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8176RE: [wsjtgroup] Where best to monitor ?

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  • Russ K2TXB
    Mar 1, 2011
      Hi Bill and all.  My 2 cents worth..
      Truly random HSMS operation has long been the 'holy grail' of a number of us who have been doing HSMS since the days of HSCW.  I think, in part, because of the argument against it that was often advanced that we were somehow not doing real meteor scatter.  Having started MS with CW, before SSB got started on 2 meters, I can understand how very different WSJT MS operating can seem to those old timers.  Some of my friends still will not frequent the web pages to make skeds for either FSK441 or for JT65.  So, we started to strive to do a lot of random HSMS to be able to show that we can do it as well as any other mode - or something like that.
      But in addition to that, it just "feels right" to me to do random.  I haven't been on much lately, but when I do get on, I prefer to call CQ on the calling frequency, using split operation to make HSMS contacts.  If I don't get any responses after a while I usually announce my CQ on PJ, but I long for the day when it might not be necessary to do that.
      A huge improvement in the ability to do random EME has been brought about by the use of the MAP65 program, that can watch the whole band and decode JT65 signals on any frequency that they are found on, simultaneously.  Now I get on, point my antenna at the moon, and watch for activity.  It works, I often find a station calling CQ or working someone, call them, and make a contact, without ever logging into the JT65 pages.
      If we had a similar program for HSMS I am sure it would help in the same ways.  But in the lack of such a program, our only tool to increase truly random activity is our calling frequency.  To that end, I agree fully with Tip when he encourages people not to call CQ on other frequencies.  That practice definitely has a tendency to discourage true random operation.
      As for Bill's argument that random activity is boring and likely to discourage newcomers to the mode, I agree.  But we need some critical mass of people calling CQ in order to make it not boring.  It is a chicken and egg problem because the lack of operating makes it hard to attract new operators or keep the ones we have.
      But things have changed somewhat since those earlier days I spoke of.  The popularity of JT65 for HF and EME, and the use of other digital modes has increased the awareness of most hams to the point where such operations are generally accepted as 'OK'.  For that reason Bill may be right that pushing randomness is not serving us very well.  Is it true that web page skeds and chatting before, after, and sometimes during our HSMS contacts is a permanent part of HSMS?  We had always figured it was an interim step until we could get the activity base like they have in Europe.  I guess it boils down to deciding what is good for getting more activity, and deciding if that kind of activity is what we want to settle for.
      Personally I like the random operation the best.  To that end, I plan to start getting on regularly and calling CQ on two meter HSMS.  I will not be able to do it every day, but I will try to get on most mornings.  I will call CQ on 144.140, and use a split that I will put in my CQ.  I will do this between 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM eastern time each morning that I can make it.  I will announce it on PJ when I start each day, but I won't be watching PJ for skeds during my CQ's.  I hope that this will inspire some others to get on and look for me.  I don't care if we have worked 50 times, call me anyway if you hear me.
      Let's see if we can start something.
      73, Russ K2TXB
      PS: If I am going to do this, I cannot be staying up until after midnight as I am now.  But I will try to start tomorrow morning (in about 7 hours).

      From: wsjtgroup@yahoogroups.com [mailto:wsjtgroup@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Bill VanAlstyne W5WVO
      Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2011 8:50 PM
      To: Paul Whatton; Randy Tipton
      Cc: wsjtgroup@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [wsjtgroup] Where best to monitor ?


      First, random contacts in EU are much easier to make because the population density in EU is so much greater. This is especially true when you compare EU against the western US, where the nearest active, WSJT-equipped VHF hams can be a thousand or more miles away, at (or beyond, in many cases) the fringes of m/s range. Geography and demographics have more to do with differences in m/s operation between US and EU – or between Eastern US and Western US -- than anything else.
      To be fair, I did point out that there were still some people in the US doing random m/s operation on weekend mornings. But statistics will tell you that the number of hams working m/s randomly is quite small and getting smaller, a fact that I don’t think will provoke too many arguments. And it is certainly a minority of the total number equipped for WSJT m/s operation. Frankly, for me personally, random m/s is more often than not just plain boring. There are maybe a half-dozen stations who are within my m/s range (1,380 miles is my best DX) who regularly make random CQ calls on 50260. (I’m one of them.) And I’ve worked all the rest of them many, many times.
      What we need to be focusing on is getting more new hams interested in WSJT and getting them on the VHF air actively making contacts with a lot of different stations so they get really hooked into this mode. This is most efficiently done using PJ. Arguments touting some intrinsic righteousness of random m/s operation over scheduled operation miss the mark, IMO. While WSJT software (as well as other implementations of JT65) are finding increasing popularity as vehicles for VHF/UHF EME and HF F-2 operation, 6- and 2-meter meteor-scatter is in a state of general decline. This decline needs to be turned around.
      MHOO, YMMV, etc, etc.
      Bill W5WVO
      Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2011 16:26
      Subject: Re: [wsjtgroup] Where best to monitor ?


      Random contacts using WSJT & MS are not dead in NA, not yet. There used to me more activity during weekday mornings however daily random contacts are still possible. This morning I worked KC0HLN from his CQ on six meters and heard W9FF calling CQ looking for contacts on six meters.
      One thing that takes away from the random contacts in NA are stations calling CQ on frequencies other than the "Set Call Frequency". Try monitoring the call frequency to work them guys, doesn't work.
      As conditions improve, more activity will be found on 50.260MHz and 144.140MHz. Even with poor conditions contacts are almost "automatic" for distances less than 1000 miles between two 100 watt stations with beam antennas provided they run at least 20 minutes or so on six meters.
      As Bill pointed out, most contacts are via schedules on ping jockey but a modest number of stations still monitor and use the call frequency. As conditions improve, I hope the number of stations using the call frequency increases. Using tagged messages in Version 9 is made easier than any prior version thus working contacts on the call frequency with proper messages is made easier.
      just my thoughts... guys that used to be active on the call frequency, come back home...
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2011 9:41 AM
      Subject: Re: [wsjtgroup] Where best to monitor ?
      Just in case anyone new to WSJT & MS from Europe gets the wrong idea, I'm pleased to say that this side of the pond random contacts are alive and well even though I've never seen a moose in my street :-) Plenty of urban foxes but so far not a single moose.

      I can't speak for 6m because I'm not currently active but from the UK there is some activity on 144.370 the random 2m calling frequency pretty much every day. During showers 144.370 gets so busy we have to listen split for replies to our CQs and QSY. Plenty of folk make QSOs in Europe without skeds.

      73 Paul G4DCV

      On 28/02/2011 23:37, Bill VanAlstyne W5WVO wrote:
      Hi Don,
      WSJT modes on VHF are different than digital modes on HF, and different operating approaches are required.
      “Monitoring” for meteor scatter is like watching for a moose to cross the street in front of your house. You can wait a long time to see what you’re looking for.
      TRUTH: Almost all meteor scatter contacts are made by schedule on frequencies other than 50260 or 144240, the calling frequencies. There is little “random” operation. There is some, especially during the weekend morning activity sessions. You might hear some people calling CQ on this frequency IF they are in meteor scatter range from you (250-1,300 miles, depending on the setup on each end), and IF meteor conditions are favorable, and IF your yagi is pointed at the guys who are transmitting, and IF their yagis are pointed at you.

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