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Thread: Where to Start

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Default Where to Start

    So, I have the ARRL book, "Get on the Air with HF Digital," and it covers PSK31, RTTY, WSJT modes, MFSK and Olivia, PACTOR and WSPR.

    The question is, which would be a good place to start? I have limited reception and transmission capabilities due to antenna restrictions where I live.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Default where to start

    I suggest you try WSJT mode FT8 first. Designed for 'weak signals', you do not need fancy antennas and can make QSOs with ten watts!
    Layne AE1N

  3. #3

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    Default

    Thanks - I'll get into it and see what it's all about.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator pmh's Avatar
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    Default

    I started out with PSK31, as FT8 wasn’t around, and I am glad I did.

    Being experienced at PSK, RTTY, and Hell, FT8 looked a bit more complicated in comparison. It isn’t, just a slightly different process, and much faster.

    The learning advantage of PSK31, for me, was that it is a lot slower, and very much a manual process. As such, I felt that this gave me a better understanding of what was going on.

    Kind regards,



    Phil

  5. #5

    Default

    I agree that FT8 is a weak signal mode, I just do not like it.
    It is very fast, fast in action and in the fact that there are really no conversations... just exchange of minor bits of info and moving on... if you are a contester, however you will love it.
    If you like more than a hi/bye it will not suit you well.
    I am a bit of a rag chewer I admit, so PSK31 is much more enjoyable to me and is picked up quickly.
    You still do not need much power or much in the way of an antenna, I operate PSK31 daily from my office using 25 watts and a tarheel screwdriver antenna sitting on the roof in a tripod.

  6. #6

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    Default

    Good points - I've actually been reading about both. I'll probably try each.

  7. #7

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    Default

    So I've played around with PSK31 a bit but I'm not seeing much activity on any of the bands. I was receiving some conversation Sunday afternoon in the multi-channel window (Digipan) and I was trying to communicate but couldn't. I've since figured out why I couldn't and it's just a lack of understanding the software on my part.

    I've been trying to see something in the morning the last couple of days but really nothing there to see. Is it just not that popular anymore?

  8. #8

    Default

    As mentioned by another poster, you probably should try FT8 first.

    https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html

    If you really want other digital modes, I receive PSK31 and Olivia on 7070 kHz here in Maryland almost every night.

    Ben

  9. #9

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    Default

    I finally got to communicate this morning on PSK31 and he said there's very little activity on it anymore. So I bought Ham Radio Deluxe and will install it tonight and use it to give Olivia a try. I understand FT8 isn't so much of a two-way communications vehicle but more for just making contacts. At this point that doesn't sound too interesting so hopefully we'll find Olivia to be a bit more active.

  10. #10

    Default

    last couple months PSK31 on 20 meters has been the same 7 or 8 guys on during the day.

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