Why 4m Wspr?

I have been asked this by those who perhaps do not want Wspr on 4m, or who do not see the point. I choose to do it because it is interesting. It is also difficult when compared to HF Wspr. Most of all I choose to do it because it is fun.

When I first discovered Wspr I was in awe of it. I have always been fascinated by propagation on the airwaves, much more so than talking on SSB - everybody is different I suppose. For the first few months I satisfied myself by spotting on all HF bands, reducing power, running portable etc. amazed by what was possible. Eventually though it all seemed a bit easy. I noticed there were drop down menus on the Wspr map for all the HF bands as well as some LF and 2m/70cm. However 4m was missing. It was in the old database but there were no spots. This was back in 2010.

Years before this, I had purchased an FT847 (as soon as they were released)  I had always been interested in 4m and this was the first mutlimode radio advertised with 4m capability. I had to have one. Life changed for me and a job change, a house move, the birth of twins meant the radio spent most of eleven years in the loft.

4m Wspr was too tempting. I was not prepared for the difficulties that lay ahead however. I assumed there would be other people on 4m who would want to try. Not so, at least at first. In fact some of the 4m operators who replied to my pleas for spots  were quite hostile. Here is an example:

'I'm not surprised at all that there is an absence of spots in the database.
In the first instance very few operators will know that you are 4M-active.

More importantly though, why would a cw/ssb operator want to sacrifice their operating time by listening to 70.0286MHz? They will be tuning up and down the band looking out for Sp-E openings - or more likely just watching the DX Cluster for openings.

Or is it an automatic monitoring system when you're not in the shack and we'll just have to park the beam in your direction.

WSPR isn't suitable for VHF anyway, is it? Well - that's what Joe Taylor told me when I spoke to him in person about it.

Ah well, what happened to the spirit of experimentation? It is quite funny to read this now- very 'shouty.' At least we have the drop down menu on the map for 4m and it is possible to see that there really are other people who are interested.

Thank you to the following for being out there:


Eddie G3ZJO
Colin G6AVK - Thank you for the idea of an online window inspired by your part time grabber.
Graham G3ZOD

Chris M0NKA

And all the other people I have spotted, or have been spotted by.

Eventually after many weeks of trying a few of us began to spot. I discovered my radio was not as accurate as it appeared. It was 100hz off frequency on 4m, this was solved by tuning the radio dial down by the required amount. Naively I had assumed that what the radio said on the dial was accurate enough, especially as it worked fine on HF. Not so. This was my first important lesson.

I am still learning. That is why it is fun!