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Author Topic: Proper format of a test signal  (Read 3001 times)
KF7QGA
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Posts: 19




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« on: July 14, 2011, 03:15:31 PM »

The other day I was sending test signals while doing antenna experiments, with another ham listening to tell me (over the internet) whether my signal got better or worse.  I read that "vvv" is a test or channel holder, and I've heard w1aw use it, so I sent something like this:

vvv vvv vvv vvv vvv de kf7qga sk

It turned out to be a great night for antenna testing.  Not only did I improve my antenna, but every time I sent a test signal, I got an answer which led to a QSO.  My batting average for test signals far exceeds that for cq's Grin

As fun as it was to get answers to my test broadcast, it did make me wonder if I'm doing it right.  Is that the proper format for a one-way, no-reply-expected test signal?  I wonder about the v's, and also if "sk" is the right way to end it.

Thanks & 73,
Wayne Conrad KF7QGA
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 03:27:27 PM by KF7QGA » Logged
K7KBN
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Posts: 2764




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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2011, 06:24:55 PM »

I've generally used TEST VVV VVV TEST DE K7KBN AR if I'm not expecting an answer.  Traditionally, SK is used right at the end of the last exchange of a QSO: 73 KF7QGA DE K7KBN SK.  I've always understood that after the SK, the other station would be tuning off that frequency and looking for someone calling CQ, or maybe taking a break.

Now, in military comms, there is no "SK", and AR means "Out", as in "I'm done with this exchange and I'm not waiting for a reply".  Since I'd learned code before I went into the Navy in the early '60s, I'd heard (and sent) things like KF7QGA DE K7KBN AR K.  If you really wanted to mess with a radioman's mind back then, sending "AR K" would do it.  AR indicating "I'm not waiting for a reply," and then K, meaning "over - go ahead with your reply"!

But back to your question - SK wouldn't be my choice if you were actually looking for a QSO, but since the station came back to you, it served a purpose.  There's nothing hard and fast about testing other than making sure the frequency isn't already in use, and then keeping it as short as reasonably possible.

Enjoy!
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KE4ILG
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Posts: 149




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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2011, 06:27:42 PM »

I am not in anyway qualified to answer your question other than to say I also might respond to your "test" signal.  In my mind I would think you might want a "report" from me. So I don't find it surprising that others have responded.  Also I have done the same exact thing, VVV VVV de ke4ilg sk.  Congrats on getting your antenna to work better.  73 Mike ke4ilg
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KC9TNH
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Posts: 304




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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2011, 06:18:43 AM »

I'd never try to trump a Navy Radioman 'cause, whew, they learn to run stuff in extraordinary fashion out where there's no help. In terms of what constitutes the end of a transmission or a particular message [AR] does it for me. (Most of the readings I've seen treat [SK] when used in a chat to be rude if sent right at the very end, even though that's not necesssarily its function. I was taught to [SK] in your last, perhaps followed by 73's and call.) You said you were testing - and then there's the end of the test transmission. [AR]

[AR] - in the Army anyway - was literally end-of-message or transmission - could be a one-liner or "War and Peace." In a narrative message it follows the 2nd [BT] that indicates end of the message TEXT itself. (The use of multiple [BT]'s as a substitute for expedient punctuation is not a MIL thing - in a MIL narrative message there are only two.)  The [AR] function is a migrated equivalent from the old American Morse 'fn' (finished). Doesn't mean done for the day; just that I'm finished with this transmission.

If I were going to be running a test for some reason, and might run more than one, I'd end it with [AR] and sleep well.

vvv vvv vvv de kc9tnh [AR]

If you don't want to be contacted at all you could end with QRT or [CL] indicating you're not amenable to a follow-on contact or simply shutting down/closing station & won't even be there if someone does call back.

vvv vvv vvv de kc9tnh QRT (don't transmit to me)
vvv vvv vvv de kc9tnh [CL] (closing NOW; you can call back if you want but nobody's home)

However, unless you do have that friend on the net in some fashion (or a monitor) to give you some feedback you're right, it is very nice to have someone come up briefly to say 'Hi, listened to your test and the report is..." Like you, some friendly QSOs have resulted from folks who came back with a sig rpt for me, as they inquire just "what" it is that's under test.

I know several nets that use [AR] at the end of their v's when calling upon the net to zero-beat the Net Control Station. That would be a proper use of it in my mind also. They're not expecting a reply; they're expecting you to comply and that you've done so by the time they get to the end of their transmission. K7KBN puts up a funny scenario: I can't picture an NCS using QNZ [AR] K.
"ZERO BEAT THIS STATION" - "And by the way, how'd y'all do?"
lol!
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2011, 07:33:56 AM »

Ha,

Ham for over 65 years, I remember to transmit "test" as part of my vvv msg.

NEVER do that, NEVER use "test" because during a contest you got a tsunami of replies.

vvv vvv vvv  pa0blah  de pa0blah pse kn is a perfect idea

« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 03:16:44 PM by PA0BLAH » Logged
K7KBN
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Posts: 2764




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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2011, 05:27:52 PM »

Ha,

Ham for over 65 years, I remember to transmit "test" as part of my vvv msg.

NEVER do that, NEVER use "test" because during a contest you got a tsunami of replies.

vvv vvv vvv  pa0blah  de pa0blah pse kn is a perfect idea

Why "kn"??  KN means "go ahead specific station.  Generally used when more than one station is answering a CQ.  Listen to the call signs, pick out the one you want to talk to, and answer: PA0BLAH DE K7KBN KN.  This tells all the stations other than PA0BLAH to stand by. 

But sending a test message and ending it with "PSE KN" doesn't make sense, because you don't know if there is a "specific station" preparing to answer.  Why not do the QSVing, check the antenna readings, and segue right into a short CQ?  The QSV will have stirred up the airwaves, so to speak - you've likely attracted attention already, so ...VVV VVV CQ CQ CQ DE K7KBN K7KBN K might let them know you're done with the test and ready to work the world.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2011, 04:50:12 AM »

Pat,
mni tks rply.

In the case I want to transmit a long time duration signal and hope to prevent that hams are waiting for a k;
which is fr example the case when I want to tune on different remote web receivers in order to check my own signal,
and rotate the antenna in different directions, and exhange antennas, it looked like a vy gd idea to me.

An exclusive invitation to answer your own signal, with the same msg. Everybody hearing that should understand that this might be a loing duration test.

Another possibility could be: KA vvv vvv de pa0blah nil qrv fr QSO AR

what do you think abt that?

Bob
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5694




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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2011, 06:42:33 AM »

Whatever you send, I'd go along with NOT sending "dah, dit, dididit, dah' - TEST - in there, for indeed contesters all over the world would perk up and take notice...


If I ever do send an on-air test like that, I just throw the 3 v's out there followed by the "de" and my callsign.  If a lot of people start responding to it, I'd just figure that either the test was successful or at least the band condx were happening for me and I'd likely change over to sending CQ at that point, testing can wait. 


73
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2764




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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2011, 12:04:02 PM »

Pat,
mni tks rply.

In the case I want to transmit a long time duration signal and hope to prevent that hams are waiting for a k;
which is fr example the case when I want to tune on different remote web receivers in order to check my own signal,
and rotate the antenna in different directions, and exhange antennas, it looked like a vy gd idea to me.

An exclusive invitation to answer your own signal, with the same msg. Everybody hearing that should understand that this might be a loing duration test.

Another possibility could be: KA vvv vvv de pa0blah nil qrv fr QSO AR

what do you think abt that?

Bob

Hi Bob --

Interesting - listening for your own signal on a web receiver...but how many hams actually DO that?  I'll probably be surprised by the answer, but I had to ask anyway.

As long as the power is kept low and you identify at the required times there shouldn't be any complaint from anybody.  The "... nil QRV fr QSO" ... I think I'd just replace it with a short CQ de K7KBN K. 
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K9ZMD
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Posts: 169




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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2011, 12:28:03 PM »

I can understand why someone might ask the question, but I'm perplexed by the replies about Q-signals & pro-signs.  Honestly, aren't there already enough rules to follow without inhibiting ourselves by inventing new ones?.

"VVV VVV VVV TEST DE K9ZMD" is self-explanatory.  Similar to "hello test, test, test K9ZMD" on SSB. 

If you're not a military station, or not on a controlled network, then the only rule to follow is covered by transmission of your call sign.  Since you don't expect anyone to be listening, there's no need to tell anyone that you're done.  If someone is listening, they'll quickly conclude you're finished when you stop transmitting. 

If someone happens to reply to your test transmission, you can choose to answer . . . or not.  But, if you're hoping for someone to hear & reply to your signal, then send a CQ instead of a bunch of V's.

The word TEST has a meaning that pre-dates contesting on the amateur radio bands.  You can use it without fear.  If contest stations do reply, that's their problem.  You can choose to answer . . . or not.  It might be amusing, though, to learn what exchange format they think is appropriate for the VVV VVV VVV contest.  Or, it might even be fun to ask them what their computer copied instead of the VVV VVV VVV TEST that you sent.

Gary, K9ZMD/7
Ridgefield, WA
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2011, 12:49:46 PM »

Tks Pat,

At www.websdr.org you will find a collection of remote receiver stations. Give it a try when you like.

Here in Holland at the university Twente, a rx was designed that samples the complete hf band, and fed to a 1000 MB/s ethernet interface with a PC,

The receiver is able to serve over a 100 hams logging in from all over the world on 6 amateurbands simultaneously. Java must be activated in your computer.  There is an old moving 80 feet diameter disk, formely used for astronomical research, that is now used or going te be used for moonbouncing, and that receiver is designed to be part of the link.

off topic: yesterday a 1000 ft antenna collapsed due to fire here:
http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2011/07/15/bekijk-hoe-de-zendmast-van-hoogersmilde-instort/

tks Pat 73 hv a gd day Bob
« Last Edit: July 16, 2011, 01:50:41 PM by PA0BLAH » Logged
K7KBN
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Posts: 2764




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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2011, 05:05:18 PM »

I can understand why someone might ask the question, but I'm perplexed by the replies about Q-signals & pro-signs.  Honestly, aren't there already enough rules to follow without inhibiting ourselves by inventing new ones?.

"VVV VVV VVV TEST DE K9ZMD" is self-explanatory.  Similar to "hello test, test, test K9ZMD" on SSB. 

If you're not a military station, or not on a controlled network, then the only rule to follow is covered by transmission of your call sign.  Since you don't expect anyone to be listening, there's no need to tell anyone that you're done.  If someone is listening, they'll quickly conclude you're finished when you stop transmitting. 

If someone happens to reply to your test transmission, you can choose to answer . . . or not.  But, if you're hoping for someone to hear & reply to your signal, then send a CQ instead of a bunch of V's.

The word TEST has a meaning that pre-dates contesting on the amateur radio bands.  You can use it without fear.  If contest stations do reply, that's their problem.  You can choose to answer . . . or not.  It might be amusing, though, to learn what exchange format they think is appropriate for the VVV VVV VVV contest.  Or, it might even be fun to ask them what their computer copied instead of the VVV VVV VVV TEST that you sent.

Gary, K9ZMD/7
Ridgefield, WA

Hi Gary - good post!  I'd just add that if you DO use the word "test", be sure to send it correctly.  Nothing sounds quite as "liddish" to me as "NST".  But W6ISQ noted that in one of his late-1950s-era columns in QST much better than I ever could.
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Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2011, 04:00:34 AM »

I can understand why someone might ask the question, but I'm perplexed by the replies about Q-signals & pro-signs.  Honestly, aren't there already enough rules to follow without inhibiting ourselves by inventing new ones?.

Gary, tks for your reply.

The point is not that there are already so much restrictions by law. It is as a matter of fact "self regulation"

When the law says, you as a licensed amateur may tramsnit between 3500 and 4000 kHz, a bandplan is created by the ARRL , perhaps you are not a member of that private organisation,  that plan is not enforceble. When you handle in such a way that you obey the law and nothing else, you may know what happens, A lot of quarrels that deminish the joy we all can have and hope to have from amateur radio.

So, I hope that a long automatic generated CW test msg is compiled in such a way that a minimum of people may  experience it as annoying, or more annoying than necessary, That's all.

Quote
The word TEST has a meaning that pre-dates contesting on the amateur radio bands.  You can use it without fear.  If contest stations do reply, that's their problem. 

Gary, K9ZMD/7
Ridgefield, WA

That's right, but including the word TEST during a contest, yields  a lot of hams responding, so they got annoyed and lose valuable contest time, when they discover that it is "some idiot" using lawfully the frequency in order to do technical experiments, that exactly the only reason is his license is issued for.

Bob
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