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Author Topic: Dxpeditions and PSK31?  (Read 5724 times)
AJ4RW
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« on: June 26, 2012, 01:36:01 PM »

Could anyone please explain to me why most dxpeditions don't use PSK31 for a communication mode?
Thanks Randy AJ4RW
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W5DQ
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2012, 05:34:56 PM »

Could anyone please explain to me why most dxpeditions don't use PSK31 for a communication mode?
Thanks Randy AJ4RW

One reason I have heard batted about is the possible rates for QSOs is low with PSK31. I know that some DXpeditions don't even do RTTY but many setup a special station just to do RTTY. Not sure if that is it but makes plausible sense.

Not to mention many PSK31 ops, once contact is made, like to hit the 'SEND ALL MACROS' and will not turn over the QSO until they have sent the first 45 years of their life experiences along with their complete medical profile. That's why I don't do PSK31 anymore .... I hate long winded macros!

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
AD6KA
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 06:36:35 PM »

Gene is right on both counts.
While not a DXpedition per se, I operated
from Madagascar as 5R8GQ in Fall of 2000.
(Terrific propagation that year.....)

When the bands weren't busy or I wasn't spotted,
I had a lot of really fun QSO's. If I was was spotted,
it quickly degenerated into a FUBAR goat rodeo.

You can't really operate split with PSK, like
you can do very easily do with RTTY.
And it is very difficult copy with two dozen or more
PSK stations calling you, all on top of each other.
Rates are just not worth it, like Gene said,
not to mention frustration level. Not fun.

Even when I transmitted:
"SEND CALL AND REPORT ONLY! MANY CALLING!"
it seemed every third QSO was a full on Multi Macro Dump
tying up the frequency for minutes at a time. I even changed
frequency in the middle of some of these dumps.

73, Ken  AD6KA  ex 5R8GQ
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 11:52:54 PM »

. . .
You can't really operate split with PSK, like
you can do very easily do with RTTY.
And it is very difficult copy with two dozen or more
PSK stations calling you, all on top of each other.
Rates are just not worth it, like Gene said,
not to mention frustration level. Not fun.
. . . .
 
73, Ken  AD6KA  ex 5R8GQ

I think that PSK31 is a poor contest mode.  With several callers using _exactly_ the same frequency, it's very hard for the DX station to pick out (or even decode!) a single signal to respond to.

With RTTY operating split, and five callers spread out over a few kHz of bandwidth, the DX station can pick _one_ signal and respond to it.

         Charles

PS -- I am working from theory, here; I've never been on the receiving end of a big pileup.
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AJ4RW
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 04:47:10 AM »

Thanks everyone for the info.  Satisfied my curiosity.
Randy AJ4RW
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2012, 05:50:18 AM »

From my experience as one of the 13 Colonies Special Event, South Carolina stations, I have to agree with the previous posts.  I operated exclusively on PSK31 and was plagued with "Macro Dumpers". 

Now here is the ironic twist, I am going to use a macro to transmit a message detailing the expected exchange AND use it during this year's event.  I also use a macro to do "AutoCQ" calls when the pickings dry up and for other often repeated exchanges.

Macros, when used wisely, are a useful tool.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 09:36:49 PM »

Long-winded macro-laced responses are indeed a major problem, but operating split is not. If you're using a digital mode application that can decode multiple PSK signals simultaneously, split operation can be extremely effective. Juergen DL8LE obtained excellent results with this approach during his XF4DL operation back in 2006.

    73,

         Dave, AA6YQ
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G0GQK
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 11:11:06 AM »

Macro's used properly are the only way. Just give Call,59.name, QTH, locator and pass it back to the DX. They should send Call,59, Name, QTH and locator and 73, You respond with GL 73 then clear off, and let somebody else have a go. How long does that take ?

Mel G0GQK
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AD6KA
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2012, 12:09:00 PM »

Quote
Macro's used properly are the only way.

"Used properly" being the operative phrase.

If ops used them as you describe all would work well.
But when many stations are calling you, and the macros (plural)
being sent describe every little thing in the other guy's shack, the
clock speed and RAM of the computer used, etc, it gets old
fast.
Ken  AD6KA
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2012, 02:27:49 AM »

Theoretically, PSK31 should be an expeditions dream mode.
Great low signal performance, low power capable, ability to see up to 20 PSK31 stations at once in browser type programs such as HRD or Fldigi.
Split operation is trivial with any transceiver, since you just watch the entire 3Khz bandwidth and pick who you want, while staying put yourself.
In every metric, except needing a linear amplifier, it is superior to RTTY - which being FSK, can use a class C amp.

But, and in this I agree with the other posts, its users have a chronic urge to press the macro buttons.
I have sat through the interminable brag macro's while the poor DX station is probably grinding their teeth.

But keep in mind that macros are not part of the PSK31 specification, any more than they are part of RTTY.
It is the users which are not mindful of their proper use with rare stations who are being inappropriate, not the mode.

Luckily, these days, changing modes from RTTY to PSK31 to SSTV or HELL is as easy as a mouse click, so the mode is largely incidental.
In my opinion, dxpeditions mode selection represents the operators taste more than the ideal mode - and of course, that is their right.

73 - Rob
« Last Edit: June 29, 2012, 02:37:58 AM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
AA4PB
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2012, 05:53:16 AM »

The problem with having 20 stations in the waterfall all at one time is that if one of them is very strong then the weaker stations get wiped out. Yes, you can handle that with filters but it takes time for the operator to set the filters each time conditions change. Even so, PSK31 does have its advantages.

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W3HF
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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2012, 06:46:27 PM »

I also agree with most of what was said. I operated from KH2 for ten days a few months ago, exclusively on PSK, and even posted (to the 070 club's reflector) a sarcastic treatise on "How to Work a DXpedition [on PSK31]." I may post that here if there's interest, but I have to comment on something.

...
You can't really operate split with PSK, like
you can do very easily do with RTTY.
And it is very difficult copy with two dozen or more
PSK stations calling you, all on top of each other
...

While the comment about copying with everyone calling on-frequency is correct, it is absolutely NOT correct that you can't operate split on PSK. The key is to let your software do it, not the radio, and it's arguably easier than tuning in a "split up" RTTY signal.

Most DXers are used to using twin VFOs for split operation. But the panoramic display of most PSK software, and the ability of all new (i.e., within the past five years) to copy multiple signals simultaneously make it easy to work split without touching the radio. Just lock your transmit frequency (in the software) and then "click around" to find the signal you want to work. I'd call "CQ split up 100-300 Hz" and it was very effective when too many signals were calling me. Without even touching the radio I could simultaneously copy four/five/six or more stations calling, click on them to "grab" the callsign, and bang out the macros. I'm sure the rate wasn't quite as good as the DXpeditions would want to see, but a little faster than one per minute was pretty good in my book.

And the fact that many stations were able to call and work me split means that I'm not the only one who knows how to do this.
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KC2UCA
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2012, 06:15:02 AM »

The problem with having 20 stations in the waterfall all at one time is that if one of them is very strong then the weaker stations get wiped out. Yes, you can handle that with filters but it takes time for the operator to set the filters each time conditions change. Even so, PSK31 does have its advantages.



You are right, Setting the filters can be exhausting, although a lot can be overcome by the new software that's available. I use HRD and Signal link USB. The Singal Link USB has made it a lot easier.

Kabir Rekhi
KC2UCA
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AJ4RW
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2012, 01:57:58 PM »

Thanks to everyone for their input to this question, it gives me a fairly good idea of why I don't see BPSK31 being used as much but here comes a twist.  I'm talking from a nontechnical background as far as digital is concerned but why is RTTY a part of every DXPEDITIONS modes to be used and not PSK31 as much?  Both modes can go split and most software programs have both modes available.  The op of the dxpedition still has a problem with the large macro users but they go to the next one and not lose a breath.  Could one of the reasons PSK isn't used is because dxpeditions use amps and using psk31 with an amp is a no no and switching between the amp being on or off is cumbersome.  This is just my thoughts on the subject and what do you think?
Thanks 73 de Randy AJ4RW
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K0YQ
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« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2012, 01:59:44 AM »

W7AY and others have discussed much on this subject on the RTTY reflector.  You'll be able to print RTTY in many conditions that PSK31 won't print, polar flutter being one such case for example.  Since many DXpeditions involve difficult paths... 

http://lists.contesting.com/_rtty/2008-10/msg00029.html

You can Google W7AY for more technical details.  Chen is an incredible resource on technical digi mode issues.
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