brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell


On properly operating a WSPR station…

Anyone who is subscribed to the QRP-L has likely been subjected to a long string of complaints against WSPR in the past week or so. This began with a generic complaint against a "consistent carrier" on 7.040. This rapidly decayed into a long series of rants against WSPR. Since I'm rather more fond of WSPR than the average QRP-L member, I chose to defend WSPR's place in the ham radio universe.

But amidst the general complaints, there are a few points which they make which we should all take to heart. First of all, in the United States we are not allowed to operate automatic beacon transmitters below 10m. This means that you have to be in control of the station, and operate it in a manner consistent with Part 97 regulations. I'm not sure what that really means in the context of this mode, but I suspect that it means that running your beacon all night while you sleep isn't actually legal, as fun (or useful, I would argue) as it might be to see those spots from New Zealand that occur at 4:30AM local time when you wake up and have your coffee. I believe that all hams should endeavor to operate their stations in accordance to regulations, so I think that we as WSPR operators should be at the control point of our stations when transmitting WSPR. I also think that this point of legality isn't adequately emphasized in existing documentation, so new users of the mode may be unaware of this issue, so it would be great if we had a more prominent notice on WSJT's site, and on

Beyond simple legality though, I've seen that the QRP-ers have some basis for being irritated beyond the mere legality of this operation. In the last 24 hours, I've logged one particular station who has operated at 100w output power, and for quite a while, was transmitting about 50% of all slots, including many back to back slots. This resulted in spots with a SNR of +5 over distances of 12000km. This isn't a WSPR, it's a rock concert. I think its good to keep WSPR at QRP levels or ideally QRPP levels. And let's keep our transmit percentage down to 20% or less. As WSPR has become more popular (and it has become much more so even in the last few months, with dozens of stations on 40m and 30m) we'll need to reduce the time we spend transmitting to mitigate collisions.

And let's be especially careful around 40m, okay? 7.040Mhz isn't the best choice of frequency, frankly. Lots of old time rock bound QRPers still claim it as their own, and while nobody owns a frequency, we should be courteous to all hams.


Listening to WSPR activity

Over the past few days, I finally got a windows box up and running so I could run the official WSPR executable from WSJT. In the short time I've been listening, I've gotten quite a few spots from stations who haven't been able to hear me. I made a quick map of all the sites I've heard:

Stations I've heard using WSPR

Stations I've heard using WSPR

I've deleted a couple of bogus spots that also got "decoded", both of which were stations which were in the middle of the ocean, and which no one else heard before.

Apologies to all those who have been using my grabber, I will soon return it to operation by tapping audio and feeding it to both setups in the near future.

Tagged as: No Comments

Aircraft reflection? Or something else?

This duplicates a posting I made on the website.

Aircraft reflection? Or something else? | WSPRnet
On Saturday, Jan 10th, I had my transmit-only beacon that I wrote sending both a visual MEPT indicator (the MV that you can see in the attached image) and the WSPR beacon, and tried out a simple program that simultaneously records, and later makes an FFT display of that portion of the band.

It seems to work!

I'm curious though about the brighter of the wspr messages visible here, which seems to have a shadow which arcs down to meet it. Is this the result of an aircraft reflection? There are some fairly close stations here (such as NN6RF) which conceivably could be reflecting off aircraft landing at Oakland airport, but I'm surprised that the signal level could be so high on the 30m band. I believe that such reflections can only occur if the source is reasonably close to the aircraft, correct?


I see a couple of other, similar traces in the 2 hour recording I did, which you can peruse here.


K6HX beaconing on 30m with WSPR/MEPT

Okay, I hadn't been doing any WSPR beacon operations since before Thanksgiving (which was also before my new callsign) and I was kind of bored today, so I dug out my power supply, tuner and interface and set my computer beaconing again on 30m. It's a combination beacon: using WSPR above 10.140100, and a visual "MV" written as part of a sawtooth in the visual MEPT portion of the band (between 10.140000 and 10.140100 Mhz). Output power is about 4 watts, split between both signals.

I'd be interested in any reception reports.

Addendum: Click this link to examine the reception reports I'm getting via the automated WSPR logging.


Today, on Jan 2, I got a reception report from W1BW, and I could faintly see my "MV" appearing on his grabber:

MV on the W1BW grabber

You can see his "flying W" very strongly, and if you stare really close (click on the smaller image) you can see my MV which looks like part of a sawtooth around 23:22 (and other places).

Addendum2: Alan, VA3STL in Ontario also noticed my signal on the 2nd. Here is his screen grab, showing both my MV and my MEPT signal.