A weekend WSPR

I should share with you that after my blog post about the Marconi Memorial CW contest last weekend, I had an e-mail from a friend who will remain nameless, who said ‘Nice to see you doing some real radio for a change’. I replied that it was nice to keep the ‘Wireless Preservation Society’ in business…

So this weekend I thought it would be nice to play around with some digital modes on HF. I didn’t know, but apparently it was the WAE RTTY contest taking place. I tuned across the digi bands and there was RTTY everywhere. Somehow, I didn’t fancy doing that, though I decoded a few for fun, using MMTTY. I’d read some things about the PSK Reporter network in the week, so I thought it might be fun to play some PSK. I set up Digital Master (DM780)’s Superbrowser, so I could sit my receiver on 14.070 and the Superbrowser would decode the streams of all the different QSOs going on. Quite interesting – but didn’t grab me as far as transmitting was concerned!

I decided I was more interested in playing with WSPR again. I had the software on my laptop from the last time I used it at the end of last year. I quickly set it going on 7.038MHz (this was mid afternoon) and was soon logging other WSPR users across the country, across Europe and as far away as UA3ARC (KO85). I couldn’t get it to transmit though. When it was time to transmit, the speaker emitted a click and that was it.

I couldn’t understand what was up – and frankly gave up for a while and just ran it on receive, as that was interesting enough anyway. But of course, curiosity got the better of me (must be the cats’ influence) and I tinkered around a bit, without success. I googled around and found that someone had similar issues solved by a reinstall of WSPR.

I removed the program directory, deleted all the files and reinstalled WSPR 2.11. It worked! I could hear tones on transmit! No idea why this had happened, but glad to be QRV again.

By the time all this had happened, 7MHz was starting to be swamped by the WAE contest stations, so a mere watt or so of WSPR wasn’t going to go far was it? To my surprise, my 1W signal was heard by a number of German stations as well as in northern Italy. Later on, I set the transmitter going for a period or two and was heard in Serbia at around 2000km.

With the contest out the way, I might try and run the 1W WSPR signal in the evenings this week and see how I get on. It ought to go a reasonable way…

Tim Kirby, G4VXE, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Oxfordshire, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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