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Author Topic: QSK: Why does anyone hardly use it?  (Read 13394 times)
N3DF
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Posts: 251




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« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2013, 11:21:44 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.

Forty years ago, when the FT-101 was current, few amateur radio manufacturers included QSK. 
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Neil N3DF
NI0C
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« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2013, 11:31:23 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.

Forty years ago, when the FT-101 was current, few amateur radio manufacturers included QSK. 

That's true for transceivers; however, long before transceivers were commonplace, we used separate receivers and transmitters.  I used a simple cathode follower T-R switch in my setup in the early 1960's to achieve QSK, and it worked very well. 
73,
Chuck  NI0C
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N2EY
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« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2013, 11:37:47 AM »

Forty years ago, when the FT-101 was current, few amateur radio manufacturers included QSK. 

Yep. Yet QSK has been around since at least the 1940s and probably the 1930s or even earlier.

The very first manufactured amateur rig I know of that would do full QSK without mods or add-ons was the Heathkit HW-16. The next were the Ten-Tec rigs. And then it became common, starting with other QRP rigs and working up.

Why it took so long is a mystery. But I have a theory....

Starting in the early-mid 1950s, Collins and others began to push SSB on the amateur community. The introduction of the S-line about 1959 (75S-1, 32S-1, KWM-2) was a game-changer.

The trend had been clear before those rigs came out, but afterward it was clear: almost all ham radio manufacturers put SSB front and center and everything else got the crumbs. Look at all the transceivers that were quite good on SSB but awful on CW (I'm looking at YOU, NCX-3). And it wasn't just a matter of "buy a sharp filter" - it was that CW was often clearly an add-on, an afterthought. Sometimes this was even true of matched-pair separates! QSK wasn't even considered in such a mindset.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2013, 01:44:28 PM »

I use QSK all the time. It's especially useful when working pileups so you can hear and stop transmitting the moment the DX starts calling the station he wants to work.
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AD9DX
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« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2013, 07:22:02 PM »

I never used it until I had Dick Byrd upgrade the relay in my Alpha to a vacuum relay. Now I don't know how I lived without it.  It is really nice and good for DXing too not just for rag chewing. For DXing especially in rather nasty pileups being able to hear the DX coming back while I am sending my call for a second time allows me to be a good neighbor.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
N6GND
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« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2013, 09:15:03 PM »

A good percentage of the rigs today have QSK  but you hardly every hear anyone use it. 

I have to interpret this as meaning that QSK is used hard. It's there in the rigs and it's as convenient as all-get-out. Besides it's already there in the rigs.

Finally, I don't know how one can hear whether or not someone else is using it but I do know that I am always using it. I don't particularly care whether I can hear between every dit and I don't adjust my rig that way, but hearing between characters and words can be much more delightful than not.
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NO2A
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« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2013, 10:14:02 PM »

With the exception of an HW-16 I once had,I never use it. Always found it too distracting. I`m just the opposite. I adjust my delay for a long xmit.
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K0RS
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« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2013, 12:57:12 AM »

Hard to believe anyone who works DX doesn't use QSK.  In a pileup, with QSK, I know to shut up the instant the DX answers someone...because I can actually hear him while I'm calling...and begin searching for his QRG.  I hear guys calling and calling in a pileup when the DX is already answering someone else.  You just know they have that XMIT button locked down.  They get completely out of sync with the DX's operating pattern.  QSK is just another tool for success when DXing.

When ragchewing, QSK makes the conversation flow more natually.  I have a friend I work on CW, also a QSK operator.  It's really nice just to drop a "dit" in between words.  He'll pause and I can comment on something he may have said.  I don't operate SSB, but the same can be said for VOX.  It's just more natural.  "Old buzzard" PTT conversations are mind numbing.  How would you like to have to use PTT on the telephone?  QSK and VOX are the next best thing to full duplex.

Like head copy, it's another learned skill, but your rig needs to be capable of doing it well and many can't.  Pops and cracks between elements are unacceptable.  Frame type relays are out, PIN diodes or vacuum relays with correct timing are a must.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 01:02:28 AM by K0RS » Logged
NO9E
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« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2013, 11:03:02 AM »

A QSK equivalent can be used on SSB although not sure whether anybody implements it.
It was described in QST in late 1980s. A delay line delayed the audio signal by some 50 ms. If there was no signal, the radio would switch to RX momentarily. Probably a much simpler to implement nowadays. Probably used in cell phones.

Ignacy, NO9E
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NO2A
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« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2013, 11:48:59 AM »

The AL-80BQ sounds like a really nice option. Has anyone used one?
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NI0C
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« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2013, 01:36:40 PM »

Hard to believe anyone who works DX doesn't use QSK.  In a pileup, with QSK, I know to shut up the instant the DX answers someone...because I can actually hear him while I'm calling...and begin searching for his QRG.  I hear guys calling and calling in a pileup when the DX is already answering someone else.  You just know they have that XMIT button locked down.  They get completely out of sync with the DX's operating pattern.  QSK is just another tool for success when DXing.

Yesterday morning I heard a local who swears by his Ten Tec QSK, doubling several times with the DX station he was trying to work.  It was a nasty little transceive pileup on 40m and there were plenty of lids on frequency.  QSK didn't help him in this situation. 

I avoid doubling with the DX by keeping my calls very short.  I know when to come up for air and listen.  Works for me.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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K0RS
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« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2013, 08:43:36 PM »

Yes, you're right Chuck.  I did it too for many years with my TS-830, foot switch and non-QSK Alpha 76.  I worked lots of DX.  It's just that much harder.  The 830 had lots of features that would be hard to live with now.  Too fast tuning, semi-break-in, manually tuned tube final, lack of direct frequency entry, external 2nd VFO, no dual receive.  Still it was a great DX machine.  Times change and operating techniques do too.

I currently have an Orion II, and the QSK is very good.  That being said, one can have the best QSK in the world and (like any other feature) it does one no good if they can't implement it successfully.  As I said, it's a learned skill, just like head copy.  Some people have learning impediments. 
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 08:50:38 PM by K0RS » Logged
KD8IIC
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Posts: 149




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« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2013, 10:36:23 PM »

  Recently obtained a Johnson TR switch and am using it with my R390a. Works fine business. Nice to be able to hear between characters & its' silent operation sure beats the rice box relay chatter. Highly recommend one now. Monitoring your sending for chirp and poor fist is a great plus. Wasn't sure if I would like it but don't think I want to op without it now.
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N4OI
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« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2013, 05:14:15 AM »

The AL-80BQ sounds like a really nice option. Has anyone used one?

Yes, I added the BQ PCB board myself to the AL-80B amp several years ago and it works great on CW…  very silent and I cannot discern any impairment of my K3's normal, barefoot QSK.   Note that I believe the pin diodes do reduce overall sensitivity when the amp is in line, but I can only detect the degradation if I am looking for it.  Good, quiet QSK like this should be a standard feature for all amps…

73 Grin
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N4KZ
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Posts: 594




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« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2013, 12:52:55 PM »

Hard to believe that anyone who works DX doesn't use QSK?

I've got 341 entities worked and confirmed and not a single one ever worked with CW QSK. (295 of those on CW.)

And using QSK makes a conversation flow more naturally? Huh?

QSK reminds me of going to a party and talking with someone who constantly interrupts while you're trying to speak.

As you can tell, I'm not a fan. Much too distracting while sending.

73, N4KZ
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