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No, nothing to do with the music I'm afraid, though one could say the sounds associated with digital modes could be described as 'Music to the Radio Ham's ears' Hi!  In this case, however, Opera is the name given to a relative new digital mode in 2012 created by Jose Alberto Nieto Ros, who has the ham callsign of EA5HVK.

So, here's my experience of this interesting mode. Maybe it will tempt the absolute new bod to dip his/her toes hi.

Opera, a weak signal mode on the general lines of WSPR, is basically meant for propogation study.  That is to say, it is primarily a beacon mode.  However, many people, including myself, find it a fascinating way of seeing how distant their signal can be received, especially when only operating qrp.  5 watts being the general norm.  As I love all things data I couldn't resist dedicating  a page to Opera.  As the mode itself is being constantly updated I will try to update this page accordingly.

Download the latest copy of Opera here, with an associated operating guide (A bit dated but may be helpful) by Andrew O'Brien (K3UK) here.  If this mode turns you on, then please consider joining the  O_P_E_R_A Yahoo group here  Opera Facebook group here

Here is a screen shot of my copy in action circa 2012 (I had since  moved to 14.065 mhz. However the current frequency as of January 2015 for 20 mtrs, my favourite band, is 14.062 usb)

 On the left is where my spots are shown.  The colours apparently indicating  signal strengths, ie Black being the strongest, down to red, the weakest. On the right are the spots received by all partaking stations, which are forwarded to my own via the internet.  Those shown in blue are stations that I have reported (Automatically by the program), and in red are the stations who have reported receiving my own station.

 Here is a screenshot of the, then new in 2012, qso mode in action (I had just worked  EA3FHP and F1ABL).  

Here is a 2012 screenshot of Pskreporter showing all stations using Opera on the 20 metre band .



Fast forward to 2015 and the interface is somewhat different.  The live qso mode has long since ben dropped due to lack of interest apparently.

So here is screenshot showing current layout.

The top layout shows internet reports, which include stations spotting me ((Red) and my spots (Blue) The bottom section showing  stations received via rf. I take it the percentages shown refer to the amount of fading detected during the 2 minutes of said data being received

This shows that I have received, and been received by, the named stations ie constituting a qso, as  orignal version

An interesting mode addition has been added in the shape of an automated 'Deep Search' facility. This operates on the frequencies of 136 and 477 khz usb only.  2 Colours used for the Deep search Spots:  Green denotes a station has been by two receivers, and Orange, by one. If orange, there is a possibility that the spot is not real apparently. (See Read Me file included with software download)

At the moment I do not have transmit facility for either frequency. However, I'll give swl'ing a bash on my long wire. See what I can detect..So here you see the result of an  hour monitoring 477 khz. The Deep Search result (In daylight then) shows G8HUH, who's transmission had already started when I opened Opera. (I saw the waterfall trace). At first, of course, I thought I was not going to decode him due to missing the start, as in other decoder programs . However, Deep Search, being the clever program that it is, operating in tandem with the normal decoder, apparently interrogated other stations who had successfully decoded G8HUH directly, back at the server presumably. It then  decided that I had received enough corresponding data to give me the thunbs up, as it were, and that I had indeed received that station. Cool!

I received the above using a Funcube Dongle Pro+/HDSDR software and a long wire consisting of 60 feet loaded with the coil section of a redundant mobile  1/4 wave top band antenna as an experiment.  HDSDR audio input is from the dongle of course, with the output  sent via computer line out to an Akai usb sound card. Opera then decoding the audio from the Akai.

Last 24 hours of Opera, courtesy psk reporter (11/12/2015). Increased popularity since I last checked it out. Nice!

 

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