January 20, 2018


Last edited:

On the last day of 2017 and the first one of 2018 I participated in the QRSS New Year's Eve Operation Celebration of the Las Cruces QRSS Mafia (see also my blog entries of December 12th and November 22nd). From 0000 UTC on December 31 until 2359 UTC on January 1st I had my 200mW U3S transmitting my callsign on 40m in FSKCW QRSS with a "dit" length of 6 seconds and a frequency shift of 4 Hz.
This was my first experience with QRSS. QRSS is extremely slow CW usually transmitted at QRPp power levels. Extremely slow as the length of a dit usually is several seconds. Very weak QRSS signals that are close to or below the noise floor and that are often not audible to the ears of the human ham operator can often still be detected and made visible with a computer and special software. This is the basic idea behind QRSS. This was (and still is) a great way of experimenting with low power signals, basically the same way you can do now with WSPR except that the way to find out where your signal is heard with QRSS is way more of a hassle. With QRSS you have to keep an eye on the online "grabbers" or someone must send you a reception report to let you know that they received your QRSS signals. Unfortunately there aren't that many online grabbers around, so I understand that most hams prefer to operate WSPR instead, and I'm afraid the QRSS operator is becoming an endangered species.
It's a real thrill though to find your own callsign on a grabber screen, so here's a little plea to get you into QRSS and to keep this mode alive. If you're the owner of for instance a QRP Labs U3S or some other transmitter that's capable of doing QRSS, why don't you just try it and send some QRSS beacons every once in a while. You can easily combine it with sending WSPR beacons. If there are more QRSS operators, hopefully this will also lead to more people getting interested in setting up a grabber.

Below you can see my signals during the New Year's Eve operation as found on the 40m QRSS grabbers of G3VYZ in England and SA6BSS in Sweden. My signal is the one all the way at the bottom. A compendium of active grabbers can be found on the QRSS Plus site. A list of QRSS frequencies can be found here.

No comments:

Post a Comment