WSPR - further suggestions

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G8JNJ's picture
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WSPR - further suggestions

Now that the number of WSPR users is becoming significant I’d like to revisit suggestions I made some time ago.

The number of stations operating at any time on each band has now reached the point where many signals are clustered around the middle of the WSPR’ window’. I think this is partly due to folks wishing to ensure that they are in the middle of the band in order to ensure that they are spotted by stations who may have slight frequency errors, which would otherwise place stations on frequencies outside the receiving frequency ‘window’. The other problem is that when WSPR starts up it defaults with TX frequency at the middle of the band.

If a station happens to be Txing on a frequency occupied by another station, or on a frequency where RTTY or TV / PC monitor time base or SMPS interference is present, the received S/N is worse than it would be if the station was operating on a clear frequency.

In order to overcome these problems, I’d like to re-suggest that WSPR be modified to change the TX frequency slightly in a pseudo random sequence on each successive transmission. This way if the TX frequency is problematic on one transmission it is likely to be less so on the next. Although clashes would still occur, it would ensure at least some clear frequencies for part of the time.

As WSPR QSO mode is not used as much as perhaps it was originally thought it would be, I’d like to make some further suggestions.

One of the main problems is the duration of a QSO, waiting for a series of TX / RX periods to end in order to qualify as a QSO feels like an eternity. I suggested to Joe some time ago that the exchange process should be automated in some way, but he was uneasy about doing this as he felt that it would not constitute a genuine QSO.

My suggestion now is that the process is partially automated. If a station is in WSJT7 QSO ‘beacon’ mode it should be possible for another WSPR QSO station to initiate a QSO by selecting the ‘target’ callsign, at which point a transmission would be sent to the ‘target’ station. If the transmission is received by the ‘target’ station it would automatically change from beacon mode to QSO mode and imitate a full exchange of data between stations until a valid QSO has been completed. This would still require the operator to select the target station and imitate a QSO, but it would not require intervention by the operator at the other end (unless it is desired to have some form of manual confirmation to initiate the first response). I see little merit in having to perform manual TX / RX exchanges once this point has been reached, as it adds no additional value, apart from boring the operators at each end.

My second suggestion is to modify WSPR to use the WSJT7 text field in order to be able to send additional data when run in ‘beacon’ mode. E.g. antenna in use. It may also be possible to alternate text fields between transmissions so that more data could be sent over a period of time.

I hope these ideas will provoke further discussions regarding the direction WSPR and WSJT7 should take in the future, now that there are a significant number of stations operating at any moment in time.