Monday, November 2, 2009

A new QRSS Contact

This morning while working in my shop getting frustrated with progress on trying to get a new DC Receiver working, I abandoned work for a while.  I plugged the computer sound card back into the R-2000 general coverage receiver and turned the dial. I noticed a several signals as reported by ARGO on the computer screen, that is normal noise within the sound card and the ground loops from the receiver, I really need to get a better interface. Most of the displayed signal lines on the screen are steady and associated with 60Hz.  Nothing unusual here.

A minute or so later, I check the screen - there was a single perfectly formed QRSS3 "C" on one of the hum lines!!! What, did I touch something that caused the receiver to jump frequency in time with a perfect QRSS3 "C" - I don't think so.  Where did it come from???  I continued to watch, nothing suggested it was anything but a 60Hz hum line.

Several minutes later, on the same line was a perfect QRSS3 "O"!!!

Now this has my interest!

Who would be sending QRSS3 letters at such a slow rate??, And what was the rate??

I started a timer and put the Grabber into capture mode, and waited, and waited - Eleven minutes later - a perfect QRSS3 "N" - WOW - I have to watch this! Someone is sending some very slow QRSS - I am excited - I have to figure this out!

I can't touch anything - not even the dial - I'll just have to wait!!

At the next Eleventh minute, right on schedule, I could see the leading edge of a letter, BUT at that very moment my "WSPR" transmitter obliterated the receive signal. I did not get that letter.

Who ever is doing this must have an synchronised clock and is transmitting single QRSS3 letter at the begining of minute interval. This has really got me interested! WSPR transmits precisely on even two minutes intervals and then receive-only for (in my case) 20 minutes.  To avoid having WSPR obliterate another letter, I turned WSPR off. I checked my (other) standard local Grabber, I could see the same signal there - but a little weaker - a different antenna is used and maybe my long wire on the R-2000 had an advantage at the right direction.

I computed the time for the next letter, and waited. Right on schedule, A perfect QRSS3 "W" was recorded. I now have "CON_W" received over a 50 minutes period. I wonder what the message would say and to/from whom?

Ten minutes later, a perfect QRSS "A" was received - the first part of a CALL?? - maybe the first few letters, was the last part - I checked the QRZ data base for "WA something CON" - the QRZ database does not have option letter search (that I know of) - no joy.

Ten minutes later, a perfect QRSS "0" (zero) was received, although the frequency was shifting down - NOW this is part of a CALL! - Checked the QRZ database again with "WA0CON", checked Google - still no joy.  I will just have to wait for more of the message.

Now, I started wondering, who would transmit QRSS3 at such a slow rate?  Who ever it was must be on a battery because I could see the tell-tale frequency shift of a heavy loaded transmitter - transmitting a long "zero" for that last received letter.

What could have been the letter that I missed, while my WSPR was transmitting?? an "R", "K", or a comma?? - What kind of message could this be??

I started thinking about my old beacon messages, which consists of something like the following:




BUT, I don't have anything that transmits single characters at 10 minute intervals - or, do I?

There, On the shelf, was the previous weeks experiment, the dead 9Volt battery QRSS Transmitter, with the battery still attached, just as I retrieved it from the cold, wet, centre-insulator of the dipole several days go. See previous experiment.

To make sure this was NOT transmitting, I pulled the battery clip off - the signal went away! Dang!

The extremely low battery voltage must have put the KID2 Keyer (PIC) into some kind of very slow mode, as the characters were being generated one per 10 minute intervals. This is not a normal KID2 Keyer or QRSS mode! Transmit power must have been extremely low, the warmth of the shop must have re-activated the battery (a little), when I turned on the shop heat this morning.

For about 90 minutes, this was a very exciting chase, with a little bit of a let down, but that is what ham radio is all about, chasing signals, even when they are your own!

It was a real rush, even though it was from my own system.

But, I will never ever trust dead batteries again!


No comments:

Post a Comment