- 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
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.
- If you're not interested in NA Random Hour, you may choose to stop reading
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
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
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
- I used to do HSMS on 6 meters with my oldRascal GLX. After I got a new computer I don'tthink that the drivers were on the flash drive.Right now I can't find the CD-Rom that came with itwhich contain the drivers. When I do find it, I don'tknow 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 contestsor even CW. Just a bad soundcard and I can't afford a new one.God Bless es 73,Greg N4WOAs 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)