Sunday, May 01, 2011

Life on 6m

The 6 metre band is showing signs of life, as this map of WSPR activity from this afternoon shows.

However, some of the traces on the WSPR application screen look a bit odd.

I don't claim to be an expert but I think what I am seeing is the result of doppler shift on the signals being reflected by fast-moving Sporadic-E clouds. In several cases what seems to be a trace has not been decoded.

I've said this before, but I wonder if WSPR mode with its 110 second transmit periods and tiny frequency shift encoding is really suitable for detecting Sporadic-E propagation. But no-one has ever commented on this, leaving me to wonder whether they think I'm an idiot who doesn't know what he is talking about or whether nobody knows.

The digital mode most people seem to use on 6m is JT6M, however this entails using the WSJT program which I find rather confusing. I'm interested in trying JT65A but I'm not sure if it is any more suitable than WSPR for this type of work.

In the absence of any expert advice I'm going to try JT65A using a dial frequency of 50.276MHz. With the JT-Alert accessory to tell me when anyone replies I can leave the rig calling CQ whilst I am otherwise occupied. It will be interesting to see what we can work on 6m with the JT65A mode.
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