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Author Topic: CW sub-bands: what happened to them?  (Read 2705 times)

Posts: 8

« on: October 25, 2003, 01:49:54 AM »

I would like for someone to explain why we constantly hear hams operating phone or other wide-band modes in the traditional CW-only sub-bands nowadays...

It seems that ever since the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) decided to remove the requirement for CW for those operating under 30 MHz, phone operators (mostly) have been shifting lower and lower in the 40m band to a point where they are now clearly operating in the fast CW portion of the 40m CW segment!

I've heard them as low as 7007 kHz.... Mostly during contests in the week-end.

What's happened?
Are our sub-bands still protected by FCC law or has everything been deregulated to a point of anarchy?


VE1HE, Pierre.

Posts: 1524

« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2003, 09:21:11 AM »

This always happens during contests, it's nothing new.  Contesters will spread from the top to bottom of any band that they are legally allowed to operate.  Outside the USA, that will generally mean the entire band.  Of course the US has mandated subbands on HF so we cannot operate voice in the CW/data portion.

Posts: 729


« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2003, 09:02:36 PM »

I'm not sure the relaxation of the CW testing requirement resulted in any opening up of CW subbands to voice operation anywhere in the world.  I have noticed more voice operation in the low end of 40 meters recently, but I don't think it is a result of the CW testing/non-testing.  On the other hand, I'm not sure why it IS happening!  One possibility, and this is only speculation, is that some of those now acquiring HF licenses are not completely familiar with the rules and falsely believe that the removal of CW testing also removed the CW subbands??  In other words, they misinterpret "removal of CW" to mean "It's all open to phone."  

Another possibility is propagation is bringing in more signals from Region I operation.  And of course, Mexico permits voice operation down to 7.000 MHZ.  I don't know about Canada.   I have been hearing more Mexican voice stations in the low ends of 40 meters, but some of that may be due to changing propagation, and the fact I am not far from Mexico anyway.

Still another, and minor (I hope) facet may be that the Freebanders are continuing to expand.  I still hear them in the low end of 40 meters now and then, and more often just below the band, where it is a simple matter to slide up into the amateur band.  

The FCC has not (yet) removed Morse testing.  But even if it had, that does not, at least under the present consideration, allow voice operation outside the current voice subbands, so if you are hearing US hams on voice in the low end of 40, you are hearing illegal operation.  Mexican hams though, are permitted there on voice.  

What to do about it is another matter!


Posts: 2994

« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2003, 09:05:42 AM »

I'm concerned about this, too.  I appreciate this comment coming from a Canadian amateur who has SSB privileges in the lower part of 40 meters.  I saw a packet spot last night from an American contester on 40m SSB saying "QSX 7009."  I consider this obnoxious. Perhaps CQ and ARRL could come up with some reasonable lower limits for SSB contests on 40m so as to minimize interference with non-contesters trying to work DX on cw.

73 de Chuck  NI0C

Posts: 22

« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2003, 08:04:04 AM »

Interesting.  I heard a US contester squarely at 7.025 last weekend.  Almost sounded like he was working split.  His auto voice keyer kept mentioning his callsign and '7.165' as though he had a beacon running.  I tuned to  7.165 and heard no one.  Have to wonder if it's technically illegal for phone ops to work the US CW bands or simply a curtesy partition.
paul, kd5ivp

Posts: 21764

« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2003, 11:44:15 AM »

A U.S. contester (or any ham in the U.S.) cannot transmit phone signals below 7150 kHz, period.

If a U.S. contester was down in the CW subband (which is not a "courtesy" divider, it's the law here), he was probably there by accident, and had his VFOs reversed (he meant to be listening down there, and transmitting up on the higher frequency, within the U.S. phone band).  It happens.


Posts: 6

« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2003, 11:26:04 AM »

Some of the activity that you heard in the low end of 40m was certainly related to contesting. But I have been hearing a significant amount of "freeband/pirate" activity on 40, 30, and 20. Mostly Spanish speaking stations. Very noticable in the lower reaches of 40, 20, and 30m. The activity that I've heard on 30 sounds like typical conversations that one would have over a telephone. Maybe some "high powered cordless telephones" that happen to be set up to operate on 30m. Surely not legal in the U.S., but who knows elsewhere. I've also heard some clowns saying "hola, hola, hola" (Spanish), zero beat with WWV on 10 Mhz.
I hope the shortwave spectrum does not turn into a "do whatever you like, wherever you like, whenever you like" free-for-all.

73 de Mike, W2VD

Posts: 2198

« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2003, 11:57:32 PM »

The frequency allocations for 40 M differs with ITU region; such that Region 2 (U.S., Canada, et. al.) have NO common voice frequencies with the other regions.  If the stations you heard were, for example, European stations, they could well have been operating legally within THEIR frequency allocation!  WRC-2003 addressed this problem, and came up with a partial solution to aligning the 40 M allocation world-wide.  But it WILL take time.
    As stated previously, if U.S. Amateurs were operating in the current CW portion of the band, it may or may not have been by accident, but still a violation of FCC rules.

    Best regards and good operating!

Posts: 325

« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2003, 11:25:38 PM »

I asked this same question on an email list after the CQ WW SSB contest. The answer is quite simple ... the IARU bandplans are recommendations and are not enforced by all administrations.
For many countries (apparently many in the Caribbean) there are no restrictions regarding what modes modes can be used where so long as the operator is within the ITU band allocation.
Perfectly legal for many of the international stations but perhaps not too gentlemanly IMHO. I heard a number of Caribbean
stations calling below 7.040 in the CQ WW SSB, and listening in the US phone band, but I also heard a number of US Extra Class Amateurs working these guys below 7.040 (ie I could hear both sides of the QSO so they were not working split).  US Extra class hams should know better.

I would like to see the organizers of some of these contests put some hard frequency boundaries on operation, with penalty of disqualification. That would be the only way to stop this practice during these big contests ... but I'm not holding my breath.

 I realize that this is a touchy topic for many US hams but Canada does have an SSB allocation from 7.050MHZ to 7.100MHZ
and this aligns with the IARU bandplan. The US seems to be one of the few nations that doesn't allow SSB in this subband.

for the IARU Recommendations.


Posts: 34


« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2003, 01:34:20 AM »

CW is being eliminated and the CW only bands should be eliminated also.  

Posts: 3


« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2004, 01:46:13 PM »

not sure what the rules are south of the border...but there seems to be none north of the 49th...other than the bandwidth of the signal...was a suprise to me when I found that out..

guess its the same old story...use it or lose it

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