Thursday, October 1, 2009

Grid #62 via WSJT Meteor Scatter!


Thanks to the skill and patience of Harry Johnson, WB3BEL, Grid #62 on 2 Meters went into the logbook this morning. We worked just after sunrise on 144.130 using WSJT Meteor Scatter software.

Just moments before Harry had worked another station in Alabama in EM64 in just a few minutes. I advised Harry that it might take longer due to my indoor antennas. We started the QSO, and within just a couple of sequences, I received a loud "ping" on the radio and a brief bit of audio. This decoded into 26 N1LF 2626 WB3BEL

For those not familiar with WSJT software messages, that means WB3BEL has received both call signs and is indicating that my signal strength is 26. Since I had now received both calls, I quickly shifted to sending my reply, which is simply R26.

Using the software, many proforma messages such as R26, RRR, and 73 can be sent using "short message tones" which really improve the performance in a weak signal environment. We had both agreed to use short message format prior to our attempted QSO.

Long minutes passed, and several more meteor pings brought me the same message over and over. This wasn't making sense. Harry has an impressive antenna array and should be hearing me fine. The issue is usually the receive side on my end. Literally, if I can hear them, I can work them.

I kept waiting for the "RRR" message from Harry that would indicate that he had copied my signal report and both calls...making the QSO valid. But instead, I just keep getting 26 N1LF 2626 WB3BEL. Something was wrong...but my XYL was making conversation, and we'd had less than four hours of sleep. My brain wasn't in "troubleshooting mode". As over an hour passed on, I finally spotted my error! I had forgotten to "check" the short message format box.

Harry's software had been hearing my replies but was unable to properly decode them! I switch to short message format and send "R26" again. Within two sequences, I got Harry's reply, "RRR". I responded with "73" and when he had copied that, I explained my error on the chat page.

So, special thanks to Harry for hanging in there! SASE from the village idiot is in the mail to you today, Harry. Thank you for Grid #62 and another step closer to my goal.

I've been seeing new callsigns on Pingjockey lately, and hope that more VHF Men will give WSJT a try. It's great to be able to work folks nearly around the clock, and is a great mode. With the Leonids meteor shower coming up in November, you're getting your feet wet at the perfect time. They should be plenty of good DX in the new couple of months. Give it a try!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the new grid, Les. As for the neighbors, just remember the mock-Latin aphorism, illegitimi non carborundum! xXx