One of the good things about the amateur radio hobby is its diversity. If you begin to become bored with one particular activity there are always plenty of other things to try. And so I decided to try something completely new (for me anyway) – HF Slow Scan Television or SSTV for short.
I downloaded the mmsstv software from http://hamsoft.ca/ and read through the instructions on setting up. All very simple really, much like setting up JT65, RTTY or any other soundcard based system/software. It does come with a few standard templates so I used these for a while until I got my head round the file size and clipping tools to create my own.
fig 1. My transmitted SSTV CQ message and control panel.
I have now made several contacts around Europe and Russia and the variety of images received is quite amazing. Contrary to popular belief, they are not pictures of nakedness – they are images of nature, wildlife or screen grabs from cartoons.
fig2. Image received at M0CVO from SP5SMY.
This year I have set myself a challenge. That is, every day I shall aim to make at least one HF QSO, on any band from 80m – 10m, and this shall be using very low power, or QRP. In fact, I shall use no more than 5W.
All this is fine but it does mean that I shall need to pick my mode of operation and times to suit best. Generally this means using a very narrow mode of operation such as CW or data.
CW is a mode that I have used little over the years since taking a 12wpm test in 2000 to get my HF licence, and even less since having a stroke in 2013. However, my dear wife kindly bought me a new iambic twin paddle for Christmas so I am determined to get back into using it properly again.
In fact I now have a line up of 2 iambic paddles – one from Kent and one from MFJ plus a straight key of unknown origins (I believe it was from France). These can be seen in the picture below:
Anyway, I made a start on the challenge on Thursday 1st January 2015 and worked S56IPS using PSK63 – a data mode – on 20m with 5W and 599 each way. On Friday 2nd January I worked G4AJA on 40m using CW, again with just 5W this time with a RST of 578 each way. Not bad considering how “rusty” my CW has become.