Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lots of interest in WSPR 2.0 - and the changing nature of QSOs

I can see from the search results on the blog that a lot of people are interested in the new version of WSPR from Joe, K1JT. Just to encourage you further, I wanted to pass along some excellent results which a couple of friends have had since installing the new version of software.

Pete, 2E0SQL set up WSPR, running 5w on 10.140 and was delighted to find that his signals were received by ZL2FT in New Zealand. And Jerry, KD0BIK has been trying WSPR out too and was getting great reports from all across the USA last night.

I was contemplating how I can get some WSPR going at home. I can use the FT1000 and main antenna, but I was wondering about setting up the FT817 and a small portable antenna (the one I use on holidays) and see just how far I can make that go. I'll have to see if I can interface the FT817 with my laptop, which doesn't have a COM port! Hopefully I can fix something up and we'll see what happens.

I was thinking last night about how activity such as WSPR, APRS, Propnet and so on do not comprise 'typical' radio contacts. If I hear you on WSPR and you hear me, did we make a contact? Probably not, although we could probably argue by at least one definition of a 'contact' that we'd exchanged some unknown information - I think we fall down on the fact that we can't verify that the information was successfully received. Not on the radio at least!

But back to the original point that WSPR, APRS, PropNet etc do not fit with our traditional type radio contacts. Do we care? I'm not sure I do! Although some people enjoy long conversations on HF, that's at least partially the preserve of those who are lucky enough to have nice large antennas! (Yes, I know that's simplistic). For the rest of us, we're probably happy to get through, exchange a quick report and move on. I know I am.

But what I like about WSPR, APRS and PropNet is that I know that 'someone or something' will be listening and if there's propagation, then I'll know that someone heard my signals.

Comes down, I suppose to the fact that for me, Amateur Radio is largely about the Medium, not the Message. YMMV.

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