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Hi! I'm writing this page in the same style as the one devoted to analogue sstv ie 'How to get of the ground with ROS mode as a complete beginner avoiding geek speak'. In other words, here is how I did it with minimal brain damage. Those of you who want a more in depth view as to how the mode actually works, links will follow. Anyway, basically
ROS is a week signal mode written by Jose Alberto Ros (EA5HVK) using multiple tones, similar to that of Olivier. I particularly like this mode, as opposed to JT65 or wspr, due to not only allowing both beacon and qso modes, but also for the added built in goodies generally making life more interesting that I will cover in due course.
Ok, the first thing we need to do is download the latest version, which you will find here http://rosmodem.wordpress.com/ Unzip it (I just let it unzip to default 'downloads'). Open the resulting folder and double left click on the 'spanner' icon to install. That done, right click and place
the 'dial' icon on the desktop. Now we're good to go. Double click the desk top icon to open the program, which results in the following screen which I have obviously populated earlier. Yours will have the top window blank of course. Looks pretty cool, doesn't it?
Now if you want some two way action, as opposed to just monitoring with the usual audio lead from the rig to the cpu line in, you want the program to talk to your radio of course. If you are already set up to transmit other sound card modes, such as psk31 for instance, then problem over. Same principal applies with this mode. If
not, then you to need to interface your computer with your rig using either a home made jobby (google examples), or a proprietory piece of kit such as Rigblaster or Signalink etc. The interface is basically to ensure the mic in level is adjustable so as to keep the rig happy, the ptt is triggered at the right time and the audio to and from the cpu and rig is isolated, thus avoiding what is known as a ground loop. (common earth connection that will guarentee mains hum twill spoil your day). My setup
uses a Rigblaster Pro feeding the audio
from the cpu line out, along with ptt switching of course, to the mic socket of an FT-897. The receive audio is from the spkr out socket on the rig via the Rigblaster to the pcu line in.
Now we have that sorted, let's see how I configured everything. Clicking the 'configure' button top left brings up a whole load of stuff, so starting with 'Operator' I filled in the boxes as follows. Callsign, first name, E-Mail addy, Locator and qth. Press OK, done with that box. Macro's you can leave 'till later. Next is E-Mail. This is one
of those interesting aspects I mentioned earlier, so fill in the required boxes and put a mark in the message received box under 'Report Options'. Then click test, which will, if all entered correctly, send a test E-Mail to your in box. In operating mode, however, whenever your station detects an E-Mail address in the text from another station a full signal report will be sent to it automatically by E-Mail. Neat, right!. Of course the other station must be configured similarly to respond to your
own beacon/s. Another way of knowing your beacon/transmission is being received, is to note the two spot strips top of receive screen. You'll see your own call de the receiver, as this screen shot shows
Incidentally, the computer icon on the right of the above box allows you to send a mesage to the station after de, either privately or visible to all in a similar box that pops up on their screen/s
Beacon setup, found on top tool bar. (Beacon On/Off switch on front panel) Open the options and you'll a beacon timer, followed by find three modes to choose from. One, BOM: Means Beacon Only Mode. Sends out beacon after timer when QRG is free. Two, ROM: Means Report only mode. Does not send a beacon but answers with a report if a beacon is received. Three, BRM: Means Beacon Report Mode. Does both...Sends out a beacon after timer and answers others if received. With thanks to Sigi (DG9BFC) for this beacon setup information
Here's an example of an auto report sent to me via E-Mail.
********** Please don't reply to this email ********************
SQ8MXR has received your Radio Message sent at: 16:48 UTC
Received Message: 'RA4HDQ RA4HDQ de G0HDI G0tnDI IO90ht email@example.com Your S/N: -16 dB, Marge: +0 dB <BAD-CRC>'
DXCC: Poland (EU)
Lublin, SE Poland
Station: FT-857D, 40W for Digi modes and dipole INVV ant.
ROS Version: ROS v7.1.0
Frequency: 14,103 Mhz
Symbol Rate: 16 Bauds
BW: 2000 Hz
Frame Acquisition: 19/24
Final Acquisition: 24/24
Frequency Shift: 0,0 Hz
S/N (2500 Hz): -8 dB, Fade Marge: +8 dB
Distance: 1665 km, Bearing: 098
Remote Control: OFF
Vumeter Level: -3 dB
CPU Usage: 43 %
Another way of receiving
the above info is by clicking the @ button anytime during a qso. This inserts your E-mail address in the send box which prompts the other station to auto send a report.
Online logging comes next, in the shape of eQSL, HAMlog and HRDLog. This is another neat feature as all three can be automatically updated at the click of two a buttons ie 'ADIF' and 'EXPORT QSO'. Of course you will have to sign up to the relevant online logs to be able to enter the required passwords when activation said logs in ROS. You
will notice that the 'EXPORT QSO' panel has other options too. I have ticked Export to .adi file, which meant I had to create a folder on my disc to receive logs, Cluster and DXKeeper (logging program), of which I downloaded from here http://www.dxlabsuite.com/dxkeeper/ The eQSL.cc is another interesting feature, as once activated by the 'Export QSO' button , an electronic qsl card is automatically sent to the other station. Of course
this works both ways, so you could end up, like me, printing out loads of said qsl's. They are in colour, but I'm too tight to buy coloured ink so make do with black and white jobs from my Samsung lazer printer. I could just keep them on disc of course. Here's a sample
'Rig' is next, and as I only have experience of sound card operation, that's all I will cover. With the Rig setup box revealed, I selected COM, PTT Port COM1 in my case and RTS+DTR. 'Sound Card' follows,
with imput output set to my USB card. The onboard card having gone toes up long ago. 'Alarm Sounds'.Well that doesn't seem to do anything so I've skipped that. The only other option I've used is 'Preferences' to change the colour, so that's me configured.
Now we'll get down to the nitty gritty and try a qso. This can be conducted in three ways. One, completely live as it were by clicking the PTT button and typing /inserting text into the send box just above the waterfall. Two, if you're a lousy typist like me, using a sequence of macros to cover any eventuallity, or Three, a mixture of both. (The tx button will
not be live whilst the receive screen is active, so you can't 'double' as it were). Ok, so I see a station calling cq on the receive screen. I double click on his/her callsign which then appears in a box on the far left just above the waterfall. Immediately right of the call will be related information. The most usefull being the link to qrz.com, so at least I can take a quick squint to get his/her name if not mentioned. I then click the 'Answer ' macro plus the 'S/N' macro (Signal
Report, which automatically generated) like so
Having done that I click the PTT to send it. I remember to click the PTT button again to stop transmission at the end of the message, which has included a signal report for him, or it will continue chucking out rubbish. The othe station will now respond with his name, location, my report etc. On my next over I will hit answer again (His/my callsigns) plus my 'ME' macro, which
is basically my relevant info (I will have inserted his name after 'Hello' as I would have obtained this from his over, or from qrz.com while he was transmitting).
The next two overs will typically involve swapping station details, qsl details and finally goodbyes. All done with suitable macros. If the other guy is in a hurry these can be sent as one final over of course.Thus (Note..Don't forget to click the 'Clear' button after each over, or you'll resend the last information) If you want to send a private or visible to all
message to the other station/s, click 'Skeds'/'ROS Chat' on top tool bar. The required box will appear, and the subsequently sent message will appear within a strip similar to the 'Spots' on the recipients screen/s. Another cool feature. One use being, to inform a station that you are answering his call, even though he is not detecting you.
Right clicking any macro will bring up the configuring screen thus. (Everything between the open/closed arrows is taken care of automatically). Just add your bit of info to taste hi.
Clicking the 'Skeds' button on top tool bar brings up a link to PSK Reporter/ROS mode. Handy to see who else is out there. The 'Help' button reveals links to the ROS club, Yahoo Group and Blog. Here's my membership certificate. Bit of posing here Hi!.
In the above screen shot you can see the tones registering in the waterfall. When a station first transmits, a mode id (Short vertical bar) signal is sent which basically turns the decoding process on. If this is not detected you might see loads of activity on the waterfall, but nothing will decode. That signal must fall anywhere within the two red lines to start successfully decoding. When this signal is received the Frame Aquisition needle will swing to the green segment of the dial. If the entire message is received successfully the same dial will read Final Aquisition. If the dots on the waterfall appear to be at the lower end of the waterfall when you are tuned to 14.103 for instance, the sending station will probably be centered on 14.101 Logical!. Of course if you tune down to him/her you will have missed the id, so will not decode until the next over. Keep an eye on the top spots strip to see what frequencies are being used. There are 31 frequencies in all spread over over the entire spectrum from 136 Khz to 432 Mhz, but naturally far fewer favourites. I tend to park on 14.103 and 14.101, basically due to my Pro Whip being happiest tuned to 20 metres. Other bands may suit you better of course. Checking PSK Reporter and the Spot Strip will tell you where the action is at any time of the day.
Text colours on the receive screen.. These indicate the baud rate of the received signal. That is to say Brown=RX4 Purple=RX8 and Blue=RX16. If you look on the far left of each line of text you will see the letters RX followed by a number. That number is the baud rate, so if you wanted to reply to a cq using 8 baud say, you would move the TX baud switch (Symbol Rate) to 8. No need to move the RX switch from 16-8-4 as it receives the correct rate automatically. Apparently, as I understand it, the lower the rate (slower) the more effective the program is with difficult propagation conditions.
Here's a typical PSK Reporter screen shot showing ROS activity . As you see the 20 metre band is most popular at this time.
Here is a link to a user guide http://www.aripv.it/files/ROS_User-s_Guide_2.0_-English-.pdf for those wishing to delve deeper into more technical aspects of ROS. Bit out of date now, but the basics are there. An up to date English manual seems hard to come by at the moment so any further information will have to be gleened from Jose on the ROS group found here http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RosMode/
Although not exclusively related to ROS, I thought this link was worthy of a mention here as I'm unable to put it on my 'links' page. G4UCJ's Radio Website includes a very usefull page of digital mode waterfall screen shots http://www.hfradio.org.uk/html/digital_modes.html
I guess that about covers my little intro to this mode, so Happy ROS'ng people. 73 Brian