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Group Activities & my comments on calling CQ ...

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  • Randy Tipton
    Happy New Years This message covers several topics. The last section is all about calling CQ using HSMS. This section is intended to encourage a discussion of
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 1, 2008
      Happy New Years

      This message covers several topics. The last section is all about calling CQ
      using HSMS. This section is intended to encourage a discussion of best
      practices. So from my prospective I describe calling CQ using the WSJT
      meteor scatter modes. Does it seem to describe best practices? Let me know
      as I believe it is a good topic for discussion on the reflector and one
      which needs some improvement.


      WSJTGROUP Membership

      For 2007 the WSJTGROUP has now exceeded 1000 members. To my knowledge this
      is the largest group of WSJT operators assembled. The WSJTGROUP continues to
      sponsor the only NAHSMS Contest, Random Hour and two quality awards for
      meteor scatter accomplishments. These awards are the Century Grid Award and
      the Random QSO Award.

      Random Hour

      This year the number of stations participating in Random Hour was 163 unique
      calls taken from the weekly reports. The Random QSO Award is available for
      only 15 initial contacts during Random Hour with endorsements offered. 2007
      saw the West Coast come to life as many stations out west are now active.
      The new start times for RH have been implemented which helps those out west
      especially. Saturday mornings are viewed as opportunities for meteor scatter
      operators, enjoy both schedules and random contacts for several hours on
      Saturday mornings.

      Contests

      The WSJTGROUP scaled back to only one contest per year, the winter contest
      during the annual Geminids Meteor Shower. Although many stations
      participate, the number of logs received is still a disappointment. This is
      a mystery to me and all stations regardless of the number of contacts made
      should submit logs to advance high speed meteor scatter contesting in NA. As
      of January 1st only 13 logs have been turned in! Guys get those logs sent
      into Mike (WB2FKO) before the Jan 17th deadline.

      Calling CQ (Propagation mode meteor scatter)

      Calling CQ using the WSJT meteor scatter modes is easily accomplished
      provided the operator follows the standard procedures. First let's get this
      out of the way; the calling frequencies are 50.260 MHz and 144.140 MHz. It
      doesn't matter if you have a heterodyne on the calling frequency or if you
      dislike the designated calling frequencies for other reasons because when
      you follow the procedures you will be making contacts on another frequency
      of your choice!

      Keep this in mind; we are not talking about "Activity Periods" like the NA
      Random Hour. During these activity periods contacts are generally made
      using the calling frequency for a specific end result but more on that
      latter.

      When calling CQ who goes first? Just like schedules use the rule "station
      most west transmits first". So if your CQ target direction is east then you
      should transmit first. This is not a critical point, stations listening will
      be monitoring both 1st and 2nd sequences. Generally Rare Grid Expeditions /
      Rovers etc. choose to go first. This has some validity in the authors mind
      but again not a killer concern if they are going 2nd.

      Since the calling station always names the frequency he wishes to make the
      contact on he should choose a clear one. (No rocket science here) The
      calling stations should monitor the off-set frequency for at least 5
      sequences after stopping his CQ in case he has someone calling him from a
      longer than normal distance. We will refer to the announced frequency for
      making contacts as the "off-set frequency". The off-set frequency will be
      either above or below the calling frequency (X) KHz. Remember all CQ calls
      should be made on the designated frequencies; this is where other stations
      listen.

      For mode FSK441 in NA the standard is to use the U / D immediately following
      the CQ.
      (U = Up / D = Down) So in message Tx6 the calling station appends the
      message to say; CQUX or CQDX where X = KHz .

      For JT6M mode on six meters only, some have chosen to use the following
      convention. CQ 268 where stations responding would then call on 50.268 MHz.
      The Up / Dn can also be used so be prepared to copy both.

      Example:
      CQD10 copied on two meters = Call station on 144.130 MHz
      CQD8 copied on two meters = Call station on 144.132 MHz
      CQU15 copied on two meters = Call station on 144.155 MHz

      CQU20 copied on six meters = Call station on 50.280 MHz
      CQD7 copied on six meters = Call station on 50.253 MHz

      CQ 268 on JT6M = Call station on 50.268 MHz
      CQ 245 on JT6M = Call station on 50.245 MHz

      When calling cq away from your "home grid" it is best to use your "current
      grid" as the signal report. This alerts the other station of your grid; he
      might just need it for VUCC! Some stations will use the grid in their CQ if
      different from "home grid". I prefer to keep the CQ message as short as
      possible but user's choice. The use of none standard messages always reduces
      the chances of a successful contact. The SOP should be followed, simply
      click on the <F5> key while in the WSJT window to see which message should
      be sent next. (This is especially helpful for newbies)

      Ok, I understand the "off-set method" but I am not completely sure I want to
      use this method. After all I have been making contacts on the call frequency
      for some time with success! This might be true but there are some
      advantages. First of all, you stand a far better chance of working greater
      distances plus shorter completion times. When using the off-set method the
      proven Sh Msgs (+-3 dB better than those multi-tones) will not only shorten
      contacts but make longer distances possible where maybe pings are only once
      every 30 minutes or longer! The second reason to use the off-set method can
      simply be stated as "good operating practice". No different than SSB, the
      calling frequencies of 50.125 MHz or 144.200 MHz are calling frequencies,
      not qso frequencies.


      Now concerning Random Hour; here the operators has the choice to either make
      simplex or off-set contacts. The reason simplex contacts are encouraged
      during random hour is its stated purpose. Random Hour is by design to
      generate the maximum number of pings possible during a specific time period.
      The Random Hour sessions then become periods of time where newbie's can
      learn how to use WSJT including practicing decoding techniques and various
      settings with assurance that numerous other stations are active. There
      should be plenty of pings to work with during the entire session. Other
      stations can make stations adjustments, try new techniques, check new
      equipment etc. The Random Hour Manual should be reviewed including the
      sections on how to reduce qrm with locals. Some stations operate Random
      Hour using the off-set method, this is acceptable and necessary for some
      stations.

      Thanks for reading. What else needs to be said about the CQ processes using
      WSJT meteor scatter modes?

      Randy Tipton (Tip)
      WA5UFH EL19pa
      778 CR 123
      Edna , Texas 77957
      Email : wa5ufh@...
      __________________________________
      Web Pages :
      Home Page : www.qsl.net/wa5ufh
      WSJTGROUP : www.ykc.com/wa5ufh
      NAHSMS Contest Site : www.ykc.com/wa5ufh/Rally/NAHSMS.htm
      Digital On Six : www.ykc.com/wa5ufh/DOS/index.html
    • Barry Garratt
      Hi Tip, Happy New Year to you and yours as well as to all the other members of the group. I think your description of how to call CQ and working the offset
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 1, 2008
        Hi Tip,
         
        Happy New Year to you and yours as well as to all the other members of the group.
         
        I think your description of how to call CQ and working the offset method was just fine.
         
        It may seem cumbersome to some at first but once you get used to it it is quite easy
        and really is no different to working DX on HF where they say they are listening up and
        tell where they are listening.
         
        The only difference with MS that I've experienced with this method is that I may have
        seen the CQ and gotten enough of the call to know who is calling but did not decode
        the U or D so don't realize at first that the calling station is operating split.
         
        I've wasted a few sequences until I see what is really going on. I also have made it a
        habit to toggle back and forth between the calling frequency and the offset frequency
        to see if I am being heard or is the station still calling CQ.
         
        When the rocks are scarce it can a while before either a contact is made or the calling
        station quits calling CQ.
         
        I noticed during the contest that even though I would specify U or D that stations
        would call me on the calling freq so it was faster to work them there than try
        and move them.
         
        I also make it a habit to include my grid square when calling CQ.
         
        Running random mode in a western grid is a whole different than back east
        where there is a lot of activity!
         
        Hope this input helps Tip.
         
        73,
         
        Barry VE3CDX/W7 DM26ic


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