Suggested 40M CW frequencies

I’ve noticed more and more that activations using the frequency range 7.030 - 7.035 and thereabouts more frequently conflict with various contest activities. This occurs even during the week, for example, the CWT competitions.

I encourage SOTA activators on 40M CW to use the frequency band around 7.060 - 7.065. I understand that sometimes contest activity is such that it is difficult to impossible to avoid conflicts. However, I think concentrating our 40M CW efforts higher up that band will help.

I noticed this enough as a chaser that I now operate higher up the 40M band as an activator.

Just a thought ;-).

73 Paula k9ir

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I like the idea. I’ve actually been activating 7.051 and above due to contests and some broadband interference around 7.030 in Southern California.

73 Mark, KG6LI

I concur and have been using 7.061 MHz +/- for the past few years. It seems that most activators try to stay at the higher end of both the SSB and CW bands. However I have found that the high end of 40 meters has been used for nets and skeds so I try to find a clear frequency between 7.180 to 7.190 for SSB.

Scott Los Angeles

This would be appropriate in North America, but certainly not in Europe. The IARU Region 1 Band Plan states:

7,060-7,100 Bandwidth up to 2.7 kHz. All modes, SSB Contest Preferred Segment

Walt (G3NYY)

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The other day I was waiting for Gavin GM0GAV/P to come up on 40m CW from GM/CS-028, having worked him on GM/CS-022 earlier. However, at the time there was a contest running (not the case earlier) so he used 30m and copy on that band was not good at my end. Looking at the band occupation at the time, 7.045 to 7.055MHz was totally clear, but I reckon that had he appeared in that segment, there would probably have been some idiot pop up on SSB and complain about the use of CW in the SSB section.

Good point, Walt, I was not aware of that.

So maybe we adjust to 7.050 - 7.059? In the end, just looking for some clear(er) frequencies without letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

73 Paula k9ir

Hi Paula,
I used 7.062 Mhz for the first time on an activation today as there was a lot of activity around 7.033 where I usually land. The CWT contest started right when I became QRV. I automatically went up higher to 7.062.

I was surprised as most of the bigger contests are on a weekend. It’s good to have a backup plan!

Thanks for the contact today. 73, Brad

Tnx, Brad, for the Q today as well. Nice sigs!

Sounds like you heard the start of one of the CWT weekday contests.The CWOps group schedules several 4 hour CWT contests on a weekday. and you can play in any/all of them. I don’t know how frequently these are conducted, nor how many participate (undoubtedly much fewer than the big weekend 'tests), but over the last 6 months or so I’ve noted multiple times where activators used 40M CW frequencies in the midst of contesters calling CQ. I’ve since moved higher up the 40M CW band for my activations.

After the conflict occurred again today, I decided to create this post to help folks become more aware of possible QRM from weekday contests, and suggest frequencies to minimize those conflicts. Based on Walt’s feedback, it looks like we should try to operate between 7.050 to .059 CW to facilitate Qs both stateside and across the pond and beyond while avoiding most of the contest activity.

73 Paula k9ir

Hi Paula.
Yes, that would probably be a better choice. Here in Europe, 7.050 to 7.060 is actually assigned to “all modes, including digimodes”. However there is very little digital activity in this part of the band, because almost all digital enthusiasts have moved to FT8 up on 7.074 MHz.
The 40m band has always been rather problematic because the band plans in the IARU Regions are all significantly different.

Good luck!

Walt (G3NYY)

All modes section!
Just close your filter down and ignore them (says he as a died in the wool SSB operator who is terrified by CW activations :sweat:)

All modes indeed, but some SSB users think that it is purely their domain, hence my comment referring to the “SSB section”. I have actually been told to “clear off” when using CW in the all modes section on 40m, even though the person I was working was on SSB and had specifically requested that I try CW to complete the contact!

As for using a narrow filter, both my 817 and 857 are fitted with W4RT 300Hz filters, but that still means I still get part of an interfering SSB signal. The main problem is running QRP against the QRO of the antagonist - you can bet it won’t be a QRP user that complains! Unless you quickly establish a decent run of chasers, then using the all modes section may be a waste of time. Having said that I would definitely agree with trying 7.050 - 7.055MHz and maybe we should adopt 7.052MHz as a centre of activity during contests.

73, Gerald

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Hi Paula

The CWTs are three one-hour sessions per week, starting at Wednesday 1300UTC and 1900UTC, and Thursday 0300UTC.


Ok, I’ll definitely keep that in mind. I’d be thrilled to work some stations on the other side of the pond on 40m. I’m sure it’s fairly unlikely with these conditions now particularly during my typical activation times here. I wonder how many 40m QRP contacts have been made between the western states and the EU on 40m these days? I believe I’ve only managed to make EU contacts on 20m.

73, Brad

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Where to run an activation on 40 CW is a tricky question. Part of the problem is that 7.030 has been a QRP calling frequency for many years, long before the weekday contests became popular. Many chasers and activators consider this the primary frequency for CW activations.

Many times I’ve started an activation at 7.033, only to have it adversely affected by CW OPS contesters opening up at their start time, unknown or forgotten by me. Many of the CW OPS are aggressive and inconsiderate in their single-minded pursuit of contest contacts. They don’t send “QRL” first, and they tend to favor even KHz, so they often start loud and dominant on an activation on 7.033 or similar.

Since I rely mostly on the RBN Hole for spotting, I know that there’s no problem about getting re-spotted if you QSY. As long as you have an alert posted correctly, and you’re in the time window, you can QSY from 7.033 (or whatever) up to 7.063 (or elsewhere), call CQ for a minute or two, and you will be re-spotted at your new frequency. Since the 7.060-7.065 window is lightly used, the RBN will spot you in 1-2 minutes, assuming you have a decent signal, and the “Hole” will usually follow.

On days when I remembered there was a contest, I’ve set up my activations for 7.062 or 7.063, and all has gone well. The RBN Hole spotting is quick and works about 99% of the time.

What fellow SOTA ops do across the ocean isn’t relevant to what we do here on 40M CW. 40M is rarely used for SOTA DX to EU, and conforming to EU frequency allocations is NOT our problem over here. Our goal is to agree among activators about where we run our activations, in order to be clear of horrible QRM from zealous contesters. We also want to be found easily by chasers, including S2S operators.

It’s much better to stay near 7.060-7.065, or maybe 7.030 - 7.035, than to go off in the QRS wilds near 7.050, or somewhere else. The regular chasers aren’t usually looking for us around 7.040-7.055, and likewise we S2S chasers don’t usually have time or sufficient patience to tune all over the CW band hunting for you. Also, many QRS operators seem to favor that area near 7.050, and we would be invading their space for no good reason.

I really want to get you in my S2S logs, and being somewhere where I don’t hear you is a problem for me. You also will make fewer contacts than if you were easier to find. Many of the sharper chasers tune around the common frequencies and have their spectrum scopes set to look there.

Consider this reason to stay on “agreed” frequencies in a small part of the band: there will come a day when you need to be spotted. There are many reasons you may need to be spotted:

  1. You may not be able to self-spot
  2. You may not have posted an alert
  3. You may have decided to do a summit unplanned, with no alert, etc.
  4. You may decide to do a second or third summit, different from the one(s) you alerted
  5. The RBN may be down.
  6. The RBN Hole may be down.
  7. You planned on the RBN Hole for your spot, but you’re too far outside the time window

I’ve chosen to do SOTA activations without a spot several times. What I usually do is to start calling CQ SOTA near 14.063 until a chaser finds me, and then I request a spot. This usually works if the band is open, and there are a few chasers looking around for activity. Once you get spotted, you’re off to the races! If you eventually decide to QSY, announce your new frequency to the chasers, request a spot, and you may get lucky. None of this works if you choose frequencies that are off the beaten path!

There is a certain logic that because we’ve mostly agreed to activate near 14.062, 21.062, 28.062, etc., that we should be near 7.062 on 40M. This is easy to remember and teach.

We’ve been using the 7.032 place for so long that we’re reluctant to head up to 7.062, except during contests, if we remember! I’m not sure I want to abandon 7.032 altogether yet.

Lately I think that there’s less QRP near 7.030, and a lot more conversational CW, often QRO. Sometimes lately I hear people on almost every even KHz down there, as I look for my starting frequency. That’s a reason to move up near 7.062.

Last, if there’s a REAL CW contest on the bands, such as the CQ WW, frequencies way off the norm are where you want to be. I’ve had good results going up to near 7.09, 14.09, etc. when the bands are packed with powerful signals. The RBN Hole still works, and many of the chasers are smart about the situation. Being off the main road works better than staying on the crowded highway when the traffic gets too heavy.




Tnx, George, great points.

While I don’t expect to reach EU on 40M from a midwest summit (certainly not at this point in the current cycle!), I did consider that the US east coast may have much more success with contacts across the pond on that band. On that basis, I was willing to consider a shift to a small band of CW frequencies that would work here AND there. But it sounds like there may not be many Qs to gain by moving to 7.050.

I am relatively late to the QRP party and so was unaware that 7.030 is considered a calling frequency. I totally agree that making it easier to find activators under all circumstances (such as those George listed) is paramount.

Forty seems to be a mess on any mode, as I was reminded while chasing on SSB this afternoon. I’m going to continue activating around 7.062 as the best way to avoid the contesters and wide DX splits while remaining in familiar territory so chasers can find me, and try to be smarter setting up my alerts to take better advantage of RBN Hole, especially if I need to QSY.

For those who prefer 7.030, I hope this thread has heightened awareness of possible contention from weekday contests and prompted some thought on actions to avoid that.

73 Paula k9ir



George KX0R has made many good points and that is where I tend to operate as well. Being at 7063-7065 on 40m CW - I am above the SKCC calling frequency of 7055-7058 where there is a lot of activity between SKCC and those that like to work straight keys - typically around 15wpm. Being in familiar calling frequencies will allow us to get found easily by chasers.

Thanks for being active in SOTA and always look to work you as a chaser and activator looking for S2S.

73 Ariel NY4G

Interesting discussion about 40m freqs. I have never figured out why we use the traditional QRP 7.032-3 freq. with lots of QRO ops in that range, as noted above. I prefer to defer the .50 to .60 range to the other QRP /CW ops. I try to activate on 7.061+/- and generally don’t expect to work DX on 40M during the day, leaving our European folks to what ever works for them. I can’t always self spot but I can put out an alert to help chasers find me. East coast ops can always run down to EU freqs if the opportunity presents.
tnx, Gary W5ODS

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I operate around the QRP freqeuncies because I activate at QRP levels.

Also, when SOTA started there was almost no self spotting, so operating at known places was more likely to get you heard by chasers and spotted.

Now self-spotting is relatively easy, there is less benefit other force of habit. If the chasers know how you operate they will be listening out for you on the next band and be ready before they see a spot.

e.g. I try to operate on 7.0328, 7.0333, 7.0338, 10.1183, 10.1188, 14,0623, 14.0628 etc. I normally start low and work up the bands. I try to be predictable and many of the top chaser will know the typical operating habits of activators and what they will do next.

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Andy, thanks for your comments. Great point that chasers will pick up on an activator’s operating “habits” and adjust the chase technique accordingly.
73 Gary W5ODS