Saturday, May 02, 2009

Using PSK31 to spot sporadic-E on 10m

There are a few mutterings online that 10 metres has been open for sporadic-E (a.k.a. short-skip) contacts in the last couple of days. These openings are, as the name suggests, sporadic, so they are impossible to forecast and easy to miss.

You can, of course, tune around and listen for the numerous beacons that are alleged to be operating on 10m. However, if tuning around listening to band noise for hours is not your bag of chips, and you'd rather do something more useful while waiting for 10 metres to open, here's a suggestion. Why not set up a 10m PSK31 beacon and use the PSK Reporter network to alert you when an opening starts?

All you need to do is set your transceiver to 28.120MHz, PSK31 mode, use one of the digimode programs like Fldigi or DM780 that can send spots to the reporting network, and program a macro that sends BEACON DE yourcall yourcall yourlocator every minute or so. Then sit back and wait for the results!

I'm beaconing now on 28.120. Anyone care to join me?


Sivan said...

Is it considered reasonable to beacon near on the PSK31 frequencies?

I suppose that beaconing on 10m which is mostly dead doesn't do much harm, but what about busy bands like 20m?

I'm curious. Sivan

Julian said...

Well of course you have to beacon where people will tune their receivers to listen for PSK31. And of course I was suggesting doing it on a band that appears dead, but could open briefly at any time. I can't think of any good reason for doing it on a band that is busy.