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Tuesday 4 March 2014

First try with QRSS


My QRSS signal

Items #3 & #4 on my 'Things to do in my 30th Year as a Radio Amateur' were to have a go at QRSS.

The article by Ian Liston-Smith, G4JQT, in the February 2014 edition of Practical Wireless was instrumental in spurring me into action on this activity.

I had a look round the Internet and found several pieces of software that are specifically designed to receive QRSS signals. They were Argo, QRSS-VD and LOPORA.

I run Ubuntu Linux on my pc and setting anything up to run with sound cards always seems to be a little difficult (or maybe it's me).

I got Argo working quickly but it is a Windows program running on Linux so I spent some time getting QRSS-VD working. It is written in Python so will also work on Windows. It works well but the key to it was changing the bandpass low and high settings to ensure that the QRSS sub-band was being decoded. I haven't yet got LOPORA to work with my sound card yet.

The QRSS-VD website has comprehensive instructions on how to set up and use it, most of which I haven't yet read!

An example of decoding QRSS using QRSS-VD.

In summary I feel that QRSS combines the technology of receiving QRPp signals using the power of your computer to decode them (along the lines of WSPR) with the beauty of being able to decode them yourself.

In practice, combining QRSS and WSPR is a great way to analyse propagation and antenna performance. I have amended my Arduino/AD9850 based WSPR transmitter so that it transmits alternatively between WSPR and QRSS. More of this in a future blog post.

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