Saturday, April 25, 2009

Getting spotted

I was searching to see if there was a forum for users of PSK Propagation Reporter. There isn't, but I did come across a nugget of useful information that I thought was worth passing on.

The Propagation Reporter spotter algorithm searches for the string "DE CALL CALL" in a transmission to identify a potential spot. In other words, it looks for "DE" followed by the call sent twice. This is a pretty good strategy to avoid getting corrupted calls - it is unlikely that a call will be identically corrupted twice in succession.

Predictably, on eHam.net where I saw a discussion about this, there were objections to having to conform to this requirement. Frankly, I think the objectors completely missed the point. Participating in PSK Propagation Reporter is entirely voluntary. If you want your calls to be spotted, send them in the form the software looks for. If you don't, they won't be. It's your choice. Simple as that.

Personally I think it's a good idea to send the call after the "DE" at least twice, to help the human operator at the other end know that he has it correctly. I've been sending two 3x3 CQs, i.e. "CQ CQ CQ DE G4ILO G4ILO G4ILO." I think I'll change that to three 2x2 CQs, which will enhance my chances of being spotted. And I'll ensure my call is sent twice when replying to a station, so that I can be spotted when answering someone else's call as well.
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