ROS postscript

Late this afternoon I noticed that the ROS website had been updated with a new frequency suggestion for 20m 1 baud operation of 14.105, so I decided to have one more try.

For a while I seemed to have the frequency to myself. However I posted that I was calling there on the K3UK digital sked page. Shortly after, WB2YDS posted that he copied my CQ. I didn’t copy anything from him, but I called again and the second time I got his report, though not perfect copy as the meter in the ROS program showed he was 30db down in the noise.

I sent a report, which I know via the sked page he received, but unfortunately a few seconds after he started KB1PVH started calling CQ and the program started decoding his CQ call instead. With two stations on the frequency it was hopeless, and soon after that Olga called me for dinner and that was that.

Normally an almost-QSO wouldn’t rate a mention, except that I was using 5W from the FT-817 to a dipole, and WB2YDS was also running 5W to a long wire. I don’t think I have ever worked across the Atlantic QRP to QRP before, and indeed I still haven’t, but I nearly did, which shows what the ROS 1 baud mode is capable of if you are lucky enough to have a clear frequency for the duration of the contact.

Unfortunately the software has a number of issues that need to be addressed before it can be considered suitable for general use, one of which is the ability to lock on to the replies to you and ignore anyone else who comes up on the frequency.

Another problem is that ROS is still a mode without a home, and at 2.2KHz wide it needs quite a big home and no-one seems to want to make it welcome. There have already been complaints that by settling on 14.101MHz it is disrupting a long established packet network, and while I’m typing this someone seems to be jamming the 40m frequency 7.053MHz with some sort of digital idle signal.

As I said in an earlier post, the issues involved in releasing something like this to the ham populace at large haven’t been thought through. Perhaps there needs to be an overseeing body like the IARU that decrees what modes can be used and where, so there can be no arguments. It’s a pity that the use of a mode with such promise is being thwarted by so many difficulties, but practical reality often stops you doing what you want to do and ham radio is not immune to this.

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

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