The QSY Rule

radio tuning dials

On 14 June 2020, New Zealand Straight Key Night adopted the QSY Rule, and it was well-received by participating operators.

What is the QSY Rule?

If a station calls CQ, and makes a contact, they must then leave the frequency at the end of the contact, and move to a frequency at least 2 kHz away.

In other words, you cannot park on a frequency and work multiple stations.

If you are the CQ station:

You can call CQ as many times as necessary on one frequency – but after you have made a contact, you must move to another frequency immediately.

If you are an answering station:

At the end of the contact you may use the frequency to call CQ and make one contact. If you don’t “claim” the frequency after a reasonable pause, then any other station may use it (except the station that used it most recently for a CQ).

What if a CQ station fails to move off frequency?

This is understandable, as our tradition in amateur radio is that the frequency “belongs” to the station that called CQ until they decide to give it up. The QSY Rule requires the opposite approach, which may confuse some operators, especially if they haven’t read the SKN rules.

If you work a CQ station, and they start to call CQ again, please give them a gentle reminder such as:


After all, they probably just forgot.

And if they still don’t move, well, spin the VFO and forget about it. 🙂

What if I’m the CQ station and, at the end of a contact, another station calls me. May I work them?

No, please leave the frequency.

May I ask the new caller to QSY with me?

No, please leave the frequency.

May I announce what frequency I’m moving to, so others can find me?

No, because you would be delaying the next station entitled to use the frequency. Please leave the frequency.

May I return to use a frequency on which I previously called CQ?

Yes, but please allow a couple of minutes (long enough for someone else to use the frequency if they wish).

Finding a frequency to use

It is expected and assumed that all participants in SKN will show the usual courtesy of checking a frequency for other activity, by sending QRL? or IE or ? before transmitting. Thank you.


Please contact the SKN Manager.