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Author Topic: QSK: Why does anyone hardly use it?  (Read 13903 times)
NV2A
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Posts: 115




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« on: October 27, 2013, 06:50:39 AM »

A good percentage of the rigs today have QSK so that we can listen between our cw characters but you hardly every hear anyone use it.  It is such a tremendous advantage for the slower cw op.  Simply send a string of dots why the other guy is still sending and he'll know you missed the last word and he'll repeat it.  I'd really like to see this fantastic feature used more often.  As it is now, many of us just take advantage of it to see f anyone is interfering with our xmission.
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W5UXH
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Posts: 20




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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2013, 09:49:10 AM »

I suspect one reason is many ops run the RF gain all the way up instead of backing it down as low as appropriate for the band conditions.  They then hear max band noise for each RX recovery between elements (or characters). I can understand them not wanting to hear all that noise, but I have no reason to keep the RF gain up.

I have only used QSK since my Novice days when I used separate ants on my DX-20 and RAL-7 (Navy superregen RX) and back to back diodes on the RX ant input.  Not exactly clean QSK in those days.  My HW-16 was much better Smiley  So, 53 years, all CW, all QSK, with RF gain backed off appropriately.

Along with the usual reasons to use QSK (know if QRM starts on top of you or if the other op needs to answer the phone or spouse) my main use is when I find the rare QSO where we have a proper conversation, back and forth, one topic at a time.  I ask a question, no BK or call signs needed (except every 10 mins of course), the other op answers the question immediately.  The other op makes a comment and pauses for a second, I know I can comment on what was just said if I have something to say.  Natural conversation, not the typical "QSO".  Even if only one op is using QSK, it is still easy to have a decent back and forth QSO since there is no danger of doubling, the non-QSK op knows if they start to send to make a comment, the QSK op will hear and not continue if they were actually going to add something else.
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WX7G
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Posts: 6078




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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2013, 12:31:02 PM »

I run QSK but initially found it disconcerting to hear the band between CW elements. And there is relay chatter. Try QSK on the Ameritron amps having open frame relays and you'll know why owners of these amps don't run QSK.
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W5UXH
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Posts: 20




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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2013, 01:53:25 PM »

Sure, you need the right rig, no clunky relay amp is considered to be QSK.  But many modern transceivers are capable of decent QSK without relays, or with very quiet ones, some far better than others of course.  Some ops use the AD5X mode for the ALS-600 to replace the internal clunky relay with reasonable mechanical relays that provide decent QSK, at speeds over 60 wpm.  The AL-80BQ amp has the internal PIN diode QSK switch, no relay at all and works great.  No way I would use an AL-80B or similar amp with the clunky relays.  They definitely are not intended to follow keying. 

The AD5X relay circuit can also be built in an external box to work with non-QSK amps.  I have built and used several of them.

I run QSK but initially found it disconcerting to hear the band between CW elements. And there is relay chatter. Try QSK on the Ameritron amps having open frame relays and you'll know why owners of these amps don't run QSK.
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K9IUQ
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Posts: 1827




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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2013, 04:44:41 PM »

A good percentage of the rigs today have QSK so that we can listen between our cw characters but you hardly every hear anyone use it. 

Personally I hate QSK, I have tried it many times and it just confuses me and makes me send poorly. I hate VOX too, never use it anymore, give me PTT or my foot switch.

QSK is just an ego trip. No one needs it to send your call and 599 TU.  Cheesy

Stan K9IUQ
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GW3OQK
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Posts: 148




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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2013, 02:47:09 AM »

Personally I love QSK, I always use it, and its all I have ever used since I made my first rigs in 1960s. The professionals always used it. I thought every serious amateur used it.

I was astonished when I bought an FT101 recently and found it does not do full QSK. I had not realised that a manufacturer would make quipment that could not QSK, so I only use it as a receiver now. Sometimes I hear a transmission which clips the first character, which could be due to the relay mentioned in the postings. Example FQ for CQ. If I answered I would give a helpful QSD.

People who dont use QSK and carry on sending over the top of another transmission are a menace. IMO.

73 Andrew
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K9IUQ
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Posts: 1827




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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2013, 04:03:58 AM »

People who dont use QSK and carry on sending over the top of another transmission are a menace. IMO.


A pretty strong assessment. I am a menace I guess and will continue to be so. It is a better option than sending poor code the other ham can not decipher. Not everyone can chew bubble gum and walk at the same time. I am one of those.....

Stan K9IUQ
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N0IU
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Posts: 1298


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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2013, 04:44:46 AM »

People who dont use QSK and carry on sending over the top of another transmission are a menace. IMO.

A menace to whom? For every other amateur mode, one has to wait until the other station stops transmitting before you can start transmitting. Does that mean that all phone and digital users are menaces too?
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NI0C
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Posts: 2406




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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2013, 05:14:10 AM »

In theory, I love full QSK, and used it when I was a kid, mostly when handling traffic and rag-chewing.  For DX'ing, however, I find it only a marginal benefit.  I keep from being a "menace" in the pileups by keeping my transmissions short-- one or two calls.

I've also found it difficult to implement full-QSK in a high power station.  Even though my transceiver and amplifier are both QSK capable, most of the time I use an external receive amplifier with a preamp that must be shut off with the key down.  The extra delay introduced by that switching precludes the use of QSK.  I don't miss it.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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N3HEE
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2013, 06:02:56 AM »

I use and like QSK for many reasons.  QSK has nothing to do with EGO.  I believe QSK promotes better operating practices in that the op can be more aware of his surroundings while he's transmitting.  I find it very useful for DX operations where I can hear the DX station at all times and not send over top of him or others.  I find it useful in the event I accidentally call CQ on a frequency that I asked QRL but the other op could not hear my QRL.  I find it useful in conversations where the other op can interrupt me without needing to wait for me to finish and vice versa.  I do think there is a learning curve to getting the RF\AF gains and side tone level set correctly.  Once set correctly there should be no distraction as your transmitted side tone blends in with the other received signals.   There are many amplifiers and or mods to accommodate QSK operation as well as those using separate RX antenna systems.  I use both and have perfect QSK.  I would ask others to give it another try with proper settings and have some patience to get the feel for it.  Once you get it, you'll get it !!  - Joe N3HEE
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N3IG
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Posts: 39




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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2013, 06:04:32 AM »

     I agree with the rig comment above, even modern rigs vary. I do not use it on my FT-950 due  to the T/R relay noise is distracting. On my KX-3 the little red LED is the only thing that tells you that you are transmitting, no T/R sound at all so it is a joy to use QSK.
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NI0C
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Posts: 2406




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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2013, 06:57:15 AM »

I use and like QSK for many reasons.  QSK has nothing to do with EGO.  I believe QSK promotes better operating practices in that the op can be more aware of his surroundings while he's transmitting.  I find it very useful for DX operations where I can hear the DX station at all times and not send over top of him or others.  I find it useful in the event I accidentally call CQ on a frequency that I asked QRL but the other op could not hear my QRL.  I find it useful in conversations where the other op can interrupt me without needing to wait for me to finish and vice versa.  I do think there is a learning curve to getting the RF\AF gains and side tone level set correctly.  Once set correctly there should be no distraction as your transmitted side tone blends in with the other received signals.   There are many amplifiers and or mods to accommodate QSK operation as well as those using separate RX antenna systems.  I use both and have perfect QSK.  I would ask others to give it another try with proper settings and have some patience to get the feel for it.  Once you get it, you'll get it !!  - Joe N3HEE

I run 1.0 KW to a vertical which is only 50 ft. from my Rx antenna and preamp.  Sorry. I'm not going to risk blowing out a preamp in order to operate the way you recommend. 
73,
Chuck  NI0C
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N3HEE
Member

Posts: 117




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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2013, 07:43:10 AM »

Hi Chuck.  I understand your concerns completely. I have the same issues.  Regardless of running QSK or not your RX antenna preamps are unprotected unless you have something switching them off during transmit.  I don't know your setup though.

I run 500 watts 15 feet from one element of my three element HI-Z RX array without issue.  For transceiver protection I use the DX Engineering RTR-1A receive antenna interface.  It totally disconnects the RX antenna from the transceiver during transmit.  It supports QSK.  My K3 also has protection built into it for RX antenna overload.  There are many other similar devices available such as the KD9SV front end saver.  Granted these devices wont protect the preamps located at your RX antenna.  I use the RTR-1A a little differently.  I don't send an transmitted RF through it.  It's in my RX feed line only.  I could put a rx preamp (between the RTR-1A AND K3) and it would be protected as well.

I'm just saying that there are safe, easy and fairly inexpensive ways to run QRO and QSK. 
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 07:50:00 AM by KB3KJS » Logged
NI0C
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Posts: 2406




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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2013, 08:25:23 AM »

Hi Chuck.  I understand your concerns completely. I have the same issues.  Regardless of running QSK or not your RX antenna preamps are unprotected unless you have something switching them off during transmit.  I don't know your setup though.

I run 500 watts 15 feet from one element of my three element HI-Z RX array without issue.  For transceiver protection I use the DX Engineering RTR-1A receive antenna interface.  It totally disconnects the RX antenna from the transceiver during transmit.  It supports QSK.  My K3 also has protection built into it for RX antenna overload.  There are many other similar devices available such as the KD9SV front end saver.  Granted these devices wont protect the preamps located at your RX antenna.  I use the RTR-1A a little differently.  I don't send an transmitted RF through it.  It's in my RX feed line only.  I could put a rx preamp (between the RTR-1A AND K3) and it would be protected as well.

I'm just saying that there are safe, easy and fairly inexpensive ways to run QRO and QSK. 

Joe, thanks for a description of your setup, and for your suggestions.  I definitely have all the hardware needed to try running full QSK (DXE-NCC-1, KD9SV solid state DXpedition box, even the DXE Time variable sequencer unit).  It was quite a brain-teaser getting all this hooked up between my transceiver and amp.  When I bought all this stuff, I contacted DX Engineering and asked them about running full QSK, and the representative I talked to strongly advised against it.   It might be worth a fresh look at it, though. 
73,
Chuck  NI0C
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N3HEE
Member

Posts: 117




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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2013, 10:05:31 AM »

Yes, I agree it takes some time to get your head around this stuff.  I'm surprised DXE advised against it especially when they make and sell gear to allow it.  You certainly have the right gear to protect your transceiver.  Consult your preamp manufacturer about spacing from transmit antenna and output power limits.  I bet it will be fine.  If the preamp\s are not located at the RX antenna then you could put them in line after the DXpedtion box.  73 -Joe N3HEE
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