Ham Radio Digital Modes

At the bottom of Solar Cycle 24, things look pretty bleak for HF propagation. A quick look at the propagation forecast says fair to good for 40 and 80 and poor for all bands higher. Why then am I hearing a plethora of strange signals on 14074kHz? That would be FT8 digital mode. At 50Hz bandwidth it is theoretically possible to fit 50 simultaneous QSOs into a single 2.5kHz voice bandwidth and decode signals with a s/n ratio of -20db. And there are other modes, on all bands from MF to SHF.
Digital is perhaps a misnomer, from the users viewpoint they are keyboard modes, requiring a computer of some sort, suitable software, an interface and a radio.
“A computer?” I hear the traditionalists say. “They’ll be the ruin of Ham Radio. Darned things, never could get the hang of them!”
To which I would reply…
“Goldarn it Elmer, you’re using one of them microphones? What the heck is wrong with a Morse Key?”
And all the time operating the latest Software Defined Radio!

The Craft moves on, and if we want to keep it alive we have to embrace the things that interest young people. Things like computers and texting. Young folk are more insular these days, preferring less intimate forms of communications. The idea of actually speaking to someone they don’t know and can’t see, is pretty scary. Text communication on the other hand is universally embraced.
There is also the technical problem of diminishing available bandwidth. New modes are much more efficient… 50 channels in one voice bandwidth!
“Digital Modes” are to the texting generation, what voice modes were to the telephone generation. They will develop the new techniques and modes, albeit in software rather than hardware. A faster, tighter Fourier transform rather than a new crystal lattice filter. We need them onboard.

See you on 14078, JS8 Mode.
Norm vk3xci

SRG Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of The Sunraysia Radio Group Inc will be held on Sunday July 21st at the Mildura Workingman’s Club, 100-110 Deakin Avenue, MILDURA VIC. 3500 , commencing at 1:30pm in the upstairs conference room.

Business of the meeting is to receive minutes of the 2018 AGM, receive committee reports for FY 2018/19, elect officers for FY 2019/20 and set membership fees for FY 2019/20.

In accordance with Rule 36 of the Association, a quorum is required of 10 percent of the members entitled to vote, within 30 minutes of the advertised start time, for the meeting to proceed.

Stephen Bourke, President
pp Secretary, SRG


Regretably, I have had to take the VK3WRM Mildura iGate off air. There are a number of reasons. Much of the equipment is old and unreliable. The latest failure is the 12V power supply. This has been operating at its upper limit for quite some time and quite frankly it surprises me that it lasted this long! Both the FM828 and Tiny2 TNC have intermittant problems and need to be “reset” periodically.
The bad news about all this, is that I’m not going to be here to nurse it all and I don’t want to rely on my “house sitter” to do it.
So, if anyone wants to take it on, they’re welcome to the hardware such as it is. The VK3WRM call has not been renewed so you would have to use your own callsign with a -5 or -9 suffix.
“Leave a comment if you are interested.

On further reflection, having just pulled the hardware down, perhaps a fresh start with replacement hardware would be a better idea! Everything I touch is intermittant! I can contribute a Raspberry Pi 3 with Xastir set up and ready to go. For a full iGate, 2M tranceiver, TNC. power supply and cables are required. A receive only iGate could also be a consideration. aA USB stick receiver apparently does the job.

de Norm, VK3XCI

John Moyle Results.

Congratulations to Steve VK3FSWB who scored 4th Place in the Portable  24 hour Single  Operator HF Phone  Section with 42 contacts for 84 points. Norm, VK3XCI got 7th place in the Portable  6 hour Single  Operator HF Phone Section with 41 contacts for 80 points (1 dupe!). Just behind was John VK2AWJ in 10th place in the Portable  6 hour Single  Operator HF Phone Section with 23 contacts for 46 points. All three have been awarded certificates.
Gary, VK3KYF managed 8th in the Home Station 24 hour Single Operator HF Phone section with 50 contacts for 88 points. Sorry Gary, no wallpaper for you!
Well done to all those who sent in a log. If I missed you here, leave a comment.

April Meeting

The crowd at Steve VK3FSWB’s was a little disappointing despite the beautiful day. Special thanks to all those who made the effort. The usual lunch barbie was cooked and Margie later supplied us with arvo tea.

Brian VK2CCP/VK3BBB gave us a talk and demo on digital modes, both HF and V/UHF. Pretty sure there are some who want to try FreeDV, Gary? There was also some “guess what digital mode this sound is” played. It astounds me how many there are! There was also a fair bit of discussion centred around Steves wire antenna… It crosses pretty close to the metal roof. There was plenty of good advice, but no one got up to fix it. Hihi.

The usual raffle was run and won. Two draws only in view of the small crowd. Marg took the Bunnings voucher, Norm VK3XCI the bottle of River1467 wine.