Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grid #60 on the 2 Meter VUCC Chase!




Thanks to Robert Howard, K0RDF for my 60th grid on 2 Meters! We worked this morning using WSJT Meteor Scatter at a distance of about 568 miles. The contact was quick and fairly easy, lasting about ten minutes from start to finish.

140659 21.4 340 6 26 -96 K0RDJ N1LF K0RDB N1LF K0RDF N1LF K0RDF

"Ping Jockeys" will quickly recognize the gibberish above, as the "readout" from the WSJT software decoded after a strong ping from a meteor trail. Copy is solid at "26" while my received frequency is off by just 96 hertz. A quick adjustment of my RIT control, and then I narrowed my TOL (basically like a "bandpass" filter in the software) to limit my received bandwidth to only 100hz. This allows me to be right on frequency with Bob, and limit bandpass to only 100hz.

That way any pings that follow, even if they're weaker, I should be able to dig Bob out of the noise better. In actual practice, most pings are good and loud. But it's best to practice for worse case, as distants contacts around 1,200 miles or so take every bit of processing power that the software has.

There is an art to decoding weak pings, and good operators can recover callsigns and signal reports that are well below the noise level. I'm working on becoming a better MS operator.

WSJT remains the "secret weapon" for my ERP challenged station. About 70% of my grid total was accomplished using FSK441 or JT65b. Hoping to finish the tilt over ladder mast soon, and try my hand at EME too!

Thanks again Bob!

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