Return To Home
This is intended to help new WSJT/FSK 441 mode op's. I have been
operating High Speed Meteor Scatter now on an almost daily basis for
6 years. These are just my personal opinions that are meant to help.
*Note - All of my direct experience has been on 144mhz, plus what
have learned from the op's on the other VHF/UHF bands using this
1. Make sure your PC clock is set to WWV . Best way is to download Dimension 4 software.
Click here: to see how I have my Dimension 4 software options set
Click here: if you run Windows XP or 2000/NT
for fix for Dimension 4 . Not needed for Windows
2. Set your receive noise level in WSJT to 0db . Use your AF gain or the Windows LINE IN mixer.
Also in WSJT Setup/Adjust RX Volume Control.
3. Use your RIT if needed (to get Decode) based on what you see in DF field on received pings.
4. Ask if the other station prefers to have the sked run with or without single tone messages .
"RIGHT Mouse CLICK" on the green line
with your mouse if you see a ping there but it did not decode. This
force a decode and works wonders for me.
. Set your
receive AGC to OFF or to AGC
. If adjustable set it to as fast as you can
Most of the time AGC OFF works best.
1. Run a sked on the CQ Frequencies .
2. Say on Ping Jockey web site any
information being received during your sked
any other persons sked while it is in progress . OK to say getting pings or Good Stuff or something
similar but not any actual information that was received. Posting on the internet what a station has
sent while a sked is in progress can invalidate a contact most people feel.
3. Move your transmit frequency during a sked. (Use only your RIT if needed)
Expect your amp to run
FSK441 mode (which is 100% duty cycle) unless it is designed for 100%
cycle at full rated power out . I would suggest most amps are good for about 50% of normal SSB/CW
output when running FSK441 mode. Extra external cooling fans are a big help.
5. Run a sked close to a FSK441 CQ
if there is another FSK441 station close by in your
Try to run skeds at least + - 5kc or more off the CQ frequency's. That way you will free up the CQ
frequency so the other local FSK441 station can call CQ or listen for CQ's without local QRM trouble.
How Do I Set My FSK441 Software For Best Results
I always set my FSK441
software to W>20
. I think the default of W>40 does not work as
as if you set it to W>20. Also S>1 also works well for digging out the weak pings. As far as the QRN setting,
I usually run it at QRN 4-5. Main thing is to set the QRN setting so you get good decodes on weak pings but
not too much garbage on the decodes. TOL setting I just leave at default 400. ST setting I am not sure about
since I never run ST type skeds.
When Is The Best Time To Run Skeds
I find the best time of day
for FSK441 is late at night around 0300z
) or early in
morning around 1200z (7:00am local ) . I seldom even try to operate after about noon time here local
time till after dark due to lack of pings.
What Are The CQ Frequencies
Call CQ on 144.140, 50.260, and 222.080. (222.080 so far looks like it will be the call frequency)
Should I Call CQ On 1st or 2nd 30 Second Sequence
It can be either way, but most call CQ on 1st 30 seconds
How are Random CQ's Handled
When listening on a CQ call frequency also look for
things like CQ U5 or CQ
If you see a U or D with a number after it it means the other station is listening for replies to the CQ
UP or Down that amount in KC. U5 means they are listening UP 5kc for a responce and D10 means
they are listening Down 10kc for a responce as an example. When you see the CQ with a U/D amount
you then call them on that frequency, and look for them to reply back on the U/D frequency. They do
not run split frequency when doing this as far as actually working you is concerned. Example: you see
CQ WB5APD U5 on 144.140. That means you should answer my CQ on 144.145 and look for me to come
back to you on 144.145.
* Note - Not
all CQ's will use the CQ U/D thing. If you do not see a CQ followed by an Up or
Down KC amount
then you just reply to the CQ on the frequency the CQ is on, and expect a reply on the same CQ frequency.
Where Are FSK441 Skeds Run
On 144mhz expect to run skeds
from 144.105-144.150. On 50mhz most skeds are run plus or
20kc of the CQ frequency of 50.260. On 222mhz there has been so little activity there is no set area for skeds.
How Long Do Normal Skeds Run
Sked times to complete can vary from 3 minutes
(rare) to over an hour. It depends on time
day, and how large each station is, plus how far apart the stations are. Be patient. Typical skeds run
about 30 min .
Who Should Transmit 1st 30 Seconds "On Skeds"
Use conventional Western most station ALWAYS sends
1st 30 seconds . If both station are in a
North/South Relationship then the Southern most station starts 1st 30 seconds.
How Do I know What To be Sending Back and What A Completed Contact Is
Use standard meteor scatter exchanges and suggested pre-requisites for what is a valid
scatter contact. In WSJT software hit your F5 key to bring up a window on what to send back when.
Click Here: to see a flow chart on what you send back verses what you have received.
How Do I work A CQ or Portable Dx-pedition Station
When working with Portable Stations and CQ
Stations here is a good flow chart
will help the other stations to avoid QRM, and also to let others know about the activity going on.
What Is The Maximum Distance to Expect
Maximum distance for the FSK441 mode will be around 1475 miles. Skeds at 1000 miles are
easiest to do. Skeds under 500 miles are very hard to do . Above 1000 miles skeds get harder till you
hit the current 1475 mile wall.
Does Power (ERP) Matter
Power makes pings
higher your ERP the better luck you will have. You can get
calculator software in the VHF/UHF section of my web sie .
What About Receive Pre-amps
External receive preamps really help
even if in shack. I have yet to see a rig that would
receive better when running an external preamp along with the rigs internal preamp.
What About Using Single Tone Message Format
I only consider a single tone type of message as valid IF
it decodes + I actually hear the tone +
see it appear in top right FSK441 window in correct place. Birdies and off frequency stations +
clicking on a ping on green line can give you false single tone decodes when using single tone
messages. Others may disagree on this.
I personally never use single tone messages or have seen a need for them to complete, but that is
just me and the way I feel about it. Many USA station love using single tones. I have always found if I
can get both calls (which are always muti-tone) then getting a R27 or RRR mutil-tone is never a
problem. Also I never have to worry about false single tone messages from birdies etc by always
using muti-tones. That is just me though and others I am sure feel differently.
Does This Need To Be Done During A Meteor Shower Only
I seldom see
little difference in what I can work
when there is a meteor shower verses
non shower conditions . A Leonids meteor storm is an exception though hi hi. Most meteor showers
will give you a chance for more pings but it can take as little as 2 pings to complete anyway during
normal non shower days (BC+ Report in a ping plus R in another) or 3 pings ( BC+ 27+R).
How Close To On Frequency Does My Rig Receive Need To Be
FSK441 seems to decode
an off frequency station plus or minus about
Most rigs from
factory are not on frequency that close . Most can be tweeked by adjusting the local osc, or just offset
your rig by the correct amount once you determine how much and which way it is off.
What About Close In Skeds and this HOT A-B Stuff
Skeds under 500 miles can be done, but it normally
requires both stations to be able to
their antennas . Working a station under 500 miles is about the same as working one over 1200 miles.
Hard to do but can be done with long skeds even without antenna elevation. This is where the Hot A-B
stuff comes into play. If you put in the other stations grid and click LOOKUP, the software will show you
both a direct heading to the other station, plus a Hot A or B setting. The theory is for close in stations
(say 400-600 miles) that if BOTH station will use the HOT A or B offset setting it can lengthen the path
between the two stations to increase the pings. (see link question #13 below)
How Much Power and Antenna Is Needed
How much power and how big an
are needed. Well on 2m I have worked a
running 10 watts into a 10 element yagi, and also a 300 watt station using a halo (omni loop). I would
consider these as rare not usual contacts on 2m. To me anything above 25 watts to at least a 10
element yagi on 2m is a viable FSK441 station, especially if the other receiving end has a large antenna
system. What ever the antenna system it needs to be horizontally polorized.
What About Different VHF/UHF Bands
50mhz verses 144mhz and up
. You will find it is easier to work meteor scatter on the
50mhz frequency. Most run meteor scatter on 144mhz because you normally can get more openings
on 50mhz than on 144 mhz. Thus there is not the need to use this mode as much on 50mhz. 222mhz
also works well for meteor scatter. 432mhz is another story. Pings on 432mhz are very rare . In fact I
have never completed a 432mhz meteor contact. It can be done though with very long skeds and some
help from a meteor shower. The 1st known 432mhz FSK441 completion was done by K1VOW and N7CZ
on December 13, 2001. Each station was running 100 watts to a single yagi. Sked took 100 minutes to
complete. Way to go guys. Give 432mhz a try IT CAN BE DONE!!
Do I Need Antenna Elevation Control
Elevation control is definately not
for FSK441 meteor scatter work. The only time
able to elevate the antenna would come into play is if the 2 stations are around 500 miles or less
apart. Well maybe 600 miles also hi hi. I have worked stations at around 500 miles with no elevation
control at either end. Takes time though. If you look at the Hot A and Hot B settings in FSK441 you
will see most of the time they are based on both stations being able to elevate their antennas. Look
above and to the left of the Hot A/B and you will see the antenna elevation the offset is based on .
See W8WN information on distance versus optimum elevation angles.
What Do I Put On A QSL Card For RST Report
I always just put the same
report on the QSL as was being used during the QSO. For FSK441
the same 26/27 type of report being sent back, or for JT44 the grid (or OOO if EME) that was sent back.
Click Here: to see also my web page dedicated to High
Speed Meteor Scatter
for more information
on meteor scatter.