WSPR and WSPRnet
Do you wonder how far your radio station will reach? One method is via use of the WSPR mode of digital transmissions and then by viewing the response on the WSPRnet website, http://wsprnet.org.
WSJT-X implements communication protocols or “modes” called FT8, JT4, JT9, JT65, QRA64, ISCAT, MSK144, and WSPR, as well as one called Echo for detecting and measuring your own radio signals reflected from the Moon. These modes were all designed for making reliable, confirmed QSOs under extreme weak-signal conditions. All but ISCAT use nearly identical message structure and source encoding — the efficient compression of standard messages used for minimal QSOs. JT65 and QRA64 were designed for EME (“moonbounce”) on the VHF/UHF bands; JT65 has also proved popular and effective for worldwide QRP communication at HF. JT9 is optimized for the LF, MF, and HF bands. It is about 2 dB more sensitive than JT65 while using less than 10% of the bandwidth. With either JT9 or JT65, world-wide QSOs are possible with power levels of a few watts and compromise antennas. JT4 and QRA64 are optimized for EME on the VHF and higher bands, and especially the microwave bands from 2.3 to 24 GHz. FT8 is operationally similar to JT65 but is much faster, using T/R cycles only 15 s long. MSK144 is used for Meteor Scatter on the VHF bands. Finally, as described more fully on its own page, WSPR mode implements a protocol designed for probing potential propagation paths with low-power transmissions. WSPR is now fully implemented within WSJT-X, including automatic band-hopping. To download the software, go to http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx.html
WSJT-X is an easy (and free) program to download, install and setup to control your radio and send digital radio transmissions in many different modes. One of those modes if WSPR. WSJT-X is a digital software program for amateur radio operators. If you already have the equipment to run PSK or RTTY, then you have all the hardware you need. When WSPR mode is selected on the WSJT-X software low power transmissions (typically 25 or 30 Watts) are sent out and other radio stations around the world report receiving your signal to the WSPRnet website. WSJT-X allows you to send your WSPR signal for a short time, or much longer time (like overnight). Software and easy setup instructions can be found at www.wsjtx.net/home/. Please note, it is important to read and follow the provided documentation for successfully WSJT-X operation. One of the common errors is failure to synchronize your computer time to universal time. This can easily be done via
To view that response, it is necessary for you to create a free account to verify that you are a licensed Ham and that the provided call-sign is yours. Once you have your account approved you can log into wsprnet.org with your username and password to access their graphically mapped results of your transmissions. WSPRnet allows you to set the parameters as well for what time period your signal was received. I was surprised the first few times I tried WSPR to find just how far my signal reached. I made it to Australia and Antarctica on a couple different nights. The WSPRnet map can be zoomed in and out to fit your screen size. The WSPRnet map of your signal can also be saved and/or printed using screen capture software.