Here is a message K1ZZ sent to ARRL directors a short time ago. It will
explain the process and the decision.
Since the early 1980s the W1AW 160-meter CW frequency has been 1818 kHz
(nominally -- we shifted to 1817.5 kHz a few years ago to avoid a birdie
on 1818 that bothered some listeners).
At the time that frequency was selected, most 160 meter DXing took place
above 1825 kHz. However, in recent years -- as more countries have
permitted their amateurs to operate below 1830 kHz -- more DX activity
has been occurring lower in the band. Lately we have received more
complaints about W1AW interfering with weak DX signals. Some of these
complaints were about key cicks, which set us on a quest to put the
cleanest transmitter we could find on 160. The key click problem appears
to be under control, but we still thought it would be a good idea to
shift the W1AW frequency lower in the band. The next opportunity to do
so is the publication of the "daylight savings time" schedule that takes
effect on April 3.
After what we thought was due diligence we decided that it made sense to
shift below 1810 kHz since that is the lower band edge in Region 1 and
would pretty much eliminate the conflict with DXers, and after some
monitoring it appeared that 1807.5 kHz was generally clear.
Unfortunately, we failed to pick up the fact that PSK 31 operators
appear to have adopted 1807 kHz as their 160-meter frequency. The band
isn't nearly as heavily used for PSK 31 as, for example, 80 or 20
meters, but there is activity and we don't want to conflict with any
established activity centers.
Rather than try to find another frequency under time pressure (we have
to publish the W1AW operating schedule 30 days in advance, which gives
us a deadline of March 4) and because the summer isn't "high season" for
160 meter DX anyway, we have decided to rescind the shift in frequency
and remain on 1817.5 kHz for now. We will revisit the question over the
summer and try to gain consensus on a frequency to shift to when we go
off DST in the fall.
David Sumner, K1ZZ
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