QRSS R & D Grabber - G0FTD - Whitstable - JO01MI

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NEWS



June 2019. I am experimenting with "virtual grabbers" and my Raspberry Pi. As many of you will know, QRSS grabbers from real locations are difficult to provide, so we have to try and find a way of increasing the ways in which we can receive our tiny signals. The Kiwi receivers make a good alternative for those of us who cannot have a noise free location. I created a database on the Knights QRSS group of the best ones. To use it, click on the database link, and then feed the audio your favourite QRSS grabber software, like Argo or QRSSPIG and then upload it to your website.I will try to vary what happens with my grabber each day, to provide some variety and useful signals. My big thanks to those who provide the Kiwi receivers. NOTE - Not all Kiwi receivers are as stable as a dedicated QRSS receiver, and may not always be available. Sometimes the audio feed may disappear, or the operator may decide to change availability policies. 

May 2019. The QRSS scene continues to have fun. W6REK and OK1FCX have livened up the grabbers with some animated antics and TV style test cards. Examples of their work are here, take note also of the Youtube links for more fun. This years Sporadic E season is starting and if it was anything like last year then we should see some amazing multihop E's. QRSS and WSPR make 3 to 5 hops visible to us now, unlike SSB where signal strengths for 2 hops is normal. WATCH THOSE GRABBERS FOLKS !  Vernon VE1VDM managed to observe multihop E's from the UK last year.. Such opening are rare and can happen at any time, so you need a lot of patience and a transmitter and receiver / grabber running for many weeks to catch one. But it's worth it.

My YAPI project for the Raspberry Pi has steadily grown. As of 11 May 2019 I have added QRSSPIG version 0.6.1 plus other radio based utilites such as QSSTV and a mini reference library of documents. At the moment it includes bandplans, worldwide HF/6m beacon lists and ITU Radio Regulations. (More to come).

February 2019. My Raspberry Pi image YAPI (Yet Another Pi Image) now includes a facility to send QRSS via pre-made audio files to your SSB rig. Courtesy of Radovan OK1FCX.  There is also some desktop shortcuts to assist with creating a QRSSPIG RAMDISK as well as some other useful stuff. Also an on screen keyboard and minor system improvements have been made for minimalist systems. The link for the Raspberry Pi image is here.

December 2018. I made an attempt  at a group newletter for QRSS enthusiasts. My editing software kept crashing, and I was not 100% happy with the results but despite this everyone still like it (I am still baffled). Here it is - 74 Magazine

October 2018.  I started playng with Raspberry Pi's this month. I had no real use for one but it seemed like a few people wanted to use them for QRSS grabbers. So I bought one and started to see how I could assist others with QRSS. I compiled QRSSPIG from source and added it to Raspian, as well as WSJT-X, image manipulation software for grab stacking, config files to get RTL SDR dongles running, RTL dongle receiver software and some other stuff. I also included drivers for those funky little TFT displays available for as little as US$9 on Ebay. CHIRP memory programming software is included, AVRDUDE for QRP Labs ATMEL firmware upgrades Grab it while you can. It's 4Gb. I am hoping to make a little write up of the Raspberry Pi on my Google hosted site soon. The link for the Raspberry Pi image is here.

There is no current grabber activity from me. This may change but I'm concentrating on providing good QRSS signals instead on 3 bands. In the meantime, this site will remain a simple site with a few links for now. There may also be some occasionally useful files in the other directory that are of general purpose, and not QRSS related. I am a  regular user and collector of the numerous cheap Chinese VHF / UHF handhelds. Some software for them is included here. I might also indulge in QRSS Grabber DXpeditions witha GPD Pocket PC and receiver in the near future. UPDATE - August 2018. I am experimenting with QRSSPig grabber software and it works very well. I am conducting feasability tests for a 600m band grabber. QRSS does not seems so prevalent on this band, existing grabbers are poor. Over the coming months, especially winter time I shall see if enthusiasm amongst the 600m band improves. If not then I wont bother.

Radovan OK1FCX, a keen QRSS'er and software man has written a small script file for use with WGET. I have tested it on my Linux Mint 18.3 machine as a once off an it seems to work. You need to right click the properties and make it executable. The idea is to add it to a crontab and let it run automatically. Both end user and QRSS grabber compendium operators could adapt it accordingly. It also ensures that .jpg gets correctly added to each filename, unlike my own wget script file, that adds a serial number to each grab. Thanks Rad ! 

Possibly a new QRSS project ? I had an idea, the use of a syndicated QRSS grabber list for lazy QRSS Grabber Compendium websites. It's NOT meant to be a be all and end all solution, but only something to assist compendium websites of some form of automated list, or manaually edited list to ensure that grabber compendiums do  not go out of date quickly. Other ideas include a simple RSS style feed for display on compendium sites, for grabber news or propagation events. Further democratisation could be multiple lists hosted by others and combined ? This stuff is up to enterprising compendium website owners, I'm just an idea man and a list maker ;-) We need more compendium / list makers ! Our community relies upon only a few people to run websites and lists and it is fragile. If an ISP or site goes down, we have little back up. Please consider helping.

A new experimental grabber compendium is being tested by Henry W6REK. This compendium has a unique feature of combining the days grabs and turning them into an animation. You can see the website here - http://yak.net:7899/

General QRSS synopsis 2018.Things are looking very good for this part of the hobby. Despite the lack of sunspots, developments are taking place with new grabber software such as QRSSPig by Martin Herren for Linux, an all band super grabber from Dave WA5DJJ and LOTS of transmission activity from QRSS'ers. All this interest is bucking the trend. You can follow the latest news over here Knights QRSS group  Dave is hoping to provide grabbers for the Lowfer, Medfer and Hifer community asap. 

The following text below comes from Eddie G3ZJO who has been working with QSL.NET to make sure that grabber files are passed without undue delay to the outside world. So when you use your grabber software, e.g. Argo or QRSS Pig, Lopora etc you MUST use the following filenames.

There have been some changes at QSL.net recently. Your Grabs uploaded are  not being updated properly on your Grabber. This is due to the caching of all files on the Server. The team at QSL.net have come up with a solution. The filenames used must  have a special EXCEPTION. This can't be done for individual files so we have agreed a standard set which should prove adequate for all users.  All you need to do is to change your image file name to one of the following in the range :-


vlf1.jpg to vlf9.jpg
lf1.jpg to lf9.jpg
mf1.jpg to mf9.jpg
hf1.jpg to hf9.jpg
vhf1.jpg to vhf9.jpg
uhf1.jpg to uhf9.jpg


Also, here's a link to SEQUENCEDOWNLOADER Handy for collecting all the screen grabs from various QRSS grabbers to your hard disk. Select new, copy and paste the link to the grabber picture and away you go !


An alternative for both the Linux and Windows world is to use the WGET command. WGET SCRIPT WGET is included in just about every Linux distro - if not then download it.  There is a Windows verson available too. Life is easy with WGET.



Please visit Scott Harden's excellent grabber compendium here - Grabber compendium  Or pay a visit to my own QRSS and QRP dedicated site here - G0FTD's site