The event calendar for late 2018 and early 2019 is now available on our Meetings page. As usual, the first week in a given month is usually a general meeting and “on the air” night, whilst the third week is normally some sort of planned event or talk.
On 17th October, Clive (G4FVP) will be giving a talk on the VHF amateur bands. Clive has a reputation for being extremely knowledgeable when it comes to VHF, and the 6m amateur band in particular. If you’re interested in taking a step beyond basic “line of sight, plus a bit” FM contacts and would like to explore more of what the VHF bands have to offer, this is an opportunity to learn from one of the experts.
We’re always happy to see new faces at our club meetings, so even if you’re not a CRDARS member, you’re more than welcome to join us for what will no doubt be a very interesting evening.
The proposed beginner’s introduction to HF digital modes, originally scheduled for 19th September has had to be postponed.
Both Andy and Martyn were originally planning on experimenting with HF digital modes (such as FT8 and PSK31) from home, with the intention of providing a practical demo of what we’d been doing and what we’d learned along the way. Unfortunately, we’ve both run into problems getting our rigs, interfaces and software to communicate with each other, so neither of us have had any real success so far. We’ll both continue to experiment, and hope to be able to reschedule our demo for a future date, once we manage to get the kinks ironed out.
In the meantime, several club members have offered to assist with getting the club’s G5RV antenna erected so that it’s available for members to use during our weekly meetings. We’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone who’s offered to assist, and we look forward to reaping the benefits of a permanent antenna in the not too distant future.
On 18th July, members were given a beginner’s introduction to simplex operation using Yaesu’s C4FM (Fusion) digital mode.
Yaesu have an introductory video for Fusion, which I found quite helpful when preparing for the talk:
In the UK, 144.6125 is designated as the 2m digital calling channel. Use this for CQ calls using C4FM or other digital modes. Once you’ve established contact, move to a standard FM simplex channel, or use the all modes section of the band. The 144.6375 – 144.7875 range is recommended.
Most Yaesu C4FM radios are capable of five different modes of operation:
|Mode||Appears as||Used for|
|FM||FM||Conventional FM for communication with non-digital users.|
|V/D (Simultaneous Voice and Data)||DN||Error corrected digital voice. This is the “normal” C4FM mode.|
|Voice FR (Full Rate)||VW||Higher bitrate digital voice, allowing for better audio quality when error correction is not required.|
|Data FR (Full Rate)||DW||Sending text or images between C4FM radios. You cannot select this mode manually. Your transmitter will automatically switch to this mode when you use a feature of your radio that requires it.|
|AMS (Automatic Mode Select)||Bar above active mode||The radio will transmit using the displayed mode, but will automatically switch to other modes upon receiving a transmission using one of the other modes.|
The following two videos provide an introduction to analog to digital conversion, and to digital error correction techniques.
A few things to take away from these videos:
- We need to sample our audio at twice the highest audio frequency we wish to transmit.
- We have a fixed amount of bits that we can transmit over a 12.5KHz FM channel.
- Higher audio quality requires more bits to be dedicated to audio data.
- Error correction requires more bits to be dedicated to checks on our audio data, at the expense of audio quality.
- We have to make trade-offs between audio quality and reliability, hence the two different voice modes with different priorities.