Friday, July 10, 2009

Ham Radio PSK31 Digital Operators

This started as a post on a message board, but I thought I would clean it up and turn it into a blog post. First, some background. PSK31 is a digital radio modulation mode, used by amateur radio operators for real-time informal text chatting. On the radio, I do a lot of listening, so, if there is a station on the air chatting with several other stations, I probably know what was said.

When the station calls for another contact (calls CQ) and I answer, I hate it when this happens


***XXNXXX transmitting to KJ4JGD with me listening***
KJ4JGD DE XXNXXX
HI NAME IS XXX
QTH IS XXXXXXXX
YOUR SIGNAL IS 599
MY RIG IS: XXXXXX, ANT XXXX, ETC. ETC.
thank you for the qso
qsl direct
73 KJ4JGD DE XXNXXX sk sk

CQ CQ CQ DE XXNXXX XXNXXX PSE K

****NE3R (me) transmitting to XXNXXX****
xxnxxx de ne3r ne3r kn

***XXNXXX transmitting to NE3R (me)***
NE3R DE XXNXXX KN

****NE3R (me) transmitting to XXNXXX****
xxnxxx de ne3r Hello my name is Joe from Frederick Maryland. How is the weather in XXXXXX? I see the radio you are using is an XXXXX how do you like it and are you using any add on filters? xxnxxx de ne3r kn

***XXNXXX transmitting to NE3R (me)***
NE3R DE XXNXXX
HI NAME IS XXX
QTH IS XXXXXXXX
YOUR SIGNAL IS 599
MY RIG IS: XXXXXX, ANT XXXX, ETC. ETC.
thank you for the qso
qsl direct
73 NE3R DE XXNXXX sk sk

...

As you can see, XXNXXX sent me the same text that was sent to the station he was talking to before I called. In my response, I asked some specific questions based on that information, but got the same thing back, with the last line indicating that XXNXXX wanted to end the contact (sk).

Why does this happen? I think the problem is because many operators simply use macros to send canned information instead of having to type and engage in a real conversation. Sure, macros are good during contests, when you want to knock out QSOs as fast as possible, but for general day to day contacts, they should be used sparingly. Seriously, how interesting could a conversation between two operators using macros be?

I also have issues with people using capital letters on PSK31. Not that capital letters are bad, but they should be used sparingly. PSK31 uses a variable byte length for each character, with more common lower case letters being shorter than less common upper case letters. Sure, capital letters are fine for proper names and the beginning of a sentence, but every where else, lower case is fine.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

howdy,

quite often gyy at the other end of wire does not speak English..
.
vy 73, de ku1t

Joseph Martin Durnal said...

Hi Z, nice to see you stopped by to leave a comment. You are probably the most experienced PSK operator I know. I understand that the language barrier is the case sometimes. That might be a little easier to spot with a native language greeting like, bonjour, hola, hei, hallo, olá, ciao, etc. In text, nobody has an accent :).

I think I've had more US contacts go like that than DX, but then again, I have made many more US contacts than DX too.

For me, I guess, during regular times, I just like to chat. Which is funny because during a contest, I want it to be as quick as possible.

I'll still log it as a QSO :)

Anonymous said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one who hates these impersonal QSOs!!

73,

--David, K3PO

indavao said...

hi... just dropping by!
http://www.fileafro.com
http://mobileandetc.blogspot.com
http://kantahanan.blogspot.com

tagskie said...

hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day! http://kantahanan.blogspot.com/

Viagra said...

I can see how that can be an issue for you.