Keyboard-to-Keyboard Digital Mode: Olivia, A Good Compromise

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by NW7US, Dec 12, 2017.


Have You Had More Than Two Olivia-Mode QSOs?

  1. Nope. Never Had Any.

  2. Nope. Only One or Two Times.

  3. Yep. But, No More Than Ten Times.

  4. Yep. Many Times.

Results are only viewable after voting.
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  1. NW7US

    NW7US Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some HF digital modes were designed for long-distance (DX) propagation (radio wave propagation) via the ionosphere. One such keyboard-to-keyboard digital mode is Olivia.

    Friday evening, 8 December 2017, at 0200 UTC {9-DEC}, Larry, N7ZDR, called an Olivia-mode 80-Meter digital roundtable net. The following video is a snapshot of about nine minutes of on-air net operations as received at my location in Omaha, Nebraska. My antenna is a wire run from an SEA marine autotuner mounted under the three-story-high roof's eaves. I live in a high-RF environment within two miles of eight high-powered broadcast antenna facilities--TV, FM, AM--as well as business and public-service transmitters. All that RF desensitizes my receiver. The noise floor is also affected by industrial-level man-made RF noise.

    No, Olivia is not lightening-fast keyboard-to-keyboard chatting, but it can get the job done. This following video is an example showing some real-world operation in which the very weakest signals did not decode well. However, even with the 80-Meter band (center frequency is 3585 kHz) really difficult to work with, it did well in terms of what was available for the Ham Radio Deluxe DM780 software to decode.

    In 2005, SP9VRC, Pawel Jalocha, released to the world a mode that he developed starting in 2003 to overcome difficult radio signal propagation conditions on the shortwave (high-frequency, or HF) bands. By difficult, we are talking significant phase distortions and low signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) plus multipath propagation effects. The Olivia-modulated radio signals are decoded even when it is ten to fourteen dB below the noise floor. That means that Olivia is decoded when the amplitude of the noise is slightly over three times that of the digital signal!

    Olivia decodes well under other conditions that are a complex mix of atmospheric noise, signal fading (QSB), interference (QRM), polar flutter caused by a radio signal traversing a polar path. Olivia is even capable when the signal is affected by auroral conditions (including the Sporadic-E Auroral Mode, where signals are refracted off of the highly-energized E-region in which the Aurora is active).

    Currently, the only other digital modes that match or exceed Olivia in their sensitivity are some of the modes designed by Joe Taylor as implemented in the WSJT programs, including FT8, JT65A, and JT65-HF--each of which are certainly limited in usage and definitely not able to provide true conversation capabilities. Olivia is useful for emergency communications, unlike JT65A or the newly popular FT8. One other mode is better than Olivia for keyboard-to-keyboard comms under difficult conditions: MT63. Yet, Olivia is a good compromise that delivers a lot.

    Join us -- not just on the HF waterfall, but by joining our email-based group at https://Groups.Io/g/olivia or on Facebook at

    Thanks for spreading the Olivia love!
    KA0HCP likes this.
  2. W6UV

    W6UV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I like Olivia, but prefer MFSK16 because I'm a fast typist and waiting for Olivia to catch up is like watching grass grow.
  3. F1ABE

    F1ABE Subscriber QRZ Page

    Olivia for life !
  4. VK6YSF

    VK6YSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Contact between VK8VWA Darwin, Northern Territory and VK6YSF Northam, Western Australia with Olivia mode under very weak signal conditions.

    Merry Christmas
  5. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, it might be a good compromise if there were anyone to work on it. But there isn' PSK31 is generally a better alternative if you want an RTTY like ragchew. Unfortunately, here in the days of the FT8 craze, there's also not as much PSK31 activity as there used to be--even a few months ago. ;)
  6. DG1RUG

    DG1RUG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good Morning

    Please do not forget OLIVIA !
    Sun activity are verry low, But Keep CALLING in OLIVIA .
    YOU do not Call noboddy can haer you .
    Present trying 80 Meter´s on 3584.00 Center 16/500, trye to catch me !

    vy 73 es GDX UWE DG1RUG
  7. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That is the problem with the plethora of digital modes. What is hot today is cold tomorrow and activity soon disappears. I give up chasing the mode d’jour.
  8. KE0IJN

    KE0IJN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Olivia is alive and well in NA on 20m 14.071 +
    There are a few of us on there everyday usually, You might even see some THOR and Contestia as well
  9. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've operated the mode a few times and like it. What I don't like can be found in the post on this thread. In the narrative or the screenshots of the responses you will see...8/500, 8/250, and 16/500. Thanks for proving my point, by the way. Why not agree on one and stick with it? It would encourage me to operate the mode more frequently. Can't speak for others.

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