CW Calling Frequencies (QSX)

There have been repeated calls for defining specific frequencies which can be used for the following purposes:

  • Calls e.g. to specific stations for skeds to be able to find each other
  • Frequency to return to if communication is lost in QSY or QRM
  • Frequency(ies) to monitor when otherwise engaged in the shack
  • Frequency for CW announcements in emergencies

Which Frequency?

What Rules?

“No more than three 3X3 calls within any five minute period and QSY upon establishing contact.”

This is because many stations will be listening to this frequency, sometimes using narrow filter with the squelch up, and repeated calls from the same station will defeat the purpose.

On establishing contact stations should agree on a QSY frequency or drift at least 200Hz off.

Example Use Cases

Example 1: Two stations wish to set up a (loose) sked (scheduled on-air meet up for QSO) without the usual risks of missing the exact time, agreed frequency being in use, QRM. The QSX frequencies make this arrangement so much easier and with far greater likelihood of success, all that needs to be agreed is to meet on QSX 30 (or QSX 80 etc) around an agreed time.

Example 2: An operator is busy in his shack and would like to listen to some frequency. Rather than picking a random frequency or QSO, they may want to monitor a QSX frequency so as to get an idea of propagation, be ready to respond to calls, or for entertainment knowing many others are doing the same and that calls are always short with stations moving off for QSO.

Example 3: Two stations were in QSO and had their QSO disrupted by severe QRM, or decided to QSY and lost each other upon QSY and are not sure which of the previous frequencies to return to. In all cases of getting lost, they can go to the QSX Frequency on that band and make a call and listen there.

Example 4: An operator has tuned around the band, found no CQ calls to reply to, made calls without result, or the band appears empty. A CQ call (maximum 3 calls each no longer than 3X3 within any 5 minute period) on a QSX Frequency with QSY upon establishing contact, will result in more QSO.

Example 5: A CW Net is about to start in 5 minutes, or an emergency message is on hand, or a CW NET has QTC for one or more stations. In all these cases an announcement of the CW NET frequency to QSY to, made on the QSX Frequency, will allow CW NETS to be far more effective in their reach.

Tips for QSX and Calling

Be a model QSX Frequency user: look at your clock and within any 5 minute segment make no more than three calls with each call whether CQ or to a specific station, being no longer than a 3X3. Rigidly adhere to this restriction.

Be a model QSX Frequency user: upon establishing contact either QSY to a specific frequency which you may have checked prior to calling on the QSX is free via “QRL?” or drift at least 200Hz off with “QSY UP” or “DN”.

Listen on the Global QSX 30 or any other QSX when you are loosely available for QSO but otherwise occupied. You can switch in a narrow CW filter and even squelch the background noise and turn the volume up.

You could even program the QSX frequencies into memories and scan them, and/or use more than one RX to monitor for calls.

Share this information widely

On air you may refer others simply to see “www.no5nn.org/qsx

You can also educate others about the simple rules of the QSX Calling Frequencies summed up in one short sentence: “Rules are no more than three short calls in any five minute clock period and QSY upon making contact.”


*) The QSX frequencies were chosen with the following considerations:

  • These are centre of the TOP5 which is a quiet area needing defense
  • Ending in .5 are highly unlikely to be in any widespread use

Should in future the TOP5 be lost to exclusive CW use and the battle be an existential one for the future of CW, these may be changed to 3550, 7025, 10125, 14050, 18075, 21050, 28050 but currently those frequencies are more likely to be in widespread use and are not in need of defense as are the TOP5.

To consolidate the QSX initiative and make it a success we require a number of volunteers in each region who are committed to making exemplary use of QSX. Please contact admin at no5nn dot org with your details.