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New to PSK31

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by KD5LEH, Mar 24, 2012.

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  1. KD5LEH

    KD5LEH Ham Member QRZ Page


    Finally got my home station set up with a Yaesu FT-857 and LDG AT-100 Pro auto tuner interfaced to my laptop with HAM Radio Deluxe. Decided to play around a bit with HRD and found the PSK31. Seems cool, but I don't at all know the lingo with all of the abbreviations and such. I;m faily new to HF as well, so don't really know all the Q-codes either. Anyone know of any good websites that would help me?

    Thanks and 73s,

    Adam KD5LEH
  2. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    try reading the HRD help files
  3. N1KAM

    N1KAM QRZ Member QRZ Page

    Pretty new ham here myself but here's my thoughts for whatever they're worth ... I'm assuming that you already have an interface from your PC to your rig...Signalink or something like that.

    1. Download and install Digipan, much easier to learn than Ham Radio Deluxe and DM780. (And yes, I expect some criticism for this recommendation and that's OK.)

    2. Listen (watch?) what going on on the PSK areas of whatever bands are open. You'll note that all signals reports are "599" (yeah, right), and what type of info is usually exchanged. Your Maidenhead grid location, your rig info, etc. People also incude things like your PC operating system although the reason for this escapes me.

    3. Customize your macros. When you install Digipan it'll ask you for your callsign, QTH, etc.

    4. Now pick an empty spot on the PSK area of whatever band you're on. Do a Mode...Tune...

    Your transmitter will turn ON. Check for power out - you want a max of 35 watts. Check for want ZERO ALC. If your ALC kicks in, your signal will be lousy and can/will cause problems with other hams on PSK.

    5. Start by answering a CQ that has a good signal at your QTH. Feel free to tell your contact that you are new to PSK and ask for things like 'how your signal looks, etc. You'll find that you will be welcome on PSK.

    73 OM,


    and edited to add:

    Google "youtube k7age psk" and watch all of his PSK videos. GREAT for newbies just like I was not too long ago.... btw, Randy, K7AGE, has provided a fine service to amateur radio. Lots of good stuff.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  4. K7MEM

    K7MEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    No real criticism, just a little expansion. The young people of today are more computer savvy than older operators may be. I lived and breathed computers since the early 70's and don't find any of the programs hard to learn. In the end, they all have the same functionality. So I recommend you try them all. At least all the free ones. There is HRD, Digipan, Fldigi, Airlink Express, etc.. Personally, I like HRD because it covers almost all modes of transmission and the your macros can be personalized to the mode you have selected.
  5. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Gentlemen, he's asking for help with the jargon we use on digital modes.

    While not nearly as extensive as on CW, digi ops do use some prosigns. But, we usually spell everything out, save for a few very common Q-signals.
    Unless otherwise noted, when sent with a question mark, the Q signal is a question. No question mark, it's a statement.

    QRZ? - who is calling me
    QRM - man made interference
    QRN - atmospheric/natural noise
    QRL? - is the frequency in use?
    QRO - increase power ( 'running high power') - not that commonly used
    QRP - decrease power ( 'running low power') - a lot of digi stations run QRP (typically under 5 watts)
    QSB - signals fading
    QSL - 'I confirm'
    QSY - change frequency

    If you get into a traffic net, which is becoming more common on HF these days, there are other Q signals that are commonly used.
    QNI - checking into the net
    QRU - I have no traffic
    QTC followed by a number and destiination - I have xx pieces of traffic for the given destination

    BK - 'break' meaning 'back to you'
    BT - 'break' between thoughts in a transmission - not used that much on digi modes but common on CW
    AR - End of transmission
    K - over to you
    KN - over to you only
    SK - end of communication
    CL - closing the station

    You may get different forms of signal reports. Most people still use the RST system, but some use the RSQ system.

    Here's a more extensive list: I disagree with his suggestion on SK - it's usually used at the very end of the contact i.e. "W6XYZ de K0RGR AR SK" meaning 'end of transmission' and 'end of contact'. AR is usually only used at the end of a contact, too.

    Otherwise, things are usually spelled out, unlike on CW where people abbreviate everything they possibly can. We don't often see many of the common abbreviations like 'LOL' or 'IIRC' on the ham bands, as you would on cellphones.
  6. KD5LEH

    KD5LEH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks all for the info. I'llk look into some of those programs.

    73, Adam KD5LEH
  7. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good advice, start off with something simpler. New drivers don't learn how to drive in a Lamborghini ! Download FLDigi, or Digipan, or Airlink Express and read the help pages
  8. NA7U

    NA7U Ham Member QRZ Page


    Sounds like you haven't built or bought any interface equipment yet. I'd recommend holding off on all that to start with. It introduces more complications into your learning curve, and until you know what you want to do on the digi-modes you may want to gain some experience, which will help you choose any additional equipment you might want/need. It's dead simple just to use a mic from your PC to decode the PSK or umpteen other modes, and just about equally easy to transmit using a cable from the output of your sound-card to your rig's mic and use VOX to key it.
  9. KB3YLQ

    KB3YLQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are also good PSK apps for iPhone/iPad and Android devices. I use both iPhone and iPad and they work great transmitting and decoding. Typing on the small iPhone is not always fun, but it is a lightweight and simple way to go without having to configure drivers and soundcards, etc.

  10. WC5B

    WC5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Are there any abbreviations exactly that you don't know but have seen?
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