ROS disenchantment

I got fed up rather quickly with the new digital mode ROS. On 20m it is a zoo, with everyone calling on top of everyone else and very little being worked. I tried it on the advertised frequency on 10m and got nothing, despite the fact that DX is being heard via WSPR on that band.

What this proves, I think, is that it isn’t enough to be clever enough to come up with a new super duper digital mode. That might be fine if you keep it between you and your fellow experimenters. But if you release it to the masses you need to have a plan for how it will be used given the expected number of users and how you will educate people on how to use it.

If you develop a weak signal mode you have to take account of the fact that a lot of people don’t have a QRP mentality. They can’t see the point in trying to make a contact with low power when they can simply crank the power up. And if they do that, they miss the whole point of the mode and ruin it for everyone else. If a mode cannot be used on a particular band for its intended purpose because of overcrowding or interference perhaps it would be best if it was not used at all.

Instead I decided to use my FT-817 lash-up to try the APRS Messenger APRS-over-PSK63 software instead. Whilst doing that I noticed on the waterfall a strange signal almost spot on the 10.149.70 frequency used for APRS over PSK63. It looks like an upside down three pronged fork but comes in two sizes, one wide and one narrow. It starts sounding like a single tone, and then widens to a chord of three distinct tones. But what is it, why is it on that frequency, and are my PSK63 beacons interfering with it?

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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