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Old 02-05-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
w6pea
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Default Psk31

Anyone using PSK31 out there. Any one have any experence using it.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:41 PM   #2
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I have used it but haven't used it in awhile. I tried to use it last summer while camping but had so much RF interference and swr issues that I gave up trying. I worked out most of the RF noise and swr issues so will try it again next camping trip.

Not being a great typist when my macros are done things slow down real fast and the other guy see how bad I really am. It is a great way to work DX, I have heard DX stations come in on 20 late at night long after the band had shut down. I made my own interface, 2 600/600 ohm transformers and a opto isolators some cable and connectors and you can build one for less then 10 bucks.

You don't need a lot of power, the way I set up my station is I send a long test or CQ with mic gain all the way down, I then slowely increase the gain while watching ALC and when the ALC just starts to move I back it off again until it goes away plus a little more. I usually run a 40 to 50 watts this way and have a clean signal. It is very easy to over drive the signal and use way to much band width.

When ever I get my HF station setup here at home I will be using it again. Great mode in my book.
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Old 02-06-2008, 06:42 AM   #3
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I like it. It is like a chat room. Right now my antenna is not tunned that low as I am trying to reach some General Class friends on SSB. Until I come up with a different antenna solution eveything is a sacrifice.
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:46 AM   #4
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Well... Just now my ham operation is more or less limited to a hour or so of SSB every evening (Scheduled formal (Wait your turn) net and the informal pre-net (Chaos mode, Just jump in) starting 4pm eastern on 3.935Mhz LSB. However as the weather improves a bit so I don't freeze my non-freezables off when sitting in the ham shack I'll do more PSK-31 as that is my primary mode of operation in the motor home. Really like it. Wrote an article on it IIRC for the Escapee's magazine (And I'm not even a member)

I really like PSK, for one thing in a motor home I'm a tad limited. I mean, I do have a kilowatt of power (In fact my 12 volt converter is almost exactly 1KW capable, and that is just one of the two, on-board converters... The other one is around 1400 watts peak output) but I'm already at the CCC limit for the rig so the weight of a Full Gallon would not be a good thing (Even a full gallon of water is not a good thing, and that's only 8.6 pounds I'm that close to the limit)

So how to put out a signal with decent PUNCH?

Well, Since I have Ham-Scope and DigiPan on my shack computer, and run one (if not both) of them most all the time, I can see the audio spectrum fairly well, Digipan gives me zero to over 5Khz and Ham Scope around 300 to 2700 IIRC (I'm not in the shack just now) I see that most SSB signals are around 2 to 2.5KHz wide.

That means if I'm running 2KW PEP, my power density is 1 watt per Hz. (or less, I have a low voice so i'd not be less) since I'm running 100 Watts (around 200 PEP) I'm at 0.1 watt when using SSB, Not a lot of power per Hz.

On PSK31.... I can easily run 30-50 watts, PSK-31 is 31 Hz wide, so if I'm running 31 watts I'm 1-watt per Hz, same as the SSB user pushing a full gallon.

So, sitting here in Detroit, with a 100 foot long wire tied to a automatic random wire tuner on the back of the bus (Well, Motor home) Can I reach Texas.. (Many times) Nevada (Likewise) Florida (No problem) N.E. Coast (You bet) Over seas (sure thing, and I have the paper to prove it too ) I mean,,, I've never knew that IRC's were no longer green till I put PSK software in the computer and built my interface.

That's another thing.. Though you do need a computer. there is a HOME BREW op in the interface, and there is nothing quite like taking some piece of hardware that YOU designed and built and putting it on the air for the first time and having it work, Even if it's just a computer <-> Radio interface. I mean.. I haven't felt like that since my first NOVICE contact with John Quincy Adams SR.

(NO, I'm not that old and President Adams, far as I know, was not a ham, but my first novice contact was indeed John Qunicy Adams Sr. and he did work for the government)
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:43 PM   #5
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Been running PSK31 for about a year now, both at home and in the 5th wheel. I like it alot...use an Icom 706 and saratoga psk unit...works good together...the one concern is you don't need alot of power...usually run between 20/30 watts...also check your ALC...if you drive that to much you will really have a bad signal, the bandwidth will be real bad, your signal will be dirty...check out K7AGE, I believe that is his call...he has alot of great information on youtube....you can catch me on 40 mtrs or 20 mtrs most nights on PSK freqs. I also like to work FSK (RTTY) and slow scan...good luck on what you do...73 de K3MP Mark
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Old 05-10-2009, 10:18 AM   #6
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This is an old thread but PSK31 has sparked interest in me. I may try to get set up prior to our summer trip. Wonder how many are running PSK31 and what interfaces ?



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Old 05-10-2009, 01:25 PM   #7
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Well, as I said up-thread I use it, or rather I will when I get my laptop compuer back.
(in shop just now)

Inerface is home brew, Compuer audio out (headphone) to isolation Transformer to L-Pad with a capacitor to load it some to balance power over the audio range to Radio

(Radio has 2 mic in-s it has 3 PTT's, which PTT you use chooses which mic in)

Radio audio out to isolation transformer to computer, same basic circuit both ways save for the "L" pad

PTT is an opto isolator on an RS-232 RTS or CTS line I used a pre-packaged LED assembly (As an indicator) a 2nd LED in series to form the control side of hte opto isolator a photo darlington is the other half and a switch in the PTT line to disable it for computer startup and other reasons.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:36 PM   #8
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I run digital 99% of the time, as I dont have the voice for talking, hi... If you think you are embarrassed about typing speed, then go over to Olivia mode or Feldhellschrieber. They are at 20 wpm or less.

My rig at home is an old Kenwood TS-130s (1985 version) running 30 watts if on PSK to keep the ALC in control, but for Olivia or FH or MFSK, ALC isnt much of a worry. At home I use a G5RV antenna. Now for the 5th wheel, I will be using my new IC718 and tomorrow my Signalink USB should arrive. Antennas on the RV are either Hustler coils or a Hamstick on 20M. 2 weeks ago on a trip to the central coast, I did pretty good on SSB testing out the setup. Sure alot of "birdies" in an RV park!! I thought I was surrounded by the Russian Woodpecker again, hi. Band conditions have been rather poor of late, but if anyone wants to have a QSO on any band, give me a shout.

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Old 05-11-2009, 09:07 AM   #9
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Thanks guys. I'm not much into building kits anymore. I think I'm about to order that Signalink USB interface. That's the one I've been looking at. Looks like it would work well with the laptop. Will probably order a harness for the Kenwood TS-450 in the RV.

I've got an old Dell Laptop that still has Windows 98 on it. I think I'll dedicate it to the digital mode. I was wondering what I was going to do with it anyway. I'm not much of a typest, especially on the laptop keyboard.

Thanks for the responses. I'm sure I'll have more questions.



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Old 05-11-2009, 10:04 AM   #10
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Jim.... expect a 4-5 week wait for the Signalink USB interface. Mine should be here today. They cant seem to stay up with orders. They are built right there in Oregon, and not in China at least. Will give you a report on it when I get it hooked up. I know I work alot of guys who use them. DigiPan is probably the easiest program for PSK to run, but since I like to work other modes, I use several others, namely FLdigi, MultiPSK or MixW2.19. FLdigi and MultiPSK are Freeware, but not so MixW2.19. My favorite is FLdigi. There is also Hamscope which is Freeware. All can be downloaded off the internet. Just Google their names.
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:26 AM   #11
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Two or three things on typing speed

1: I use the type ahead buffer, as soon as you send me something I can respond to I start typing, as I'm a touch typist I do not look at the keyboard when I'm typing, I can read your message as I type (and read) my reply. (Multitasking, a MUST for a professional police dispatcher)..

2: Do not even think about trying to keep up with a professional police dispatcher with 25 years of typing experience (I can push 100 WPM if I try, PSK is not that fast, I normally dog it at a much slower rate, perhaps 70WPM)

3: Don't worry about it... Those of us who can type faster than PSK sends. understand that we are actually the minority and ... the more you do it, the better you will be at it.

I recall my first couple of days on the job. when the Detroit Electronic Telecommunications Computer System (DETECS) was down for an hour of routine downtime my Sgt. fired up the old ASR 28, typed out the querry, Figs/H/Letters, tore off the tape loaded it in the reader and pushed the bid button... I said "I'll never type that fast"

Guess what... A month later when DETECS was down for it's routine, I was using the ASR 28 and it was 30 minutes before the troopers on the road knew we were using the old green LEIN (Law Enforcement Information Network) Machine. (Someone ran a file that at 100WPM (the speed of the beast) took like 10 minutes to print)

I can now keep up with that machine.

So my advice on typing is to do it, the more you do it , the better you do it, that simple
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:14 PM   #12
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I just got my new Signalink USB in last week. I don't recall how long it took. She had said they have hired more workers so the manufacturing time should start coming down. I have two of them, one in the home QTH and one in the 5er and I'm using a laptop with that one. Sometimes software set-up takes sometime, depending on which one you use. If you have some issues with set-up let me know, well if you use MixW, or MMTTY engine.

Mark K5WMH
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:00 AM   #13
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Yes, my Signalink USB arrived this afternoon, late, and so "I just had to get it on the air", heh... pretty straight forward.

Also.......I found a new piece of software today, that I really like. It is called, "Airlink Express" and is Freeware. Sorta super dooper Digipan with logging features. Once I got it all figured out, it is a very nice program. It is for PSK, MFSK and RTTY only though. I used it both on PSK and RTTY this evening, and worked great. Just Google "Airlink Express" and several threads will come up, one from the maker. He is a ham also. I really like the waterfall display or you can also use the Spectrum display.
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W6ZKH View Post
Jim.... expect a 4-5 week wait for the Signalink USB interface. Mine should be here today. They cant seem to stay up with orders.
I ordered the SignaLink USB interface from HRO this morning with the Kenwood cable harness. I enjoy ordering from the Atlanta store because I get next day delivery. They have the SignaLink instock. Not in the Atlanta store however. They are shipping it from the New Hampshire store. The good thing is it won't take 4 or 5 weeks. Everyone I've spoken to said the same thing, "a several week delay."

In regards to WA8YXM's typing speed. 100 wpm is superfast. Like I said, I never took a typing course but I get along pretty good. I hardly look at the keyboard. I remember from my old RTTY and Packet days about the type ahead buffer. Remember what we used to refer to as the "brag tape" ? Listed out all your equipment in a text file, punched a macro and there it went. We called it a "tape" because that's what we loaded the software and pre-typed data from. A cassette tape back in the days when Texas Instruments first came out and the old Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I. It was awhile before I got my first disk drive for my second handed Model I. It was the thing back in those days.

Thank for all the help guys. It is appreciated and I'm sure I'll be calling on you again. I'm looking forward to getting on the air with it.



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Old 05-17-2009, 08:50 AM   #15
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Received my SignaLink USB interface last Friday. I've not connected it yet but plan to today. It is much more compact than I imagined.



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Old 05-18-2009, 09:36 AM   #16
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Yes Jim, I was surprised at its size also. Seems to be working fine though. Just be sure to read and re-read the jumper instructions and the setup. I found another good PSK/MFSK/RTTY program, called "AirLink Express". It is freeware at http://www.airlinkexpress.org. Buxcom also has a good primer on PSK and K7AGE has a YouTube video that is good too. Just google those.

I need to call Mountain Radio and see what value or if they will send me a replacement pot for my Rigblaster plus interface. I kinda tweaked that pot ... "just alittle too much", hi... A warning they have in the manual, by the way. That is the interface I use on the Kenwood TS-130s. The schematic on the manual is so small, even with a magnifying glass I cant still read the value of that pot, but think it 500 ohm. I can replace it myself, if I can find a replacemnt. Trying to figure out how I can outboard it with a "real" pot, hi...

John
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:56 PM   #17
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John,

Thanks for the info on the software I downloaded it. I've not looked at it yet. I still have to do a couple of things to complete install. I'm decoding but have not attempted to make a contact yet. Too many other projects going on here. I am amazed at the noisey, light signals it decodes. Lots of DX on 20 meters.

I'll keep you posted and maybe we can make a contact. Hope you get your pot replaced. Oh yes, the jumpers for the TS2000 and the TS450 are the same, so that works out good. Those are the two rigs I'll be running.



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Old 05-19-2009, 09:25 AM   #18
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I have had Hamscope decode signals I could neither hear on the speaker or see on the waterfall... but perfect text was displayed on the text receive window.

And what's amazing is that I can crank my 100 watt TS-2000 down to 20-40 watts and chat with folks I could never even hear on SSB running the full 100 watt input that the TS-2000 can do.. Such is the nature of Digital

Another interesting thing about this is that Television is converting from analog to digital, and I keep reading how the digital transmissions will be lower power and thus won't get out as good........ Just like my 20-30 watts of PSK don't get out as good as 100 SSB.. Oh, wait, PSK (Digital) Does get out as good as SSB (Analog) at 3 times the power.. IN fact. it gets out BETTER
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:05 PM   #19
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The only software I've used so far is DigiPan John. I've not got it all configured yet. I've got it receiving and transmitting, so I'm about ready to go. I'll get a little more familiar with the software and put it on the air. I may wish to switch to a different program so I can run other modes.

I was going to ask you guys running the TS2000's in digital modes how much or what percentage of power you run. I like my TS2000 and certainly don't want to heat up my finals or tax them in anyway. I thought 20 to 25 watts would probably be about the maximum power I would run.

I've got the interface tied to my Sony Vaio right now. I want to configure my old Dell laptop (runs Windows 98) for the digital modes. I'll dedicate it for that. It's not much good for other applications. That will leave the Sony free for my YL to use while we are RV'ing with wifi and things.

Added info:
I got on 40 meters with an old friend. He was my first CW contact as a novice, he's now my first digital contact. We ran PSK31 for awhile. I learned a few other things. I later was printing Russia on 40 and some other dx. Interesting mode.



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Old 05-20-2009, 08:44 AM   #20
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Congrat's Jim..... now you are a real "diddler", hi.... That AirLink Express cant run on Win98, as requires XP or Vista. That DigiPan is good, and is a good starter program to get your feet wet with. For more multi-mode, try MultiPSK (again freeware) as it has most of all the other modes including Olivia (which I like the best), Hellschriber and others. It will work with Win98. One thing nice about Olivia and Hellschriber too is that it is slow speed, so no matter how many fingers you type with, you can usually keep ahead of it, hi... Olivia 16/500 is the most common, with 8/500 next and more and more are using 8/500. I also like to play with 8/250 too. On 40, you will find most of the non-PSK guys are at 7072 or above, and on 20, 14072-14075. Yes, most of us are running less than 30 watts for digital. I work the JA's and UA0's pretty much if I can hear them, even with my 50ohm load resistor antenna known as a G5RV, hi. Band has been open in the mornings to Asia here recently.

Just give me a shout when you'd like to try a QSO.

John
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