Another new digimode has made its presence on the airwaves. Called ROS, it uses spread spectrum techniques in a bandwidth 2.2kHz wide and offers a choice of two symbol rates, 16 baud and 1 baud. The latter will be of great interest to QRP operators as it is claimed to allow communication at signal levels of 35db below noise, which is better even than WSPR. ROS is an interactive mode, so you can type what you want and have a real QSO, unlike WSPR and the other JT modes that can only send a limited number of fixed messages. What's more it isn't an all-or-nothing mode like the JT modes, so you can receive a message that's part garbage and use your own intelligence to correct the errors if possible.
An interesting feature of ROS is that the software will automatically send an emailed reception report to any transmitting station that includes his email address in his transmission. Quite how it achieves this I don't know, since I don't have an email client set up on my shack computer (I do all my email through Gmail.) So I was quite surprised after receiving my first ROS signal from G3ZJO running 1 watt on 40m to see him send "HI" to me on his next over (as you can see in the screengrab.)
This is yet another program that only recognizes the "default" sound card so I am once again receiving using the HB-1A transceiver and am unable to transmit using the mode.
The weak signal capabilities will no doubt make this mode of interest to the QRP fraternity as well as VHF operators working EME and troposcatter. I think the ability to receive an emailed reception report is also rather cool, and a bit more personal than seeing your signal spotted on a website.
However I do wonder what will happen once the massed hordes start using it on HF and begin cranking the power up to try to work further afield. There isn't enough space on the HF digital mode bands for many simultaneous contacts to take place using a 2.2kHz wide mode.
I'm now listening on 14.101.0 MHz USB so if you try this new program and put your email address in your message you might get a report from me.