Saturday, September 17, 2016

Amateur Radio Q-Codes

here is an excellent list and explanation of Ham radio Q-CODES.

If I may ask if we (ham radio operators) could use these as much as possible.


here is a sample thanx for w5www

The Amateur Radio Q-Code Signal Question Answer, Advice or Order QRG Will you indicate my exact frequency in kilocycles?

Your frequency is ... kc.

QRH Does my frequency vary? Your frequency varies.

QRI How is the tone of my transmission? The tone of your transmission is ... 1. Good. 2. Variable. 3. Bad.

QRJ Are you receiving me badly? Are my signals weak? I cannot receive you. Your signals are too weak.

QRK What is the legibility of my signals (1 to 5)? The legibility of your signals is ... (1 to 5).

QRL * Are you busy? I am busy (or busy with....). Please do not interfere.

QRM * Are you being interfered with? I am being interfered with.

QRN * Are you troubled by static? I am troubled by static.

many many more please check out the link KA1ULN

here is another link for qcodes >>

(please confirm all qso's)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

ARRL The Doctor is In Podcast .. IS HERE

ARRL The Doctor is In Podcast

Welcome to the home of the bi-weekly ARRL The Doctor is In podcast -- a lively discussion of all things technical! The Doctor is none other than ARRL's Joel Hallas, W1ZRDoctor_is_In_Podcast_Icon_2.jpg, who has been answering questions about Amateur Radio in the Doctor Is In column in QST since 2006.

Hosted by ARRL Publications Manager Steve Ford, WB8IMY, ARRL The Doctor is In podcast is a twice-monthly, 20-minute podcast that answers YOUR questions about Amateur Radio's technical challenges.

You can subscribe to the podcast in Apple iTunes or on Stitcher.

Archived episodes will be available here.

Do you have a question for the Doctor? Click here to e-mail your question and we may answer it in a future podcast!

Download the arrl the doctor is in

taken from

Friday, August 5, 2016

Try WSJT for weak signal contacts

I've done quite a few things in amateur radio, but one of the things I absolutely enjoy is DXing. I also enjoy pulling out the weak ones from a pileup or working weak signals in general.  But on traditional modes it can be a bit frustrating, especially on fickle bands like 6 meters. Enter the WSJT modes.

First things first, if you're looking to have a nice long chat with a friend, look elsewhere. The mode is not for this kind of stuff. Rather, you are getting a basic signal report and grid square exchange. You may exchange a short text message but only 13 characters maximum (move over, Twitter!) Secondly, you do not need to or want to run high power in most cases. This is great news for those who like to operate QRP. 

About the mode, history and origins

The mode was developed by noted Astrophysicist and Nobel Prize Laureate, Joe Taylor, K1JT. Joe's extensive resumé includes discovering pulsars using the NRAO radio telescopes in West Virginia. Prior to that he had worked with Jocelyn Bell, who had discovered the first pulsars. He first started out in amateur radio as a teenager and this fueled his interest in radio astronomy. One can clearly see how his love for "weak signal work" goes well beyond amateur radio or the solar system, for that matter. 

The mode can allow one to work signals that are not audible to the human ear, many dB below the noise floor. It does this by repetition and slow transmission. This is why you can't rag chew with it, but it is great for working DX and new grid squares.

It is used extensively for moonbounce (EME) where signals are reflected off the moon. However EME operators often use 500+ watts to compensate for path loss. Prior to the WSJT modes you'd see EME enthusiasts with stacks and stacks upon stacks of yagis pointing at the sky, and 1.5kw on 2 meters. They'd run CW and sometimes SSB. They'd send Ts to verify the signal and make skeds on HF or internet. While much of that is still done today, it is now possible to point at the moon and CQ with just one or two yagis and a few hundred watts. It is also possible to make contacts on supposedly dead bands like 6 meters. It is also possible to work DX on HF with small wire antennas.

Software setup

So how do you get cooking with JT modes anyway? We'll do a simple JT65 setup here. This is a very basic guide to get you started. 

You'll need:
  • SSB capable radio and your antenna
  • Sound card interface - external sound card interface like a SignaLink or some newer radios (like the Elecraft K3S or IC7300) have it built in and accessible via the USB port.
  • PC or Mac with WSJT software (JT65-HF or WSJT-X usually)
  • Internet synchronized PC clock (very important).
  • Patience and quick reaction time.

Once you get all of those together, you can then configure the software. I'll keep it simple as I use JT65-HF. WSJT-X is supposedly better but I've had better luck with JT65-HF. However, JT65-HF hasn't really been maintained since about 2013. But it still works very well. 

I use Windows for my shack PC but you can use any OS including Linux and Mac OS X. WSJT software and the protocol are all open source so you can compile it for any OS. 

A note about time sync: JT65 is a timed mode, meaning that everything fires off at certain times. Therefore your PC clock must be in sync. You can use software like Dimension 4 or Meinberg to do that. Unfortunately the built in time sync feature in Windows doesn't seem sufficient. You may need administrator privileges on your PC to do this.

Once you get the time sync portion straightened out and you've installed JT65-HF, you can set it up easily like this. Most important is the audio device (USB sound card) and your callsign and grid:

Make sure you have PTT and optionally, rig control (for band changes. It supports OmniRig and Ham Radio Deluxe, or serial port control. Note: if you have a SignaLink it uses VOX so there's no need to configure PTT in that case. But some sound card interfaces require it.

This is the main window:

You generally set your radio to USB (upper sideband) mode. Set power to low power (maximum 25-35 watts, many use 5 watts or less). Turn off speech compressor/processor. You can use the mode anywhere on the digital sub-bands but most people use the JT65 window. Here are the frequencies. Note that these are the dial frequencies in kHz you set your radio to:

  • 160m - 1836-1838
  • 80m - 3576
  • 40m - 7076
  • 20m - 14076
  • 30m - 10138
  • 20m - 14076
  • 17m - 18102
  • 15m - 21076
  • 12m - 24917
  • 10m - 28076
  • 6m - 50276
My favorite hangouts are 6m and 40m. I have worked many grids on 6m using JT65.

How a typical JT65 QSO works:

0001z  At the top of the minute a station will transmit "CQ <callsign> <grid square>" 
0002z  The responding operator will send her callsign and 4 digit grid square.
0003z: The CQing operator (who she has now answered) will send a signal report. 
0004z: The responding operator will send a "R" (roger) and her signal report
0005z: The CQing operator will send "RRR"
0006z: The responding operator will send "RRR"
0007z: The CQing operator will send "73"
0008z: The responding operator will send "73"

Yes, that is 8 whole minutes!

QSO is logged using the "log QSO" button. The signal report is in dB and is generated automatically. You can put in your transmitter power if desired. 

Most people take a shortcut and can cut that down to 6 minutes by omitting the RRRs from minute 5 and 6 and simply send 73s. 

So it would be something like this:

0001z - CQ KA1ULN FN41
0002z - KA1ULN N2RJ FN21
0003z - N2RJ KA1ULN -08
0004z - KA1ULN N2RJ -09
0005z - N2RJ KA1ULN 73
0006z - KA1ULN N2RJ 73

I hit "log QSO" button and I'm done. 

Note that each transmission lasts 47 seconds and you have to make your decision in 13 seconds what to transmit next. It's sort of like playing 5 minute lightning chess where you press the clock after each move, except that each move is timed. You will see the waterfall stop and a red line where you're supposed to transmit. You'll also see the decoded messages in the window. Messages sent to you are red. General CQs are green. If you have your headphones on you'll hear when the other side's transmission.

I wish there was a way to substitute 88 or 33 in the protocol but from what I gather, 73 is hard coded in the protocol. 

By the way, each transmission is basically brick on key for 47 seconds! This is one big reason why most people do not run high power as their rigs would overheat and their finals would burn up. 

But I was this close to working that rare grid on 6!

JT65-HF generates a log file in ADIF format that you can import into your log software. The log file is located at C:\Users\<your_username>\Appdata\JT65-HF\.  I prefer to consolidate my logs into Ham Radio Deluxe so this works perfectly for me. Then I can upload to LoTW and other systems. 

A word about QSLing

The final courtesy of the QSO is the QSL, and it isn't finished until the paperwork is done! The good news is that most JT65 users use LoTW.  Many also use eQSL and logbook. This saves the time and expense of sending for QSL cards. With LoTW you can apply toward VUCC, DXCC, WAS and other awards quite easily. With eQSL you can apply for their own eAwards or CQ magazine awards such as WAZ or WPX. QRZ has their own awards system as well. 

And that's it! Now you can make a simple JT65 QSO and work the rare grid squares with low power and a compromise antenna. 

Until next time! CUAGN on my waterfall.

Ria, N2RJ

PS - I'm new here and will be writing from time to time. Niece has graciously allowed me to contribute to her blog, so we can have a source of knowledge for YLs (and anyone, really) to enhance their experience in the hobby. My info is on if you'd like to contact me. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Incredible Amateur Radio Operator's Story on becoming a ham! - TA2AZP

1999 Earthquake victim

Zeynep Pirim
hi ladies, i want to tell more about myself, (forgive me for my bad english im trying to improve it, because i want to talk with you,)
i have lots of problem about being ham, firstly as you know turkey is developing country, and patriarchal, im very unhappy. also im student, im unemployed, im not able to buy hf radio and antenna etc. but i love my hobby, it changed my life. i have never sleep well before being ham, because, maybe you can remember, in 1999 İzmit earthquake occurred on 17 August, i was 11 years old, my friends died, everybody died. i lived bad things. you know..
there was only one (1) ham in yalova in 1999, so nobody could help us, 4 day later he could call the others for help. it was too late.
i wanted to be ham for this reason. but then, i noticed its also wonderful hobby. you can meet new people, new cultures, but only if you have money and if you are 'man' =)
so i decided to search for ladies, i found you, its unbelievable! i surpised and shocked. its big change for me. im reading your diyalog and trying to understand, improve my language, and one day when i will be resarch asistan in university i can buy my hf, i can find what i need to build antenna, and i can talk with you. i know its big dream but i believe. =)
thanks for help, thanks a lot. i'm proud of each one of you. loves, Zeynep / ta2azp , 33!"

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

anyone want some FELD HELL? BANDPLAN

Frequencies Segment/Net name Mode Comments Website
3559 Feld Hell Digital
3575 Feld Hell Digital
3582-3589 Feld Hell Digital
7030-7040 Feld Hell Digital
7067-7069 Feld Hell Digital
7075-7082 Feld Hell Digital
10135-10145 Feld Hell Digital
14063 Feld Hell Digital Feld Hell watering hole
14063-14069 Feld Hell Digital Common Feld Hell range
14068 Feld Hell Digital
14073 Feld Hell Digital Feld Hell watering hole 2
14075-14082 Feld Hell Digital
14075-14082 Feld Hell Digital This is the old Feld Hell range, no longer in use
18101-18107 Feld Hell Digital
21063-21070 Feld Hell Digital
24920-24925 Feld Hell Digital
28063-28070 Feld Hell Digital
28100-28110 Feld Hell Digital

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What are Amateur radio DIGITAL MODES? with DOWNLOADS

What is an Amateur radio DIGITAL MODE?

Digital Modes are a means of operating Amateur radio from the computer keyboard. The computer acts as modem (modulator - demodulator), as well as allowing you to type, and see what the other person types. It also controls the transmitter, changes modes as required, and provides various convenient features such as easy tuning of signals and prearranged messages.

In this context, we are talking about modes used on the HF (high frequency) bands, specifically chat modes, those used to have a regular conversation in a similar way to voice or Morse, where one operator talks for a minute or two, then another does the same. These chat modes allow multiple operators to take part in a net.

Because of sophisticated digital signal processing which takes place inside the computer, digital modes can offer performance that cannot be achieved using voice (and in some cases even Morse), through reduced bandwidth, improved signal-to-noise performance and reduced transmitter power requirement. Some modes also offer built-in automatic error correction.

Digital Mode operating procedure is not unlike Morse operation, and many of the same abbreviations are used. Software such as Fldigi makes this very simple as most of the procedural business is set up for you using the Function Keys at the top of the keyboard. These are easy to learn.

note: this is taken from

AMTOR is an FSK mode that is hardly used by radio amateurs in the 21st Century. While a robust mode, it only has 5 bits (as did its predecessor RTTY) and can not transfer extended ASCII or any binary data. With a set operating rate of 100 baud, it does not effectively compete with the speed and error correction of more modern ARQ modes like Pactor. The non-ARQ version of this mode is known as FEC, and known as SITOR-B by the Marine Information services.
To hear what an Amtor signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

PACTOR is an FSK mode and is a standard on modern Multi-Mode TNCs. It is designed with a combination of packet and Amtor Techniques. Although this mode is also fading in use, it is the most popular ARQ digital mode on amateur HF today and primarily used by amateurs for sending and receiving email over the radio. This mode is a major advancement over AMTOR, with its 200 baud operating rate, Huffman compression technique and true binary data transfer capability.
To hear what a Pactor signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

G-TOR (Golay -TOR) is an FSK mode that offers a fast transfer rate compared to Pactor. It incorporates a data inter-leaving system that assists in minimizing the effects of atmospheric noise and has the ability to fix garbled data. G-TOR tries to perform all transmissions at 300 baud but drops to 200 baud if difficulties are encountered and finally to 100 baud. (The protocol that brought back those good photos of Saturn and Jupiter from the Voyager space shots was devised by M.Golay and now adapted for ham radio use.) GTOR is a proprietary mode developed by Kantronics. Because it is only available with Kantronics multi-mode TNCs, it has never gained in popularity and is rarely used by radio amateurs.
To hear what a G-TOR signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

PACTOR II is a robust and powerful PSK mode which operates well under varying conditions. It uses strong logic, automatic frequency tracking; it is DSP based and as much as 8 times faster then Pactor. Both PACTOR and PACTOR-2 use the same protocol handshake, making the modes compatible. As with the original Pactor, it is rarely used by radio amateurs since the development of the new PC based sound card modes. Also, like GTOR, it is a proprietary mode owned by SCS and only available with their line of multi-mode TNC controllers.
To hear what a PactorII signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

CLOVER is a PSK mode which provides a full duplex simulation. It is well suited for HF operation (especially under good conditions), however, there are differences between CLOVER modems. The original modem was named CLOVER-I, the latest DSP based modem is named CLOVER-II. Clovers key characteristics are band-width efficiency with high error-corrected data rates. Clover adapts to conditions by constantly monitoring the received signal. Based on this monitoring, Clover determines the best modulation scheme to use.
To hear what a Clover signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

RTTY or "Radio Teletype" is a FSK mode that has been in use longer than any other digital mode (except for morse code). RTTY is a very simple technique which uses a five-bit code to represent all the letters of the alphabet, the numbers, some punctuation and some control characters. At 45 baud (typically) each bit is 1/45.45 seconds long, or 22 ms and corresponds to a typing speed of 60 WPM. There is no error correction provided in RTTY; noise and interference can have a seriously detrimental effect. Despite its relative disadvantages, RTTY is still popular with many radio amateurs. This mode has now been implemented with commonly available PC sound card software.
To hear what a RTTY signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

PSK31 is the first new digital mode to find popularity on HF bands in many years. It combines the advantages of a simple variable length text code with a narrow bandwidth phase-shift keying (PSK) signal using DSP techniques. This mode is designed for "real time" keyboard operation and at a 31 baud rate is only fast enough to keep up with the typical amateur typist. PSK31 enjoys great popularity on the HF bands today and is presently the standard for live keyboard communications. Most of the ASCII characters are supported. A second version having four (quad) phase shifts (QPSK) is available that provides Forward Error Correction (FEC) at the cost of reduced Signal to Noise ratio. Since PSK31 was one of the first new digital sound card modes to be developed and introduced, there are numerous programs available that support this mode - most of the programs available as "freeware".
To hear what a PSK31 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

HF PACKET (300 baud) radio is a FSK mode that is an adaption of the very popular Packet radio used on VHF (1200 baud) FM amateur radio. Although the HF version of Packet Radio has a much reduced bandwidth due to the noise levels associated with HF operation, it maintains the same protocols and ability to "node" many stations on one frequency. Even with the reduced bandwidth (300 baud rate), this mode is unreliable for general HF ham communications and is mainly used to pass routine traffic and data between areas where VHF repeaters maybe lacking. HF and VHF Packet has recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity since it is the protocol used by APRS - Automatic Position Reporting System mostly on 2 meter VHF and 30 meter HF.
To hear what a packet signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

HELLSCHREIBER is a method of sending and receiving text using facsimile technology. This mode has been around along time. It was actually developed by Germany prior to World War II! The recent use of PC sound cards as DSP units has increased the interest in Hellschreiber and many programs now support this new...well I mean, old mode. The single-tone version (Feld-Hell) is the method of choice for HF operation. It is an on-off keyed system with 122.5 dots/second, or about a 35 WPM text rate, with a narrow bandwidth (about 75 Hz). Text characters are "painted" on the screen, as apposed to being decoded and printed. Thus, many different fonts can be used for this mode including some basic graphic characters. A new "designer" flavor of this mode called PSK HELL has some advantage for weak signal conditions. As with other "fuzzy modes" it has the advantage of using the "human processor" for error correction; making it the best overall mode for live HF keyboard communications. Feld-Hell also has the advantage of having a low duty cycle meaning your transmitter will run much cooler with this mode.
To hear what a Hellschreiber signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

MT63 is a new DSP based mode for sending keyboard text over paths that experience fading and interference from other signals. It is accomplished by a complex scheme to encode text in a matrix of 64 tones over time and frequency. This overkill method provides a "cushion" of error correction at the receiving end while still providing a 100 WPM rate. The wide bandwidth (1Khz for the standard method) makes this mode less desirable on crowded ham bands such as 20 meters. A fast PC (166 Mhz or faster) is needed to use all functions of this mode. MT63 is not commonly used by amateurs because of its large bandwidth requirement and the difficulty in tuning in an MT63 transmission.
To hear what a MT63 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

THROB is yet another new DSP sound card mode that attempts to use Fast Fourier Transform technology (as used by waterfall displays). THROB is actually based on tone pairs with several characters represented by single tones. It is defined as a "2 of 8 +1 tone" system, or more simply put, it is based on the decode of tone pairs from a palette of 9 tones. The THROB program is an attempt to push DSP into the area where other methods fail because of sensitivity or propagation difficulties and at the same time work at a reasonable speed. The text speed is slower than other modes but the author (G3PPT) has been improving his MFSK (Multiple Frequency Shift Keying) program. Check his web site for the latest developments.
To hear what a Throb signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

MFSK16 is an advancement to the THROB mode and encodes 16 tones. The PC sound card for DSP uses Fast Fourier Transform technology to decode the ASCII characters, and Constant Phase Frequency Shift Keying to send the coded signal. Continuous Forward Error Correction (FEC) sends all data twice with an interleaving technique to reduce errors from impulse noise and static crashes. A new improved Varicode is used to increase the efficiency of sending extended ASCII characters, making it possible to transfer short data files between stations under fair to good conditions. The relatively wide bandwidth (316 Hz) for this mode allows faster baud rates (typing is about 42 WPM) and greater immunity to multi path phase shift. A second version called MFSK8 is available with a lower baud rate (8) but greater reliability for DXing when polar phase shift is a major problem. Both versions are available in a nice freeware Windows program created by IZ8BLY.
To hear what an MFSK16 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

is intended for extremely weak but slowly-varying signals, such as those found on troposcatter or Earth-Moon-Earth (EME, or "moonbounce") paths. It can decode signals many decibels below the noise floor, and often allows amateurs to successfully exchange contact information without signals being audible to the human ear. Like the other digital modes, multiple-frequency shift keying is employed. However unlike the other digitalmodes, messages are transmitted as atomic units after being compressed and then encoded with a process known as forward error correction (or "FEC"). The FEC adds redundancy to the data, such that all of a message may be successfully recovered even if some bits are not received by the receiver. (The particular code used for JT65 is Reed-Solomon.) Because of this FEC process, messages are either decoded correctly or not decoded at all, with very high probability. After messages are encoded, they are transmitted using MFSK with 65 tones. Operators have also begun using the JT65 mode for contacts on the HF bands, often using QRP (very low transmit power usually less than 5 watts). While the mode was not originally intended for HF use, its popularity has resulted in several new programs being developed and enhancements to the original WSJT in order to facilitate HF operation.
To hear what a JT65 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

Olivia was developed by Pawel Jalocha and is a ham radio digital mode designed to work in difficult (low s/n ratios plus multipath propagation) conditions on HF bands. The signal can be decoded even when it is 10-14 db below the noise floor (i.e. when the amplitude of the noise is slightly over 3 times that of the signal). It can also decode well under other noise, QSB, QRM, flutter caused by polar path propagation and even auroral conditions. Currently the only other digital modes that match or exceed Olivia in sensitivity are some of the WSJT program modes that include JT65A and JT65-HF which are certainly limited in usage and definitely not true conversation capable.

The standard Olivia formats (bandwidth/tones) are 125/4, 250/8, 500/16, 1000/32, and 2000/64. However the most commonly used formats in order of use are 500/16, 500/8, 1000/32, 250/8, and 1000/16. This can cause some confusion and problems with so many formats and so many other digital modes. After getting used to the sound and look of Olivia in the waterfall, though, it becomes easier to identify the format when you encounter it. About 90% of all current Olivia activity on the air is one of the 2 formats : 500/16 and 1000/32.
To hear what an Olivia 500/16 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon
To hear what an Olivia 1000/32 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

DominoEX is a digital mode using MFSK (Multi-Frequency Shift Keying), used to send data (for example, hand-typed text) by radio. MFSK sends data using many different tones, sent one at a time. Each tone element ('symbol') can carry several bits of data. Most other digital modes uses each tone to represent only one bit. Thus the symbol rate is much lower for the same data rate when MFSK is used. This is beneficial, since it leads to high sensitivity with good data rate and modest bandwidth. More importantly, low symbol rates are less effected by multi-path reception timing effects.

Therefore MFSK is ideal for HF operation since it has good noise rejection and good immunity to most propagation distortion effects which adversely affect reception of other modes. MFSK is already used on HF by modes such as MFSK16, ALE, THROB and Olivia, but DominoEX improves on the MFSK types of modes by employing an Incremental Frequency Keying strategy. DominoEX is also a reasonably narrow-band mode along the lines of MFSK16 or RTTY.

A narrow-band application of MFSK presents some challenges. The main problem is that radio transceivers with high stability and tuning accuracy are usually required, since very small frequency steps are used for example when ompared with RTTY. MFSK is also prone to interference from data arriving from different ionospheric paths, and like many modes, it is prone to interference from fixed carriers within the data passband. Forward Error Correction (FEC) can be deployed to reduce errors, but such modes can become slow and difficult to operate or the modes consume an excessive an excessive amount of bandwidth. With DominoEX, a different approach was taken, concentrating on perfecting the design for best Near Vertical Incidence Signal or NVIS reception without requiring FEC. All the inherent MFSK problems are also avoided or much reduced.

DominoEX uses a series of new techniques to counter the general limitations of MFSK. To avoid tuning problems, IFK (Incremental Frequency Keying) is used, where the data is represented not by the frequency of each tone, but by the frequency difference between one tone and the next, an equivalent idea to differential PSK. An additional technique, called Offset Incremental Keying (IFK+) is used to manage the tone sequence in order to counter inter-symbol interference caused by multi-path reception. This gives the mode a great improvement in robustness.

Like Olivia above, there are several variations of the DominoEX mode: DominoEX4, DominoEX5, DominoEX8, DominoEX11, DominoEX16 and finally DominoEX22. The higher the number the faster the speed of transmission so difficult conditions it may be wise to use the slower speed, while good conditions might allow for faster speeds.
To hear what a DominoEX8 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon
To hear what a DominoEX16 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

Contestia is a digital mode directly derived from Olivia but not quite as robust. It is more of a compromise between speed and performance. It was developed by Nick Fedoseev, UT2UZ who is also one of the key developers of the MixW Mult-digital mode software application used by many hams. Contestia sounds almost identical to Olivia, can be configured in as many ways, but has essentially twice the speed.

Contestia has 40 formats just like Olivia. The formats vary in bandwidth (125,250,500,1000, and 2000hz) and number of tones used (2,4,8,16,32,64,128, or 256). The most commonly used formats right now seem to be 250/8, 500/16, and 1000/32.

So just how well does Contestia perform under very weak signal conditions. Surprisingly well as it handles QRM, QRN, and QSB very easily. It decodes below the noise level but experience has shown that Olivia still outperforms Contestia depending on which variation of the modes are used. However, Contestia is twice as fast as Olivia on a given variation of each respective mode. It is an excellent weak signal, conversational, QRP, and long distance digital mode. When using it for keyboard to keyboard conversation under fair to good conditions, it can be more preferable to many hams than Olivia because of the faster speed.

Contestia get it's increased speed by using a smaller symbol block size (32) than Olivia (64) and by a using 6-bit decimal character set rather than 7-bit ASCII set that Olivia does. Because it has a reduced character set and does not print out in both upper and lower case. Some traffic nets might not want to use this mode because it does not support upper and lower case characters and extended characters found in many documents and messages. For normal digital chats that does not pose any problem, but also because of these limitations, Contestia has not seen much use and is more of a novelty mode.
To hear what a Contestia signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

"WB8NUT helps write article on Digital Modes for World Radio Magazine
In early 2013 I assisted in writing an article on digital modes for World Radio Magazine titled Diving into the Alphabet Soup. A copy of the article in pdf format can be downloaded by clicking this link. It was published in the April 2013 edition of the on-line magazine."

Download Digital Mode Soundcard Software

Digipan - Great PSK31 Software (Freeware)
FLDigi - Great Multi Mode Application and it runs on Windows, MAC OSX, and Linux. Plenty of add-ons and a messaging package (NBEMS) which is very useful for emergency communication (Freeware)
Hamscope - PSK31, RTTY, ASCII, MFSK, Packet and CW (Freeware)
IZ8BLY Hellschreiber - All popular Hell modes (Freeware)
MixW - The soundcard based software that does all the modes! (Shareware - Reasonable)
Stream by IZ8BLY for MFSK (Freeware)

Need an Interface between your Transceiver and the Computer?
WB8NUT recommends the Donner Digital Interface - Simple, Affordable, Easy to connect!
Works First Time - Every Time
Visit Donner Digital Interfaces by Clicking anywhere on this text!

The Predominate USA HF Digital Frequencies

160 Meters
1.838.150 PSK31,
1.890 SSTV

80 Meters
3.580 to 3.620 Data (RTTY, PSK31, Hellschreiber, MFSK16)
3.620 to 3.635 Packet
3.845 SSTV

40 Meters
7.035.150 PSK31
7.037 Hellschreiber, MFSK16
7.076 JT65
7.080 RTTY
7.171 SSTV

30 Meters

10.130 PSK31
10.130 to 10.140 RTTY
10.137 Hellschreiber
10.140 to 10.150 Packet, APRS

20 Meters
14.063.5 Hellschreiber
14.070.150 PSK31
14.070 to 14.095 RTTY
14.076 JT65
14.080 MFSK16
14.100.5 to 14.112 Packet
14.230 SSTV
14.233 SSTV

17 Meters
18.100 to 18.105 RTTY
18.103 Hellschreiber
18.105 MFSK16
18.105 to 18.110 Packet

15 Meters
21.063 Hellschreiber
21.070 to 21.100 RTTY
21.070.150 PSK31
21.076 JF65
21.080 MFSK16
21.100 to 21.110 Packet
21.340 SSTV

12 Meters
24.920 to 24.925 RTTY
24.925 to 24.930 Packet
24.929 MFSK16

10 Meters
28.070 to 28.150 RTTY
28.076 JT65
28.080 MFSK16
28.120.150 PSK31, Hellschreiber
28.680 SSTV
28.690 SSTV - some SSTV repeaters on this Frequency
28.700 SSTV

6 Meters
50.276 JT65
50.680 SSTV

2 Meters

145.500 SSTV - National SSTV Simplex Frequency for FM
145.550 PSK31, Hellschreiber, MFSK16

this was taken from

for all digital mode software please use :
thanx to Craig AC4M

Thursday, January 28, 2016

ARRL January VHF Contest is here

This coming weekend is the January VHF contest.  Unlike HF contests that fill the bands with stations upon stations, to those who do not participate in the VHF contests these contests go virtually unnoticed as they take place mostly out of site from FM repeater operation that most think of when it comes to VHF.

For those who do weak signal work on VHF, these are weekends the VHF bands, from 6m thru light come alive!!

Many folks don't think they even have the right equipment to get involved or even help out their local VHF operators, but access to the VHF contest may be easier than you think.

Many (if not most) HF rigs these days include 6m.  The 6m band is the lowest of the VHF bands and on 6m you can join in with the VHF excitement!

You can also find some FM operation so your 2m or 70cm mobile rig or HT is sufficient to make contest contacts.   There is actually a FM only class of operation which is trying to encourage more participation.

My favorite class is operating as a rover where I move from grid square to grid square and every time I change a grid I can work stations over again from the new grid.

January VHF contest information can be found here:

You can read about where I will be during the upcoming contest here
If I will be passing someplace near you I would love to work you.  You can track my location here during the contest to find when I am in your area.  Be aware that is a static page so you need to manually refresh to see my position update.

I hope to catch you on the VHF airwaves this weekend!

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