[RTTY] 160 Meter RTTY

Jim McDonald jim at n7us.net
Sun Aug 14 19:19:33 EDT 2005

The diehard weak signal 160 ops do need to be protected or the RTTY ops will
provoke a lot of well deserved ill will.

160 is a very special band.  It is extremely challenging to work DX.  It
requires excellent receiving and transmitting antennas to do well, as well
as knowledge of unique propagation and lots of time and patience.

There's plenty of room for RTTY, which I enjoy, on other bands, for the most
part in pretty dedicated segments of each band.  I think RTTY on 160 is
unnecessary and will antagonize the weak signal ops.  If one wants to
experiment with it, then my suggestion is to get the advice from one or more
experts on 160, such as W4ZV, who moderates the Topband reflector on

Jim N7US

-----Original Message-----
From: rtty-bounces at contesting.com [mailto:rtty-bounces at contesting.com] On
Behalf Of Larry Lowry
Sent: Sunday, August 14, 2005 5:26 PM
To: RTTY at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [RTTY] 160 Meter RTTY

Hello All again,

    I did a quick search to find out just what is the current band plan for
160. Obviously there is room down there. I found the "Recommended" band plan
and it looks like it seriously conflicts with the traditionally agreed upon
operation. Also listed is the UK Band plan for 160. Maybe we can find a spot
that most people can agree on. I am listing for information / suggestions,
not trying to stir any pots but looking for what works.  73 - Larry - WD5CFJ

UK Plan - 1.810-1.838   CW only
      1.838-1.842    Digital modes (excluding packet radio) and CW
      1.842-2.000    Phone and CW

ARRL Suggested Plan


160 meters has been known as the "Gentleman's Band" for years. Successful
operation relied upon cooperation among its users. However, increased
activity on 160 in recent years has resulted in some problems with the band
plan. For example, one issue that prompted the motion at the January Board
meeting to establish this Committee was the recent use of 1.838 MHz. as an
operating frequency for MFSK-16, which conflicted with the current band plan
and operations.

Today, many modes coexist on 160 although not always harmoniously. The most
frequent problems center around the conflicts between CW and SSB operations
on or near 1.840 MHz.

In the recommendations contained in this report, the Committee has attempted
to resolve these issues and to suggest a band plan more in keeping with 160
meter operation currently . The Committee's recommendations and discussion

Membership Input

Announcements about the Committee were made using numerous publications. An
internet e-mail address was created to allow interested persons to send
comments to the Committee. Significant input was received. Almost 500
messages from individuals providing input and between Committee members were
processed by the Committee.

The Committee has attempted to address the concerns and suggestions made by
individuals providing input. Special note was given to the rather large
percentage of comments that suggested no changes be made at all. Based upon
this, the Committee chose to draft recommendations that made minimum changes
to the existing bandplan, but did address the concerns that had been raised.

Current ARRL 160 Meters Band Plan (1.8 - 2.0 MHz.) 1.800 - 1.830
     CW, RTTY and other narrowband modes

      1.830 - 1.840
     CW, RTTY and other narrowband modes, Intercontinental QSO's only

      1.840 - 1.850
     CW, SSB, SSTV, other wideband modes, Intercontinental QSO's

      1.850 - 2.000
     CW, phone, SSTV and other wideband modes

Recommended ARRL 160 Meters Band Plan (1.8 - 2.0 MHz.) 1.800 - 1.810
     Digital Modes

     CW QRP

      1.800 - 1.840

      1.843 - 2.000
     SSB, SSTV and other wideband modes

     SSB QRP

      1.995 - 2.000

      1.999 - 2.000



Considerable discussion was held regarding where to place digital modes. The
Committee was sensitive to the point that future technology will improve
digital communications. Furthermore, there have been increasing complaints
that digital, CW and SSB modes were conflicting in the 1.830 - l.845 MHz.
range. The Committee felt that it was important to allocate a specific
segment for digital, and have that segment located away from the traditional
and more heavily used operating segments for CW and SSB in order to avoid
continuing problems. Therefore , the Committee recommends that a digital
modes segment from 1.800 -- 1.810 MHz. be designated.


A number of comments were received from the QRP community. The majority of
these comments pointed out that their commonly accepted CW QRP frequency is
1.810 MHz and that their commonly accepted SSB QRP frequency is 1.910 MHz.
While seemingly impractical due to high power SSB operations around the QRP
SSB frequency, the Committee felt that since these frequencies, commonly
accepted by the QRP community, are consistent with the other CW and SSB
recommendations of the Committee, they should be included in a revised

c.)AM Operation

The Committee received a large number of comments from the AM community and
vintage equipment operators. The vast majority stated that they did not want
any changes made regarding AM. There are established and recognized
frequencies used on 160 for AM. For example, 1.945 MHz. has been used for
almost 45 years. Also, 1.885 MHz and 1.925 MHz. are long established
frequencies as well.

The Committee spent considerable time on this topic and considerable
discussion was held directly with AM operators who sent messages to the
Committee. Based upon this input, the Committee recommends no changes with
respect to AM operation.

As a side note, during the review of AM operations, the Committee discussed
whether to suggest that AM rag chewing be conducted above 1.900 MHz. While
limiting rag chewing to frequencies above 1.900 MHz might be desirable, the
majority of the Committee felt there should not be such a limit as it
conflicted with the input received.

d.)1.843 MHz. SSB

It is widely recognized that 1.840 MHz. is the upper edge for CW operating.
Significant problems over the years have developed around 1.840 MHz between
CW and SSB operations because when LSB carriers are set to 1.840 MHz, the
sideband frequencies will extend down by as much as 3 kHz. This means that
weak signal CW operations in the range of 1.837-1.840 MHz may be overlapped
by LSB operations in the range of 1.840-1.843 MHz. This overlap is due to
"under appreciation" of the fact that LSB operation has associated with it
frequencies below the carrier frequency and the carrier frequency is the
displayed readout frequency in most current SSB radios.

The Committee felt that the simplest way to mitigate this problem would be
to specify that 1.843 MHz be the lower limit for SSB in the revised
bandplan. This will assure that the sideband frequencies from correctly
filtered SSB radios are above 1.840 MHz and lessen or eliminate problems
that now exist.

e.)DX Window

The Committee recommends the deletion of the DX window concept. The current
ARRL band plan specifies 1.830 - 1.850 MHz. for intercontinental QSO's only.
This is not followed and is simply not practical given the current operating
activity on 160, nor is it practical for enforcement.

The Committee does, however, recommend that contest sponsors consider the
use of DX windows as necessary. Thus, under the Committee's recommendations,
DX windows, per se, would not be part of the ARRL band plan but could be
honored in contests as set forth in the respective contest rules.


The Committee recognizes that activity during contests has increased in
recent years and can disrupt a large portion of the band. The Committee
further recognizes that, as a practical matter, during the duration of some
contests, it will be difficult or even not feasible for the band plan to be
observed. Contest activity can generate more activity than the band plan can

The Committee recommends that contest sponsors suggest in their rules that
the band plan be observed where possible. Further, that contest sponsors
designate frequency operating limits for the contest as a part of the
contest rules. Such limits should provide for operation by non-contest
operators while the contest is in progress.

The Committee recommends that for major ARRL contests, frequency limits be
established for both CW and SSB on 160 meters to help assure that a portion
of the band will not be disrupted during the contests. Further, the
Committee recommends that a representative of ARRL contact CQ Magazine and
urge that the same concept be adopted for major CQ sponsored contests to
help assure that certain frequency segments will be contest free.

These recommendations address the concern raised by numerous individuals
providing Committee input, asking that a segment of the band be available
for CW operators where SSB operators do not go during a contest, and vice

g.)Beacons and Experimental Modes

Realizing the need for experimental modes and the increased interest for
beacons, the Committee recommends specific segments to further encourage
these interests. The most practical segment of the band is the upper
portion, away from major activity. Consequently, the Committee recommends
1.995 - 2.000 MHz. for experimental modes and 1.999 - 2.000 MHz. for
attended beacons. The current band plan does not provide any such segments.

h.)FCC Rule Making

It is the Committee's understanding that the FCC does not desire to consider
any piecemeal approach to regulation, such as 160 meters sub-band rule
making, changes to operating privileges, etc. It is also the Committee's
understanding that other efforts are underway, such as the Novice Refarming
Committee, whereby at some point in the future such studies will be
integrated together as a package and presented to the FCC for possible rule

It is strongly urged by this Committee, that the Board consider whether the
revised 160 meter band plan herein recommended should be incorporated into
that strategy and eventually proposed to the FCC for rule making.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Phil Duff" <na4m at cox.net>
To: <rtty at contesting.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 14, 2005 1:27 PM
Subject: Re: [RTTY] 160 Meter RTTY

> At 17:20 8/14/2005, Thomas Giella wrote:
> >I operate nightly on 160 meters around 1810 kc +/- during the winter time
> >using RTTY, MFSK16 and PSK31/63. Unfortunately though it's a nightly
> >with intentional QRM from a handfull of private playground/gated
> >mentality sociopathic CW ops who want nothing below 1843 kc but CW. This
> >intentional interference has succeded in running most digital ops off of
> >band. 160 is no longer a gentlemans band.
> Yep - running a digital mode below 1843 khz (the traditional
> CW/DX/weak signal portion of 160M) will not win favors with many 160m
> ops and those (myself included) who like the challenge of top band
> weak signal operation.  This typically means CW on the low bands.   I
> think calling them/us/me "sociopaths" doesn't do any good for
> encouraging more 160m digital operation.    I also operate a lot of
> RTTY, PSK31 on occasion, and I have tried MFSK.
> Surely there are other portions of 160m where digital operation would
> be more tolerated.
> 73 Phil NA4M
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