What is QTT?

QTT – Quality True Telegraphist – Quality Telegraphy Time

NOTE: This page is in draft and development! The QTT Activities idea is evolving. See Flow for current Flow Chart of QTT Activities


QTT is an idea promoting the use of non-5NN QSO with exchange of honest reports and additional information. Using human CW rather than digital (Computer) CW. This activity is especially encouraged on the top 5kHz of the CW exclusive sub-bands.

  • Give a greeting or thanks at start of QSO
  • Give honest reports
  • Give QTH and NAME
  • Give info about PWR and ANT or more
  • Give wishes and thanks at end of QSO

This is what we consider the minimum for a very satisfactory QSO.

There is no maximum, it can be activity on a CW Net, a cross-mode QSO, a “rag chew”, or the time-tested and very satisfying two or three over QSO.

QTT for some may include contests, special events, and other “5NN TU” activities, but for the purpose of our definition, it excludes those activities unless they include an honest report in both directions, an exchange of callsigns in both directions during contests, and for “special event” callsigns and DX or SOTA/POTA/etc activations, at least every few minutes information such as name, QTH, or basic information about the special event being sent.

QTT Activity

To encourage QSO between CW Operators and to spread out band usage more evenly, QTT activity may also take place as follows:

  • From the top end of the CW band, e.g. 28070, 24915, 21070, 18095, 14070, 10130, 7030, 3560 and tune around within 5kHz from the top and look to answer any CQ (or QTT) calls
  • If no CQ are heard, start at the first free frequency from the top and call CQ (or QTT).
  • If you want to increase chances of contacts and are operational on numerous bands, you can use the “ALG Clock” to determine which band to use during which part of any hour, or a modified version of this (see below).
  • There are NO RULES. These are only ideas for guidelines to help you find other QTT, all that matters is going on air when it suits you and having QSO not just an exchange of meaningless numbers no matter at what time and frequency you wish to do so.

The reason we suggesting using the TOP END of the bands is because there are serious plans underway to take these away on several bands and hand them to robot-to-robot modes. By using these frequencies with more and longer activities such as QSO we preserve our CW-only bands.

“QTT Hour”

To increase our chances of having Quality Telegraphy Time with Quality True Telegraphists as well as newcomers to CW, friendly enjoyable Old School QSO and more, we have devised the concept of “QTT Hour” both on a continuous every hour basis as well as a daily QTT focus hour on the first 24 days of each month (see below).

During any hour, if you are unsure of which band to pick to activate with your CQ calls if not finding other QTT CQ to reply to, you can select your band based on which part of the hour it is right now. Either using ALG Clock or a simplified modified QTT Hour version as follows:

10m or 12m: H+00
15m or 17m: H+15
20m or 30m: H+30
40m or 80m: H+45


This is easy to remember. So, let’s say you want to go on air and call CQ with maximum chances of getting responses. Say the time is 1717 UTC. So it is 17 minutes past the hour. If you are equipped for 15m or 17m (as it falls in the H+15 to H+30) quadrant in the table above, you’d call CQ within TOP 5 in this case (18095->18090) or (21070->21065).

Of course this is not compulsory, these are just aids to help us make decisions that can increase our chances of success.

Our manner of calling CQ should also be appropriate: generally longer calls e.g. 3X3 even repeated 3 times (with BK after the first two and PSE K at the end of the third) are vastly more successful than short calls that even often wrongly end in silence or <AR> instead of K or PSE K.

You may even add /QTT to your callsign to signify you are looking for QTT i.e. non-5NN-TU QSO.

Daily QTT Hour Focus

Additionally, for those who are willing to make a scheduled effort to go on air, we have “QTT Hour in Focus” which changes each day of the month from the first until the 24th of each month and is according to the UTC Date. For example, on the 5th of the month (UTC Date) the time would be at 0500 UTC (and during that hour could additionally use the above mentioned clock, or choose any band you wish), on the 24th it’d be at 2400 UTC (0000 UTC). On other days at the end of the month there isn’t a QTT Hour Focus but of course you just carry on as normal using the QTT Hour ALG clock above mentioned, if you wish, and use the TOP 5 frequencies.

Again, we are NOT setting ANY rules with QTT. We are simply putting out ideas that you may choose to use to increase your chances of QTT at any time on any band of your choosing.

Notes and Observations

The TOP 5 are also where the most friendly and relaxed QSO tend to take place. It is also where signals will be better as antennas are more resonant. It therefore makes much more sense to start at the top end, and not at the bottom end of the bands.

QTT is not a contest but simply any “non-5NN-TU” activity. “Con-tests” and “DXpedos” emphasise rapid communications only exchanging callsign, which can’t count as a valid QSO, whereas QTT emphases longer contacts and the exchange of at least an honest signal report (even using the newer RSN system, QTH, name, and ideally information on Power and Antenna in the next over in order to gauge propagation and aid experimentation.

The QTT Q code means “the identification which follows is superimposed upon the existing transmmission” and thus can also be used as a prefix to give your CW Club(s) and membership numbers, and/or any former professional service or amateur service callsigns used or held. This serves to promote CW club memberships and friendships among amateurs.

QTT is also held to mean “Quality Telegraphy Time” as in an enjoyable CW QSO without a simple and meaningless “5NN TU”, as well as a Quality True Telegraphist.

More information about the original idea of the amateur radio QTT can be found at (no longer updated) VKCW website here.

Campaign Inspired and Created by OT Jean 5T0JL (SK) and Companions

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