Re: Lessons Learned

Steve W3HF

I find it interesting all the comments made about QRPers. Both Jay
and Bernie tried it out this contest. Bernie even made a comment
about gaining some more understanding of (respect for?) what the
QRPers have to put up with.

FWIW, I have not finished compiling all the results for the survey,
so there's still time for those of you who have not sent yours in.
But I do notice a trend with regard to the question on QRP operation.
About half of the respondents have tried running PSK QRP. But I think
only one of the respondents runs QRP "most" of the time, and I know
there's only one who runs QRP all of the time. You can guess who that
is. :-)

Like Jay AA8QQ, I never saw any traces on 80m, though I did find two
signals on 40. Never tried 6m, though--the only antenna for 6 I have
is the 817's rubber duck.

I have worked aurora on cw before and was wondering if any brave
(foolhearted?) souls have thought to try aurora on PSK at high
power? (Don't tear me up to bad on this one folks.)

I saw lots of loud/bright sigs out there that my computer couldn't
make heads nor tails of. It looked like some strange type of
encryption. I kept getting weird characters where letters should
have been. Kind of like wrong parity causes on wired digital
No tearing here, Jay. I think you answered your own question. The
problem with aurora is that I believe there is significant phase
distortion in that propagation. The P in PSK stands for phase, as it
is the phase of the signal that carries the information. So
distortion of the phase will destroy the information in the signal
regardless of the power level.

The best signals for aurora propagation are those that carry
information in the amplitude of the signal, like CW and SSB. Anything
with a phase component (PSK, or FM) will be distorted, often to
unusability. As for the digital modes, maybe MFSK16 would work. It
would certainly be better than PSK, as that too is an amplitude-based

What you saw is exactly what Duncan was describing when he said that
there were many signals he could see, and were loud, but could not be
decoded. The phase of the signal was shifting faster than the
receiver could track it, so the bits were being demodulated in error.
This caused the conversion from bits to letters to be erroneous. And
this is just like the parity error problem you compared it to.

Did you happen to notice the phase detector window on your computer?
If the signal is clean and loud, it should be a straight vertical
line. A clean but weaker signal will still be vertical, but just not
as long. If there is distortion, or too much noise, you will start
seeing lines at other angles--these are bits that are being
demodulated that are not perfectly clean. The more of those you see,
the more likely you are to see errors in reception.

Props stunk! I can usually work lots of EU from here on 5 watts.
Not this
time! Only 2 EU's I heard were DL2AYL and UX0FF.
Agreed. I never heard Erika, though, on any band. Managed to get Nick
UX0FF once, and did get one EA and one CT. But nothing else from
central or North Europe.

Oh well, there's always next time.


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