Hello Mark. I'd like to tell you of a little history and experience with
meteor scatter operating. For many years I have been telling new MS
operators not to worry about operating on the same frequency as other nearby
stations. Even a few miles of separation from a local will mean that most
of the time you will not be sharing the same pings or bursts. I spent a
whole summer comparing meteor bursts heard with a local station (K2SMN) via
a 220 MHz FM simplex channel. We would both monitor bursts on 144.200 SSB
and compare notes immediately afterwards. We both have good locations and
decent 2 meter antennas. We almost never heard the same thing. Very often
one of us would hear a burst and the other one would not hear it. Also very
often we would both hear the same burst, but different stations being
reflected to us.
Sometimes we would hear the same station, but a different part of the
transmission. For instance I might hear "cq scatter W0" and Roger would
hear "er W0XXX W0XXX cq". The reflection point at each end of a meteor
scatter path is constantly moving as the meteor itself moves and the
ionization intensifies or dissipates. So in the above example, we were both
hearing the same station, but at slightly different time periods. We almost
never heard exactly the same thing.
Roger's QTH is just 40 miles north of me and we could easily coexist with
each other and many others on the same frequency as long as we followed the
rules. The rules being that we all transmitted our CQ's during the second
and fourth 15 second periods (east coast), and listened for replies during
the first and third periods. And if we heard a neighbor on the band trying
to complete a QSO, we would stand by and not transmit for a few sequences,
giving him a chance to complete by breaking back and forth without staying
"in sequence". The final rule was that no one should spend too much time
trying to complete a partial QSO. If you could not complete in 45 seconds
or so, give it up and go back to normal sequencing.
For many years all of the MS operators in this area pretty much understood
and abided with these guidelines, and we all had a lot of fun working
randoms on 144.200 during the various showers. But then something happened.
We started getting a lot of newcomers to MS who not only did not know or
understand the rules, but who were more interested in making contacts than
being a good neighbor on the band. Some of these guys would always call
during the listening period, thinking that they would have a greater chance
to be heard if they were not competing with the locals. Besides this not
being true, it meant that no one could copy responses since the frequency
was busy with local calls 100% of the time! Other stations started calling
on a 5 second on, 5 second off sequence - no doubt trying to catch the
meteors more quickly - but again ignoring the consequences to others trying
to enjoy the shower. These stations were not interested in hearing what the
'rules' were or how they could be good neighbors on the band. After a few
years of that kind of activity, I lost most of my interest in operating
random SSB meteor scatter.
Finally along came HSCW and then WSJT! The solid sequencing requirements of
the HS modes means that the rules we had established for SSB random work
were even easier to apply with those modes. Today it is possible to share a
common frequency with many local stations - all calling cq at the same time,
and all able to hear the responses from calling stations in slightly
different time slots, or on different frequencies.
This works very well, but I have still noticed that some newcomers to the
mode think they have to call in the opposite sequence "so they won't be
clobbered, or be clobbering, the local who is also calling". But again,
this is exactly backwards. When you call on the opposite sequence, you are
clobbering his receiver - and he is clobbering yours. Even if you are using
UP/DOWN frequencies, a local station transmitting on the wrong sequence will
impact your ability to receive. The 'rule' still applies - stay on
sequence - western or southern station transmits first. Even in the case of
a station who is only 2 miles from you, you will usually get enough time
difference in reflections from different stations to prevent QRM'ing each
other. However to maximize your success, I'd suggest that you both use
UP/DOWN response frequencies. On transmit, Mike's suggestion of using a
somewhat different beam heading may be the best way to reduce QRM to
stations listening for your cq's.
These rules work very well for people in the east, or in the west, who can
only work in one or two directions. But stations in the middle of the
country have a more difficult time. If you live in Iowa, you need to
transmit first if you are working to the east and transmit second if working
west. But suppose you are trying to work east while your neighbor is
working west? In these cases the rules do not work so well and it becomes
necessary to coordinate with your neighbor. If you are making schedules, it
is a simple matter to agree ahead of time with your neighbor to always use
the first, or always use the second sequence. Of course you will have to
explain why you want to use reverse sequencing to all your sked partners.
If you are working random then it is tougher - about all that can be done is
stay alert to what your neighbor is doing and adjust as necessary.
Sometimes it will be necessary to QRT for a while or work a different band
just to give him a fair shake.
So, I hope the above history and detail will help some of the newer MS
operators who read this to realize that there is no harm in transmitting at
the same time and on the same calling frequency as a local. If you hear me
calling CQ on 144.140, do not hesitate to join in and call your own CQ's.
All I ask is that you synchronize your clock with a time standard so that
our receive and transmit periods are identical. The same is true for any
other local stations you may hear.
Happy rock hunting!
73, Russ K2TXB
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Brueggemann [mailto:qrq_cw@...]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 9:53 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [wsjtgroup] Contest Operating
> A general question for the group.
> This past weekend during the VHF contest as I was monitoring 2M WSJT I
> wondered how you deal with multiple WSJT stations within line of sight
> of each other. As I was hearing Mike, WB2FKO (who lives about 2 miles
> from me) warming up the sky every 30 seconds for hours on end, it
> occurred to me that it would be tough to compete with someone local.
> Possibly we would hear the same ping, and should a return path occur,
> the other station would likely hear either one of us equally well. My
> question is, are there any operating courtesies established for WSJT
> ops in the same locale? It's hard enough to have a WSJT QSO when
> you're the only one around, with 2 or more it would seem almost
> impossible (during a contest, as opposed to skeds). What's the common
> Mark K5LXP
> Albuquerque, NM