Re: WSPR Antenna

Bill Cromwell

Hi Alan,

It looks like you are a little on the defensive here. My comments are not a slur directed at either you or WSPR. I'm sorry if something I said looks that way to you.

I tried WSPR several times actually long ago. Before we got our 630 meter ham allocation there were experimental stations and they were doing the propagation studies with - among other things - WSPR. I tried a number of times to get it to work at my station. I was never part of the experimental license and did not transmit. I did offer some reception reports.

The problem was NOT my five year old (at the time) radio. mine were much older. I have and still play with some very old gear - the newest of that stuff is from the 70s and uses at least one *free running*, L-C oscillator - or more. Some of my legacy gear dates to WW2 and even back to the 1930s. The drift was just too much even though you wouldn't notice as a CW or SSB op. RTTY was good too. And AMTOR in it's day. I learned to reduce the drift but not enough. If I was taking a shot at anything in my previous post it was my own radio gear.

Since that time (I abandoned WSPR a long time ago) I have acquired radios that have a hope of staying close enough on frequency to give it another try. Without the GPS reference it might fail but I am pretty sure the receiver will not drift off far enough. I will see about that *soon*.

I have no interest at in the beacon transmitter kit. I learned about the QCX about the time I acquired my PFR-3 and considered buying one for 80 and one for 17 meters. Before I bought in I learned about the QSX to be available - hopefully soon. I also acquired a microBitX and I have been using it. It has not slowed my ineterest in the QSX.

My own thought about the compromise antenna was related to how many more signa;s you might log with WSPR with better antennas. That is *my* curiosity. Not a requirement imposed on you.

If you could see my mail archive you would see that none of the WSPR messages since the first day I tried it have been deleted. I am very interested in what other hams are doing and I do sometimes ask questions. Not as challenges. Just out of my own interest.


Bill KU8H

On 6/4/19 2:43 PM, Alan de G1FXB via Groups.Io wrote:
Hi Bill,
frequency accuracy requirements on the TX side are pre-deltwith in the U3S kit.
Use good construction practice, common sense,
case the kit, you don't want draughts or heating of the XTAL, use a stable power supply and with the GPS add on option and it's almost a no brainer.
GPS also removes the other variable, you need to start your TX at a particular time +/- 1 Sec
Employ sane & sensible choices in the menu options for cal & step settings,
they need to be different at first turn on for optimal quick course tuning, once it's achieved most of the required calibration trimming use finer correction for utmost freq accuracy.
Also how long you leave between TX cycles and band changes (if any)can influence the cal settings.
All of which have being long discussed on this forum, Hans application notes on the main website, etc, etc.
The results are guaranteed as much as they can be in a self built kit....
Yes, its perhaps more demanding on the RX side! You need to accurately need to know where you are and stay there.
A HRO is perhaps a poor choice, after all WSPR employs a 200Hz wide passband, not KHz.
You can quantify your chances of success before even downloading the WSPR EXE. Tune to one of the off air HF Time & Frequency Standards.....
Failing that, tune to a BC station. Zero beat it / use ARGO or SL applications. It costs you nothing.
Look on one of the WSPR reporting sites.
Choose any call sign as the sender station and look at the frequency variation given by the reporters.......
Some employ reference locked RX stations. some are plainly wrong?
They are the loosers in the bragging rights, by not correctly setting their receiving window....
"Surprisingly" QRP-Labs provide cheap modules you could assemble and use to make an accurate RX as they are,
or build into a different design you favour
3rd party inaccuracy is out of your control, don't sweat it.
Use any mode you favour,I suspect I may differ?but I don't see WSPR as a new toy, created 2008?
A popular solution perhaps was something similar to
Simple blocks, a Xtal LO, no oven & no GPS. But careful construction & common sense such as dont put the Xtal in the same box as the PA and it worked.
All pre the DDS & synth in a chip solutions of today to generate the carrier.
Heck today you can use a RPi and waggle a IO pin if you want to radiate WSPR signals without using a transmitter circuit....
recently there was a declaration that WSPR is no longer of value, everyone has moved on to FT8 it's superior.
This is incorrect, like for like figures indicate WSPR will decode further into the noise (SNR) you can also fit more TX stations in an identical B/W
WSPR is created as a no compromise one-way mode with efficient use to bandwidth, not QSO mode by design. However new,It's not all about speed.
The U3S by it's self (as a majority are built and will be used) is incapable of two way communication
What you are seeing is easily explained. There are more (T?)RX stations on on the latest & greatest mode, not that it is technically superior in any way.
as to the question on how well with an efficient antenna, What am I missing.
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it,
does it make a sound?"
Do you foresee a "problem"?
My low output WSPR beacon on a bit of wire gets heard,
It can be argued it's further compromised.
My meagre signal is still further flattened by the BIG guns running 500mW....
I'm one of those "awkward" people who all sit on top of each other, middle of the window.
Why do I do that deliberately, because it gives me easy(ier) numbers to flag the frequency differences
should someone receive me......
On your comment that you may re-try wspr, now that you have a couple of radio's possessing more stable oscillators.
How much did they cost Verses the costs for a proven solution of a QRP-Labs U3S transmitter & ProgRock or VFO Kit / Receiver kit and a GPS kit.
In your favour the new radio's probably do modes & freq capabilities different to the U3S etc.
But *you didn't have to upgrade to new radios in order to meet the requirements for WSPR?* / the "original" radios could be on another band or mode you originally purchased them for?
I don't need to convince you, or anyone else. There is no one size fit's all.
I feel my U3 does me.
regards Alan
On 04/06/2019 16:31, Bill Cromwell wrote:
Hi Alan,

I don't use WSPR at all. Once (or twice) upon a time I tried WSPR but failed completely. Toys like WSPR give new meaning to frequency stability for an amateur. "Good enough" is still good enough but that tied to requirements of different modes. I may try it again one of these days now that I have 'more stable' oscillators in a couple of radios. Let me write that on the white-board.

I do use FT8 as a propagation indicator without ever transmitting anything. The station call sign we are actually copying is clearly listed so the band is open to (from) there. The station (s)he is working is also listed so we can consider that path too, even if we cannot hear the other station (I often can).

How well would it work if you deployed an intentionally efficient antenna?


Bill?? KU8H

On 6/4/19 11:15 AM, Alan de G1FXB via Groups.Io wrote:
Hi Victor,
You may be surprised just how good the WSPR mode can be, with no / minimal effort..

I run a random length of wire (no more than 15feet)?? pinned to the facia board approx 9 foot above ground level on a stable block.
No ATU, no counterpoise or secondary ground rod connection.
I don't claim to be heard on all continents at any one time,
I use WSPR as a propagation indicator, not as an automated WAC certificate collection tool.....

I do reach the other side of the world when band conditions are good,
and have beyond the norm spots on 10Mtrs (low VHF) so suggesting sporadic E, etc, etc.Single BS170 as supplied by Hans in my kit, fed with 5V in recognition of no ATU matching, through a 3dB attenuator to restrict the worse case SWR seen by the PA to 2:1?? (Previously unaware of existence of everlasting BS170's)

It's being running pretty much 24/7/365 since 2013, (It's a U3 so is at a disadvantage to the later U3S design having a less efficient "PA" configuration.
Never more than a day or two down time, most often caused by a "brown out" on the power feed to the field.
power changes per band, I don't recall more than 100mW measured on any band?? even at it's sweet spot at on the LF bands
With the U3S expect circa 250mW
Further crippled by the fact it band hops 160-10MTRs so doesn't hammer every two minute cycle on what ever is the best choice band at anyone time.
Check one of the WSPR reporting sites?

Personally think it's good value & have got my monies worth
In all probability you will do better...

regards Alan

On 04/06/2019 01:04, Viktors Miske KC8CKZ wrote:
Well, my Ultimate 3s arrived today! (Along with some extras).?? Hopefully have it up and running by the 4th of July.
But stage 2 of the project comes to mind, that radiating gizmo often referred to as an antenna.?? Personally I plan on building a multi band Fan antenna (dipole).?? At the house I have a 40' tree, but it would have to be at a 45 degree angle.?? I may set up in the local park at times where I can easily go horizontal at 60' (small park, but has 5 Banyan trees).
Just curious on what everyone else runs for their beacon.?? And apologize if this topic is either off, or been covered.

bark less - wag more

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