Topband: 160 mtr low signal - CW Pitch

Paul Kelley N1BUG paul.kelley.n1bug at
Wed Nov 29 12:52:00 EST 2006

AD5VJ Bob wrote:
> I was just reading articles concerning low signal dxing and CW
> Pitch on the 160 meter band. Is there one pitch better than
> another for this?

Having been involved in weak signal CW operation on low bands and 
VHF (EME) for years I have heard this question come up numerous 
times and seen a lot of interesting debates. The bottom line is what 
works best is a very individual thing. I strongly suggest 
experimenting to find what works best for you. I don't mean once or 
twice, but repeated experimentation over a long time period with 
many different signals in different types of conditions. There are 
additional factors that can help some people, such as filter 
bandwidth and where in the passband the signal is located.

As an example only: For me the magic number for CW pitch is 450 Hz. 
I copy weak signals best when using narrow IF filters (250 Hz) with 
the signal at the high edge of the filter passband. I use IF shift 
to move the passband down so it starts to roll off sharply at about 
460 Hz, which puts the 450 Hz CW signal at the upper edge. Under 
*some* conditions, using an audio peak filter gives me further 
advantage, but not always. It took a long time to figure out what 
combination of things is best for me, and I have been using these 
settings for several years. Nevertheless, I still experiment from 
time to time to see if anything has changed with time.

When trying external audio filters, keep in mind there are different 
types, and what works best for one person isn't necessarily best for 
another. It's all about experimentation!

Paul N1BUG

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