S2S and usually the pileup will respect that. I have also informed EU activators that there is an American station calling them, its always nice to work some DX on an activation! Don’t forget that it is in the rules that Chasers should help the Activators - 3.7.3 Code of Conduct, half way down page 15.

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Hi Christos - did you really ask this. My question is how many weekends in the year are there NO contests? - Hint - I think the number is less than five!

Now the weekdays are usually free of contests but weekends there’s nearly always a contest on the HF bands. Sometimes all contest bands, sometimes only one band. Sometimes SSB, sometimes CW or data.

As for the WARC bands - well it’s rare at the moment that anything above 20m is usable and 30m is a restricted band both on modes and class of licence in some countries. 60m isn’t a WARC band.

I wish Juerg every success with his proposal to the IARU however as others have said, any restriction would be hard to enforce.

From my point of view I see two classes of contesters. Those who are really committed to it, follow the DX Rules of conduct and thankfully these are the ones that win the contests and then there are the Bad contesters, who simply ignore all rules as long as they think they can gain some advantage and get away with it. Higher power than allowed, wide distorted signals, out of section and sometimes even out of band operation and never, really never, consider other operators on the bands. The “true” contesters would like to see the back of these people in the same way portable and QRP operators (I think) also do.

73 Ed.