The top end of the 20m band from 14350kHz downwards, is being used by QTT CW operators and their friends, in a variety of ways from calling, to nets, skeds and more. This page will give some information on these activities.

Activities on 20m Top End

The Top End around 14348kHz is used for a variety of activities by QTT CW Operators; those looking for QSO and not just 5NN; former Radio Officers; real human CW operators and their friends. Some of these activities will be listed below.


Net control will open the net and then call CQ CW NET DE CALLSIGN QNI PSE K throughout the net time, and accept any stations checking in. When 2 stations are in the net the net control (QNN) will send both stations to another frequency for QSO, e.g. CALLSIGN1 ES CALLSIGN2 PSE QSY 14347. After completing QSO stations may come back to checkin again (QNI) or to leave (QNX).

If you arrive on the net frequency and don't hear any net control stations, instead of QRL? ask: QNN? If no response to a few QNN? this means there is no net control (that you can hear) on frequency and you are welcome to do net control as per the above procedure. The net ends at the end of the hour with a list of stations (QNS) that participated.

If you have a Net to add here please contact us so we can add it to this list.

0600Z Net

After 3 minutes Silence Period (SP) monitoring 14347 USB this GEMS compatible net is usually run by VK6RR and other CWB OPs in CW on 14349. This Net is also sometimes used for Trans-Pacific QTC between USA and AUS/NZ.

0800Z Net

After 3 minutes Silence Period (SP) monitoring 14347 USB, this GEMS compatible net usually is active on CW on 14349 and then continues on 30m CW at 0815Z (and 40/80m CW at 0845Z in VK). These are the main regular (daily) CW (QTC) Nets in VK.

0900Z Sunday: Region 3 SSN

Region 3 Side Swiper Net Part 2 (see SSN for QNS)

1230Z Daily: Spiderweb Net 14347 USB

See Spiderweb Net for more information.

1500Z Sunday: SideSwiper Net

As an alternative frequency to 14055 for the SideSwiper Net Intercontinental Net. A case of "great minds think alike" SSN founders Bob W6BNB-SK and Yann F5LAW came up with the idea of 14349 fifteen years ago as an alternative to use during contest QRM and has been working pretty well.

2000Z Sundays QCWA SSB Net

See 14347 USB QCWA Net for procedures.

GEMS Frequency

See GEMS for information

Questions and Answers

What frequency?

Approximately 14348 - 14349 in CW, but generally near the top end of the band, or starting from the top downwards. USB would be 14347.0kHz and below, depending on bandwidth and frequency accuracy, 14347 is about as close to the band edge as USB can legally go, without the upper side band straying outside the band limit of 14350. SSB stations using 14348 or higher are certainly straying out of the band, so suggested SSB frequency is 14347.0kHz USB. CW Signals from 14347.5 to 14349 should be clearly audible in the USB filter. For clean CW stations with accurate frequency as high as 14349.7 can be legal. See the section "how close to band edge" below.

Suggested usage:

14347 USB Calling
14348 CW Calling
14349 CW Nets/skeds

And any frequencies in between, above, or below, as you see fit.

How close to band edge?

Every radio amateur should know how to determine their signals are within the legal amateur band. There are more detailed articles about this, but in summary: Determine your signal band width. For SSB this may be as much as 3kHz. For CW if your signal rise and fall times are 5ms it is about 150Hz wide, if it is 2ms it is about 375Hz wide. How close you can go to band edge is half your signal's bandwidth (e.g. 200Hz), plus your transceivers maximum display error (after calibration with e.g. WWVH), plus the next display increment of your readout (e.g. 10Hz or 100Hz or 1Hz depending on how detailed your readout is. So that could be 200+30+10=240Hz, or it could be even e.g. 200+500+100=800Hz.

Why top end of band?

The bottom end of the band first 10kHz is DX window. Yes, some of us still hold to that, we decry the loss of standards. However during contests the entire CW band is wiped out by some contests, which do not any more specify frequency bands to be used. Digital CW also pollutes the bottom end of the band, and Reverse Beacon Networks transmit CQ callsigns to internet spotting networks thus causing a deluge of digital CW users calling with all the headaches that brings with the poor compatibility between digital CW and human CW. I have written on these subjects in some edition of CWToday for those who are unaware of the problems.

CW is allowed throughout all of the band i.e. 14000-14350, and 14349 is in the shared SSB-CW band. I have also written in CWToday in detail on cross-QRM between various modes. The highest an SSB station should be normally using is 14347kHz USB. A CW signal can be as close as 14349.75 to band edge depending on accuracy and above factors. The top end of the band is thus little used, and is generally quiet unless a major SSB contest is in operation when many stations are to be heard breaking their licenses by calling contest above 14348 even on 14350 thus up to 3kHz outside of the band! However, CW signals at the top end of the band are most likely going to be human CW and not picked up by RBN internet automatic spotting networks.

Human CW is being driven off the bottom end of the band, and there is no reason we cannot use the top end in lieu.

Useful information

CW Upper and Lower Side Band

When listening on 14349 with lower CW side band, if in a wide filter, signals from around 14346.5-14349.3 may be heard. When listening on 14348 with upper CW side band, if in a wide filter, signals from around 14347.7-14350.5 may be heard — naturally there should be no amateur CW signals above 14349.7 so QRM may be less when listening in upper CW receive side band. Some modern rigs allow for switching between lower and upper CW receive side band.

Cross Mode SSB-CW

Friends among CW operators and even friends of CW operators who are not CW operators, can use SSB or cross mode to communicate, depending upon the wishes of the operators. In this case 14345.0-14347.0 USB may be used. Example a USB may be on 14347.0USB then the CW may be on 14347.6-14348 to be heard. If the CW receiver allows to be switched to upper receive side band, then the BFO (RIT) may be tuned lower but in the CW position, to listen to USB lower in frequency. Some rigs automatically shift frequency when moving from CW to USB and vice versa.

14347.0kHz USB may be used as a USB calling frequency for those skeds etc, again with QSY some kHz lower for longer QSO to keep the frequency clear for others.

20m Propagation Beacons

An interesting and helpful one is HS0ZEA/B which transmits with about 20W and a Yagi pointed to Europe, on 14346kHz once every five minutes. Then there are the beacons of the International Beacon Project and the page http://www.ncdxf.org/beacon/index.html will show you which is transmitting on 14100kHz right now. It's a very useful project. Note that VK6RBP is finally back on the air, although the V is corrupted at time of writing. CT3B will likely never be back on air, the only of the beacons to have a worse track record than VK6RBP. Both VK6RBP and ZL6B will be heard usually throughout the day and sometimes into the evening at VK stations. Europeans can check if path is likely to be open by listening there, and the both transmit right after one another. The beacons transmit more of less in an order of westerly geographic location, e.g. W6, then KH6, then ZL, then VK, then JA etc.

Monitoring Strategies

Here are some monitoring strategies for 20m Top End.

Option 1: 14347.0 (USB) in a wide filter will allow you to hear USB on 14347 and CW between 14347.3-14349.5 or so. Disadvantage is you will need to switch to CW to answer a CW call. You may hear HS0ZEA/B Beacon on 14348 at 1000Hz pitch and CW on 14349 at 2000Hz pitch. Use this option if your preferred use is SSB but wish to listen also for CW calls.

Option 2: 14347.7 (CW-U) in a wide filter will allow you to hear CW signals from 14347-14349.5 as well as USB signals on 14347.0 making cross-mode easy. You may also hear the HS0ZEA/B beacon on 14348. This option is similar to option 2. Use this option if your preferred use is CW but wish to listen also for SSB calls.

Option 3: 14349.0 or 14349.5 (CW-L) in a wide filter will allow you to hear CW signals between 14347.5 or 14348 and about 14349.4 or 14349.9 and you may hear the 14348 HS0ZEA/B CW beacon too. Use this option if you wish to monitor both CW net and calling frequencies but don't care about the SSB.

Option 4: 14349.0 (CW-U) if you wish to listen only for CW on 14349-14351 and not the 14348 beacon nor 14347 SSB.

You may also use squelch in addition to any of the above options if you have a low noise level and wish to monitor the frequency without noise, with signals above a certain strength opening the squelch.

Another option for some radios is to program a scan of the range e.g. 14345-14350kHz, optionally with squelch.

NOTE: CW-L means CW Lower Side band receive, and CW-U means Upper Side band receive. Not all rigs have the ability to switch between either, and may have only in fact CW-L or CW-U. If so, you will not have all 4 options above. If you can decode SSB signals on 20m in CW receive position, you are using CW-U. If the tones of CW rise when you tune upwards, you are using CW-L, if tones of CW fall when you tune upwards, you are using CW-U. Some rigs make switching between CW-L and CW-U (sometimes called CW and CW-R for Reverse) difficult and not obvious, consulting the manual may help.

Former Radio Officers and Professional Telegraphists

Those groups of radio amateurs are familiar with calling or spot frequencies and may find it useful to network with others and make use of the Calling Frequency 14348 concept above, to hold skeds and nets on 14349, or to establish contact and move off to another frequency (QSS). For friends of CW operators, and for CW operators who are friends, the easy ability to switch to SSB may be of advantage in some situations where signal strengths are good and you have a lot to say but cannot or do not with to use QRQ CW.

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