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Fairly new guy with a question on PSK31

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by KM4UBG, Aug 16, 2016.

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  1. KM4UBG

    KM4UBG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am just now really starting to get into this radio thing and am realizing that it is going to take quite some time to learn the ropes. Good thing is that I learn something new every time I talk with someone. Until I can pass the general exam I know that I am fairly limited so hopefully soon I will get there. Until then I was wondering where PSK31 falls on the band plans. Does it fall under the RTTY and Data sections? At first I wasn't interested in it and basically ignored it other than to pass the test, but now I am wanting to look into it for DX use. Fairly elementary question but I'm confused none the less. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. W4KJG

    W4KJG Subscriber QRZ Page

    A good place to start is with this ARRL page about PSK-31.

    Set your rig to USB, and approximately to these commonly used frequencies in the Americas for PSK-31:
    1838.15 kHz
    3580.15 kHz
    7070.15 kHz
    7035.15 kHz
    14070.15 kHz
    21070.15 kHz
    28120.15 kHz
    50.290 MHz
    144.144 MHz
    222.07 MHz

    You may also want to play with JT-65 and JT-9. It is a lot of fun for HF DX. Same basic setup as PSK-31, just different software and slightly different frequencies. This is a good page to read to get started with JT.

    Regards,
    Ken
    K8KJG

    P.S. (Edit). Only one frequency is shown (used) for most bands. Dozens of signals can operate simultaneously in the bandpass of a single SSB signal. The software will provide a "waterfall" and spectrum display of all the signals in the filter bandwidth at that frequency in the USB mode.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
    KM4UBG likes this.
  3. K0RGR

    K0RGR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    As a Technician, you'd be restricted to operating PSK31 on 10 meters on HF, in the digital/CW band. The frequency Ken listed for 10 is, indeed, the PSK31 'watering hole' on 10. PSK31 is a very narrowband mode, only 63 Hz wide, so lots of signals will fit in the bandwidth of one 2.7 kHz SSB station, and that's what most PSK users do. We set our radio, in USB mode, on those frequencies listed by Ken, and then let the computer 'tune' us to individual signals within the 2.7 kHz passband of the receiver. It's easier to visualize if you see it in action. There are a lot of YouTube videos on how to operate PSK31.

    There is currently a proposal before FCC that would grant Techs limited PSK privileges on 15 and 80 meters, too. But you're going to upgrade to General before that, so you can use 14070, right? That's the 'king' of PSK frequencies.
     
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  4. K7MEM

    K7MEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    As a Technician you can also use PSK31 on 6 and 2 meters. In fact, you can use it on all of the VHF and UHF frequencies allocated to the Technician. Ken lists three of the most used VHF/UHF frequencies. However, your transceiver should be capable of SSB (USB/LSB). You could certainly operate PSK31 using a FM rig, but it would be a huge waste of bandwidth and you probably won't find much activity.
     
  5. K2SOF

    K2SOF Ham Member QRZ Page

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  6. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Get on the Nifty Guide website, and snag a copy of their band plan flip chart:

    http://www.niftyaccessories.com/bands_op_guide.php

    It lists the band privileges in an easy-to-use way, and shows the watering holes for various modes, etc... I keep a copy of this with each HF radio as a quick reference.

    As far as the digital modes, if you have a shortwave receiver with a BFO or that does sideband, and a phone or PC with PSK / RTTY software, you can listen in and see what the excitement is about. In case you are interested, PSK-31 operation is usually centered around a 3500 Hz chunk of band at a certain frequency. The software lets you view this chunk of band and shows you all the signals present within it. Because the signals are so narrow, multiple QSOs can occur in the same space as one voice QSO.
     
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  7. K0RGR

    K0RGR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wow, I didn't answer this one very completely. I was only talking about HF privileges. Of course you can do it on VHF and higher.

    There is occasionally some PSK activity on 6 meters, but I find much more JT65 there. I will sometimes call CQ on 6 (or 10, where you could also operate), and be amazed when somebody answers me on a 'dead' band. Be patient - band openings happen at random. You can use this web site to see what kind of activity there is on 10 or 6 meters. WSPR is another mode that is used, but it is a beacon only mode. Still, it's interesting to see where your signals pop up.
     
  8. KM4UBG

    KM4UBG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I plan to take the test the second Sunday of September. I was going to take it the other week but the practice tests here basically told me I wasn't quite ready yet. Not that I couldn't luck up but I don't want to waste the time it takes to set aside to just fail a test. Every time I wonder if I "could use that band" I just shake my head and say "I need general class".
     

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