Showing posts with label HRD DM780. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HRD DM780. Show all posts

January 21, 2012

HRD DM780 Calling Macro

One of the things we enjoy about digital modes is automating repetitive tasks like calling.  One trick we like to use in certain situations is to call for stations in specific locations.  This is particularly useful when looking for those final one or two states to complete the ARRL WAS or Triple Play awards.

By calling for specific locations you may just entice a reply from state you need who would have otherwise not responded.  In this example, we are calling for NJ stations.

        CQ NJ CQ NJ CQ NJ de NJ2X pse kn

It doesn't always work and you will definitely get responses from hams outside of your target location.  However, this approach does pay off from time-to-time.

What does not work particularly well, some would say it is even annoying, is to call with a very long list.  For example:

        CQ AK AL AR CA CT DE FL GA ID IA ....

This is simply too verbose to work well.  Better to simply call the band since there is a good probability you will make contact with a station on the list no matter who answers.

Here is our Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) DM780 macro that we created for calling specific locations.  Just copy paste into your own macro and edit with the locations you are targetting.

#++
#
#   Short CQ DX call for CA and HI station, stops TX when all text sent.
#
#--
#
CQ CA, HI CQ CA, HI de <my:callsign> <my:callsign>
CQ CA, HI CQ CA, HI de <my:callsign> <my:callsign>
PSE K <stop>



Related articles on NJ2X.COM:
HRD DM780 - variations of the 73 macro
HRD DM780 Macros: Curse or Blessing?
HRD DM780 Calling Macro




December 23, 2011

HRD DM780 Macros: Curse or Blessing?

The Ham Radio Deluxe DM780 software is unquestionably a wonderful product - large number of digital modes, powerful features, and easy to use.  There is no mystery as to why DM780 has such a strong following among hams.

Monitoring 40m PSK31 activity with DM780

One of the convenient features of DM780 is automation of the QSO with macros.  You can think of macros as an automated form letter.  This allows for quick exchanges of routine information.  There are several very good reasons for using macros in DM780 or any other similarly enabled ham radio software:
  • Macros relieve the burden of typing the same information over-and-over again.  No fun typing CQ CQ CQ .... over and over again.
  • Speed up the QSO and allow the operator to multitask.
  • Provides an assistant to people with physical disabilities which limit their use of a keyboard.
  • Provides a structure to the QSO.
  • Macros are very useful with the hyper-fast modes like PSK-125.  Most people simply can't type fast and accurately enough to keep up with the mode.
  • Macros are a great way to make an exchange in a language you don't speak (see our article, "HRD DM780 - variations of the 73 macro").
Some hams are put off by macros.  Some even to the point that they avoid using digital modes like PSK31 due to what they perceive as inappropriate overuse of macros.
  • Some hams feel that macro driven QSO are like form letters lacking the human touch.
  • Some hams prefer a short efficient QSO.  They don't enjoy receiving macro-driven unsolicited extensive information about the contact's station, detailed accounts of the weather, long lists of awards, ...
We really enjoy using digital modes and macros definitely have a place in our operation.  We enjoy using digital modes for rag chewing and award hunting.  Sometimes we use macros, other times we don't and sometimes we combine both macros and typing.  It all depends on the context of what we are doing and who we are communicating with.  Here are a few tips for macro use:
  • Don't send station details, weather conditions, or award information unless asked for this information.
  • Keep macros lean and efficient.  Avoid loading them up with unneeded information.
  • Consider combining both macro and typed information together to give the exchange a human touch.
  • Don't use macros for very simple exchanges.  For example, the minimum exchange for a SKED is often call sign and report.  We typically choose to simply type the exchange during a PSK31 sked QSO.
  • Avoid the use of macros during a rag chew QSO and give your communication the human touch.
  • As an alternative to providing unsolicited details, consider sending a simple Internet link to your information.  This allows people to decide for themselves if they want to learn more about your station, awards, etc. by following the link.
We don't agree with those that abandon digital modes because of a few well-intentioned hams who overuse macros.  The art of amateur radio is communication.  We are in the glass-is-half-full camp thus we believe the art will continue to improve as we all gain experience with digital modes and grow with the hobby.  Also, operating digital modes are simply too much fun to just stand on sidelines.  It is much more fun to fire up the rig and get into the middle of the game.

See our related articles:
HRD DM780 Calling Macro
HRD DM780 - variations of the 73 macro



© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

November 15, 2011

Chasing DX The Easy Way with HRD DM780

We love chasing DX and the thrill of the hunt.  Chasing DX is also time consuming - spinning the VFO dial in search of that rare DX station at all hours of the day and night.  For some, chasing DX competes with other priorities such as family, food, hygiene, sleep, jobs, kid's soccer games, exercise, ...  That is why it is important to us to find little tricks to maximize the impact of our scarce operating time and maintain some semblance of balance to life.

Warning, you are about to learn a very powerful secret that may change the way you ham FOREVER.

Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) is a wonderful ham radio software package that includes integrated rig control, logging, and a program for running various digital modes called DM780.  We love operating digital modes like PSK31.  It is fun to communicate by computer over the radio.  Additionally, PSK31 is very effective at making DX contacts with a modest station.  An interesting additional advantage of using digital modes is automated monitoring.

It is possible to configure DM780 to listen to all the digital activity on a certain frequency and notify you when it detects DX that you are interested in.  This is extremely handy as it frees you to concentrate on other things.  Imagine being able to work on the "honey-do" list and working DX at the same time.

We recently used DM780 to monitor 14.070 PSK31 activity and notify us when a specific station appeared.  We were looking to make contact with K8WDX in order to complete our last 20m PSK31 WAS state - WV.  We knew that K8WDX uses the LoTW and frequents 20m on PSK31.  Having the computer monitor 14.070 for the station's call sign allowed us to work around the house within ear shot of the computer.  The computer gave a nice loud alert as soon as it recognized the desired call, "W8WDX on 20m".  We immediately ran over to our rig, locked onto the station, and called as soon as he finished his QSO.  Thanks to Tom K8WDX we completed 20m PSK31 WAS!

Here is how we setup DM780 for this:
  1. Tune radio to 14.070 and launch HRD / DM780.
  2. From DM780 menu, select SuperBrowser --> Display.  This brings up the SuperBrowser screen.
  3. Select Alarms --> Manager.  This brings up the Alarms Manager.
  4. DM780 will have several alarms configured as examples.  Disable all of these by removing the check boxes next to the alarms.
  5. Click "New".  A "New Alarm" window will pop up.
  6. Enter the desired station's call in the title field (in our example we entered, "W8WDX")
  7. Click on the "Match: SuperBrowser Only" tab.
  8. Click on the check box for "Callsign(s)".
  9. Enter the desired station's call in the field to the right of the "Callsign(s)" check box (in our example we entered "W8WDX").

     10. Click on the "Action: Sounds" tab.
     11. Add a check to the enable box under "Text-To-Speech".
     12. Click "OK".  This will save the search in DM780.

That's it!  With a few easy clicks you have configured DM780 and your computer to monitor your radio for a desired station and alert you.  This will allow you to do other things and jump on the radio when the desired station has been detected.  This trick is more powerful than monitoring spots since it potentially allows you to locate stations before the spot (and subsequent pileup).

The alarm feature in DM780 is flexible and can be configured in much more complex ways.  We hope you will give DM780 alarms a try.  You will be amazed at how well the alarm feature works.

Be sure to check out our related articles,

September 30, 2011

HRD DM780 - variations of the 73 macro

We enjoy working digital modes like PSK31 and RTTY using Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) DM780.  We are always looking for contacts using the Log Book of the World (LoTW).  DM780 comes with useful macros that are easy to customize.



It is fun to close out a qso using the native language of the country where your contact resides.  Additionally, we find it helpful to let contacts know that we prefer LoTW QSL's.  Below are three HRD DM780 macros that we created to illustrate how incorporate various languages.  To use these just copy/paste the macro text into a new DM780 macro that you create.


#++
#
#   English version end of the QSO, 73 and thanks for the QSO.  LoTW preferred.
#   by NJ2X
#--
#
<his:callsign> de <my:callsign> <add-log>73 <his:name> and thanks for the <qso-mode> QSO <qso-mode-count> de <his:band>. LoTW preferred.
<his:callsign> de <my:callsign> sk <stop>



#++
#
#   Spanish version end of the QSO, 73 and thanks for the QSO.
#   by NJ2X
#--
#
<his:callsign> de <my:callsign> <add-log>73 <his:name> y gracias por el agradable <qso-mode> QSO <qso-mode-count> de <his:band>. LoTW preferido.
<his:callsign> de <my:callsign> sk <stop>




#++
#
#   Portuguese version end of the QSO, 73 and thanks for the QSO.
#   by NJ2X
#--
#
<his:callsign> de <my:callsign> <add-log>73 <his:name> Muito obrigado pelo muito agradavel <qso-mode> QSO <qso-mode-count> de <his:band>. LoTW preferido.
<his:callsign> de <my:callsign> sk <stop>

Good DX and 73,
NJ2X

Related articles:
HRD DM780 - variations of the 73 macro
HRD DM780 Macros: Curse or Blessing?
HRD DM780 Calling Macro




© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

September 27, 2011

SPLATTER = "Nasty Stuff"

We made a nice contact today on 20m PSK31 with a YL (Mary).  Mary commented that our signal was very clean with "none of those lines and nasty stuff" on the waterfall.  We traded anecdotes of our recent experiences observing poor quality PSK signals that were overdmodulated and as a result created interference for neighboring PSK stations.

Splatter is a type of interference to stations on nearby frequencies.  Splatter occurs when a transmitter is overmodulated.  The goal is to make sure your signal is never overmodulated.

Splatter is easy to identify and in many cases just as easy to clean up.  The waterfall screen used for digital communication with tools like DM780 provides an excellent way to visualize the effects of splatter.  You are seeing splatter on the waterfall whenever you see a signal with ghost lines on either side of the original signal.  In general, the wider the ghost lines appear the worse the offending signal is splattering. 

Example of splatter.  Here are two strong PSK31 signals.  Notice the ghost images on the left signal - indicating splatter?  Notice how nice and clean the right signal is?



If you have a particularly horrible example of splatter on a waterfall in the form of a screenshot, please do send me an email with it and a short description of what you observed.  I will compile the worst of the worst for a future post here.

You can check if your signal is splattering by asking a contact you are working to check your signal for splatter and overall quality.  If the report comes back indicating your PSK signal is splattering, try turning down the signal input into your transmitter until the splatter is eliminated.

Power doesn't cause splatter; however, remember also to use the least amount of power necessary to work your contact.  PSK31 and JT-65 are remarkably effective at minimal power.  QRP operators do quite well making DX contacts on PSK31 and JT-65.