YT1DL Only Digital

Genesis SDR and WSPNet setup

One of the things that makes communicating with amateur radio more fun than using the Internet or the phone is that you never know where your signals will be received. Short wave radio propagation is never completely predictable, and can often surprise you. If this is an aspect of radio that fascinates you, then you'll enjoy using WSPR.

WSPR is a piece of software that enables you to participate in a world-wide network of low power propagation beacons. It enables your radio transceiver to transmit beacon signals, and to receive beacon signals from similarly-equipped stations in the same amateur band. Because participating stations usually upload spots that they receive in real time to a web server at http://wsprnet.org/meptspots.php, you can find out within seconds of the end of each transmission exactly where and how strongly it was received, and even view the propagation paths on a map.

It is vitally important that your computer clock is accurate, as this governs when WSPR starts each transmit or receive period, and nothing will be decoded if your clock is more than a couple of seconds out.

If you are using Windows XP, open the Date and Time window in Control Panel and select the Internet Time tab. There, you should see an option to synchronize the clock using an Internet time server, time.windows.com. Select this option, and do an immediate sync to see if it works.

Once you have your computer clock set it's time to install WSPR. You can download WSPR from http://www.physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/. It installs in the usual way for a Windows application. Start Genesis PSDR as we set before and set frequency to e.g. 7.0386Mhz USB. If you need some other band choose one of the frequency from table below.

Band Dial freq (MHz) Tx freq (MHz)
160m 1.836600 1.838000 - 1.838200
80m 3.592600 3.594000 - 3.594200
60m 5.287200 5.288600 - 5.288800
40m 7.038600 7.040000 - 7.040200
30m 10.138700 10.140100 - 10.140300
20m 14.095600 14.097000 - 14.097200
17m 18.104600 18.106000 - 18.106200
15m 21.094600 21.096000 - 21.096200
12m 24.924600 24.926000 - 24.926200
10m 28.124600 28.126000 - 28.126200
6m 50.293000 50.294400 - 50.294600
2m 144.488500 144.489900 - 144.490100
 

In main window open Setup, Options. Enter your callsign and full six-character locator. Enter the number of the serial port that will be used to control PTT (COM6) and for PTT method set RTS.

 

Select the power you will be using, in dBm. The dBm values are encoded in the software, so you can only use the values listed, e.g. 30dBm (1W), 33dBm (2W), 37dBm (5W), 40dBm (10W). In case of single G59 (without GPA board) set 10dbm (10mW).

Receiving

Now click the Rx radio button in the T/R cycle control, and wait. When the next even numbered minute starts, WSPR will display Receiving in the bottom right of the status bar. It will continue receiving for one minute and 54 seconds, during which nothing will appear in the waterfall display. After that, it will display Waiting to start, and a couple of seconds after that a chunk of waterfall will appear in the display. If you see any faint (or not-so-faint) horizontal traces, these are probably signals from other WSPR users, and if you are lucky, WSPR will have decoded them and will have displayed the details in the Band Map and in the log list in the lower half of the window. As the clock ticks over to 00 seconds, WSPR will start receiving again.

If nothing is received then look hard at the waterfall segment that was displayed. If it shows faint "noise" then it is probable that no stations were transmitting. If it is completely blank then there may be a problem with the VAC connection from your radio, or your mixer settings. Since using a waterfall that only updates once every two minutes to check the result of changes can test your patience. Important! Check "RX Noise" at bottom, status line of WSPRNet window. If it is red, and showing high dB numbers (20 - 30dB) , then audio level of incoming signal from Genesis SDR is to high. You should reduce AF gain in Genesis SDR to 10 or 15. That will solve a problem. Remeber, be patient, waterfall updates once every two minutes!

If you have more than one sound card you will probably need to specify the soundcard number in the setup options as well. The console window mentioned earlier will help you decide what number to put.

When you have verified that your receiver is working correctly, tick the checkbox marked Upload spots. This will cause details of the spots you receive to be uploaded to the WSPR Spots Database at http://wsprnet.org/meptspots.php. This is what makes WSPR fun, interesting and useful. It enables transmitters to know where their signals have been received, and at what strength. It also helps you get a picture of what propagation is like.

Transmitting

WSPR spots map with only 10mW !

 

Now you are almost ready to send your first MEPT transmisss ion. Before you do, you must enter your transmit frequency in the Tx freq box of WSPR. The easiest way to do this is to double-click in the waterfall. Pick a spot that is not being used by any of the stations you have already received. This should result in a frequency somewhere between 7.040000 to 7.040200.

Now set 30% on the T/R cycle control and wait. Eventually, when a new 2 minute segment starts, WSPR will display something like Txing: YT1DL KN04 37. This means that it is sending the information specified - your call, locator and transmitter power, as you entered in the Setup window when you started.

After one minute and 54 seconds it will display Waiting to start again, and then go back to receiving. At each new 2 minute segment your station will transmit with a probability of 30%. If activity is low, you can increase the frequency of transmissions by selecting 40% or more.

After your transmission has finished, wait a few seconds and then open (or refresh, if it is already open) the WSPR Spots Map at http://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map. With luck, your signal will have been received and decoded by other WSPR users, and will appear as spots in the database and map. Congratulations! You are now a fully fledged member of the WSPR Network!