Posts Tagged ‘PSK31’

World Amateur Radio Day

Today is the 88th Anniversary of the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) which is World Amateur Radio Day. Didn’t you know that? Well neither did I until I worked CR5IARU on 20m PSK31. Not that I’d have known from working the station. I had to use QRZ.com to find out what the special call was all about.

Perhaps it’s just me but I thought the purpose of a special event call was to raise awareness of some particular event or anniversary. In pursuit of which the special event station should give out this information on every contact. But too often it seems to be taken as an opportunity to work as many stations as possible, contest style.

Another special call that I worked today on 20m PSK31 was HF2013TATO. When I asked the operator Jarek what the special call was for my request was ignored. So I had to go on the internet again. From what I could deduce, this special call is to raise awareness of the role of the father in the family. There may be more to it than that but my Polish is not very good. 🙂 But I do know that “tato” means “dad.”

Elusive DX on 15m

I checked the JT9 operating frequencies and downloaded a new version of the programmer but I was still seeing the same old calls so I switched to PSK31. 15m seemed quite lively. There were a few JA’s, a couple of stations from China and one from South Korea. Later on I heard a sation in Indonesia. But could I work any of them? Could I heck.

I did manage to make a couple of far eastern contacts: Alexander RD9OA from near Novosibirsk, and Lee BG6CJR from Ningguo in China, but I failed to make any impression on the others. All I got was a couple of QRZs then they called CQ again. Together with the antics of some of the Russian operators – sending their calls over and over and over again so the DX had no chance of hearing anyone else call – it got a bit frustrating. I was running 40W but it didn’t seem to be enough to reach stations I was getting solid copy on. If I didn’t have to go stealth I think I’d be seriously considering a KPA500 at this point! It must be nice to flip a switch and blast over the top!

Some of the Russians seemed to be in a rush. One actually sent PSE SHRT K to me as if trying to have a friendly QSO would keep him from something more important. DX seems to bring out the worst in many operators. Sheesh, it’s only a hobby.

TO7BC Mayotte

A good day today. Not much operating as I had to install a new PC monitor here in the shack and then a new Freetime Freesat receiver down in the living room. It’s one of the new ones with WiFi support so I don’t need to run a network cable down to the living room which all existing boxes have required.

After that I came up to the shack to see if I had installed any new QRM generators. Switched to 10m PSK31 and heard a single solitary station – TO7BC  from Mayotte!

I’m not a DXer but this signal on its own in the clear was too much to resist. It took about 15 minutes to break the pileup. I couldn’t hear any other callers so I used XIT to dial in 0.5kHz up and hoped for the best. After a while with no success I decided to go up another 100Hz and he came right back! I must have been the only station who received a 579 report.

I shall check the website later to see if I got in the log. I will also have to find out where Mayotte Island is! I don’t often get to work DXpedition stations so I’m quite pleased with this afternoon’s work. I’ll check for QRM generators another time.

Richer pickings on PSK

I only managed 4 QSOs in abour as many hours using JT9-1 this morning. I worked LU8EX whom I recognized having made a JT65A contact with him in the past. Hopefully more operators will make the switch from JT65A to JT9-1. At the moment it feels like I’ve worked everybody. I was spotted many times by VK3AMA even when I was running 5 watts. Pity there is no-one else in Oz using the mode yet.

I switched to PSK31 in the afternoon and my QSO rate immediately improved. A nice catch was Luc PR8EP whose QSL card I picture here.

Another good one was Eric HS0ZJK in Phetchaburi, Thailand. He is only the second Thai station I have worked, and both were on 15m.

ISS on 20m

No not that ISS! This is station II5ISS which I worked on 20m PSK31 whilst testing some tweaks to KComm.

If you’re interested, you can win an award by working II5ISS on three or more bands before the end of 2013.

The prettiest ham and the longest call

Fifteen metres was again in good shape today. The contacts I made included the prettiest ham I’ve yet worked, and the station with the longest call I’ve ever logged.

Natali, RV3ADL

Call me a male chauvinist if you like, but whenever I work a YL (young lady) on the bands I can’t resist looking to see if I can find a picture of her. I worked Natali from Moscow on PSK31 this afternoon and she must be the prettiest ham radio operator I’ve worked in my long career. She keeps a pretty neat shack, too.

The prize for the longest callsign ever logged goes to YO2013EYOWF which is the official call of the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival 2013 in Brasov, Romania. I pity anyone having to send that in CW! I don’t have any pictures of the YO2013EYOWF operators but they do have a very pretty logo which I expect will be on their QSL.

Wide boys

What’s the point of PSK125? I just finished a session running PSK31 on 15m (which was really lively, by the way) when I thought I’d just check 10m to see if anything was going on up there. I soon found that there wasn’t much. The waterfall was devoid of traces, apart from a weak, wide, nebulous trace which proved to be PSK125.  PY2DN was calling CQ, but try as I might he couldn’t decode me.

It appeared that he was making some QSOs, presumably with people enjoying better 10m propagation than I had. PY2DN’s signal was far from perfect copy. Most times he transmitted I received mostly garbage. But I’m sure there was enough energy in the transmission to produce solid copy had he been using PSK31.

I guess the point of PSK125 is speed. PY2DN’s CQ and my reply both lasted about two seconds. But what’s the hurry? Not only can I not type that fast, I can’t even click macro buttons that fast. So the time saved is for nothing. I accept there is a role for PSK63 in contests, when speed matters, but only when signals are strong enough to provide good copy. PSK125 is a step too far. It spreads the energy too thinly.

I’ve tried loads of new digital modes but I keep on coming back to good old PSK31. I find it more satisfying in the long run. There’s tons of activity from heaps of different locations. You can often find a PSK31 signal when the CW and SSB band segments are dead. PSK31 is a real QSO mode where you can actually converse with somebody and exchange information with them. And you don’t need to run a kilowatt to a huge tribander to be successful. I was calling CQ on 15m with 40w to my attic dipole and I felt like a big gun: I was getting replies, including DX replies, to every other call.

I think PSK31 has earned its place alongside CW and SSB as one of the staple modes of amateur radio. Other modes are just for temporary amusement.


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