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  • Randy Tipton
    It is good to see all the new growth with new stations working Random Hour. Activity periods like Random Hour can be confusing. Even the name is confusing, it
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 1 9:07 AM
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      It is good to see all the new growth with new stations working Random Hour.
      Activity periods like Random Hour can be confusing. Even the name is
      confusing, it last 2 hours!

      Most understand that the first hour is focused on 144.140 and the second
      50.260 MHz. Single band stations are encouraged to work both hours but
      expect to hear more during the designated hour.

      The single most common error during Random Hour is new participants not
      understanding why Random Hour Messages should be used. If you use Short Hand
      Messages (Sh) either enabled or disabled on a shared frequency nobody can
      know who messages Tx3 - Tx5 are intended for.

      For example: Consider several stations using 144.140 during Random Hour and
      they all decode a ping "R27 R27 R27"; now for whom is that message sent?

      But if it is decoded "UFH R27 UFH R27" then WA5UFH can know for sure,
      nothing doubting it is intended for his station. All other stations
      attempting contacts when decoding this ping will ignore it.

      The WSJT messages are appended by typing the prefix or suffix of the station
      being worked ahead of the "Canned Message". This is referred to as "Random
      Hour Messages".

      Random Hour Messages work well on shared frequencies and have been in use a
      few years during RH.

      I have noticed several stations posting they are calling CQ on some
      frequency other than the established 144.140 or 50.260 MHz. This is not
      during Random Hour. There is no real problem with this but many stations
      monitor the call frequencies and not PJ. Why would they not want to call on
      the calling frequencies?

      One last comment; Random Hour by design encourages stations to use the call
      frequency for calling and completing contacts. Stations should consider
      calling using the Up | Dn method at other times. This is certainly optional
      but by completing contacts off the call frequency stations can use the "Sh
      Messages" to speed up their random qso's. Just my two cents... I personally
      use both methods.

      Just a few of my thoughts, comments welcomed...

      Thanks to Larry (WB9F) for facilitating the RH sessions; as you know N5SIX
      did it prior to Larry and remains a advocate of RH.... Also thanks to Terry
      who maintains the records for the Random QSO Award.

      Tip
      WA5UFH
    • Randy Tipton
      If you re not interested in NA Random Hour, you may choose to stop reading here. Random Hour in NA has been around a few years now and a few are still taking
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 28, 2009
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        If you're not interested in NA Random Hour, you may choose to stop reading
        here.

        Random Hour in NA has been around a few years now and a few are still taking
        advantage of this activity period to make random contacts on both two and
        six meters. Though a few are still using Random Hour many who 'used to be
        active' are no longer as active and some have seemed to disappear. Activity
        is and will be dependent on the meteor scatter community.

        The RH sessions are on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Does that mean those
        are the only times random contacts are made, certainly not. Daily stations
        can be heard calling CQ and dedicated operators looking for HSMS contacts
        monitor the call frequencies when not attempting schedules.

        What is special then about Random Hour? North America RH was copied after
        the ZL / VK operators. It was designed for operators to all share the call
        frequency attempting to make hsms contacts. The probability of hearing
        meteor pings, decoding distant stations and making random contacts greatly
        increases during the activity period.

        What about QRM? It is not uncommon to see around sixty stations logged onto
        PJ during a Saturday morning. QRM can be a problem but operators can prevent
        most occurrences. First always listen for any local stations before you
        transmit, that includes listening both time sequences. If you hear a local,
        operate using the same tx sequence. It also is important that both stations
        have accurate pc time.

        Another way to prevent QRM is to use the "Off-Set" method of calling CQ.
        Operators using the "Off-Set" method should still listen before calling CQ.
        The "Off-Set" method of calling does not guarantee a clear frequency since
        someone could be running a schedule on that frequency. I have noticed many
        stations like to run schedules a few KHz plus / minus the call frequency.
        The "Off-Set" method of calling CQ does remove activity from the call
        frequency plus the station calling CQ will miss the RH pings on the call
        frequency.

        What about posting CQ off the call frequency during Random Hour? Several
        stations do this however they omit the operators who want to work random
        contacts and are monitoring the set calling frequencies. This method does
        not take into account all the benefits of having an established calling
        frequency.

        What if I have a birdie on the call frequency? This is not a problem if you
        call using the "Off-Set" method. You pick the frequency where you want to
        make the contact.

        What is the difference between Saturday and Sunday Random Hour. The Saturday
        session has two main focus areas. The focus areas are groupings of time
        zones and by band. (eastern/central & mountain/pacific) The Sunday Random
        Hour starts at 5AM in all time zones and the user picks the band. Two meter
        operators will find it easier to make contacts maybe by moving contacts from
        50 MHz to 144 MHz.

        What is the purpose of the "Reports"? Operators may use these reports to see
        who heard them and to compare activity from area to area. These reports are
        published and only take a few minutes to write and submit. Operators should
        take time to submit both random contacts and schedules completed, stations
        decoded and stations answered but not completed.

        What are Random Hour Messages? The use of R26, RRR or 73 on shared
        frequencies can cause confusion. This is because there is no way to know,
        nothing doubting, whom it was intended for. Thus we use use appended
        messages. Most station use a part of the other stations call or the complete
        call. Thus if I receive UFH R26 or WA5UFH R26 I know it was intended for me.
        If another station decodes it they simply ignore the message.

        New stations should review the "Random Hour Pages"on the wsjtgroup webpage
        for more information.

        Because RH activity has been off, especially on two meters, I have written
        this note to encourage old timer and newbies to be more active. We all
        understand that making random contacts is not everyone's focus. Individual
        focus often time changes with new stations arriving causing some to be
        looking for new grids or initials. I suppose my entire point is Random Hour
        needs a shot in the arm, especially on two meters. During the last year,
        two meter random hour reports averaged less than 5 and some Sundays no two
        meter contacts were even reported. Will two meter random activity die? I
        seriously doubt it but we are at the bottom. hi

        These comments are just my thoughts; how do you feel about Random Hour?

        My RH Report for today (11/28/09):

        Two Meters: Worked N3LL (R) and N4QV (S). CNR W8NJR

        Six Meters: Worked N3LL (R), K4YMQ (R) ,KS7S (R) and N4QV (S). Heard W8NJR

        Tip
        WA5UFH
      • Greg McCraw
        I used to do HSMS on 6 meters with my old Rascal GLX. After I got a new computer I don t think that the drivers were on the flash drive. Right now I can t find
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 28, 2009
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          I used to do HSMS on 6 meters with my old
          Rascal GLX. After I got a new computer I don't
          think that the drivers were on the flash drive.
          Right now I can't find the CD-Rom that came with it
          which contain the drivers. When I do find it, I don't
          know if I can transmit as I have a Realtek HD which always has issues.
          Thats why I don't have my microkeyer hooked up for phone contests
          or even CW. Just a bad soundcard and I can't afford a new one.
          God Bless es 73,
          Greg N4WO
          As embarassing as it is, soundcards and audio i/o rout to the mic input,
          audio codecs are too confusing for me.

          6 meters Rocks (Especially when the band is open)

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