FreeDV WIA Broadcast: New Relay Time

tiki-download_fileThe AREG (VK5ARG) is continuing to conduct an experimental re-transmissions of the National and VK5 WIA News Service in the FreeDV-1600 mode on Sunday mornings. The aim is to encourage amateur radio operators to come and try FreeDV HF Digital voice.

CHANGED BROADCAST TIME

Due to HF radio propagation conditions over the past few months, the team running the relay has decided to try relaying the broadcast an hour later at 1000 CST (0030 UTC) instead of the earlier 0900hrs time. This is so that there is a better chance of skywave propagation being available into VK5 as well as VK3.

Details
When: Sunday Mornings 10:00am ACST (0030 UTC)
Where: 7177kHz
Mode: FreeDV 1600 – Lower Side Band

Callbacks are conducted after the broadcast providing an ideal opportunity for you to experiment further with FreeDV! Callbacks are conducted in FreeDV mode initially, and SSB at the close (to allow SWL stations to provide their reports also).

Online logging of FreeDV has been disabled for the time being due to a problem with the website.

For more information about FreeDV please visit the www.freedv.org website or log onto Internet Relay Chat (IRC) on irc.freenode.net. (http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=freedv) and connect to the #freedv channel.

If you have FreeDV set up with your HF station why not tune in and see how you go? You can use one of the many open source software packages or perhaps using an SM1000 FreeDV modem to receive (and transmit FreeDV. You can visit the AREG HF Digital Voice project page for more information as well!

FreeDV Broadcast 31st Jan 2016

sadfaceDue to technical issues this morning the FreeDV broadcast team were unable to take callbacks using FreeDV.

Announcements were made using analog SSB and a few reports were achieved.

Stations wishing to provide a signal report are encouraged to email the AREG with the usual details, email addresses can be found on the “contact us” page.

Thanks and our apologies again for not being able to participate in the callback in DV.

FreeDV Broadcast Team, VK5ARG

WIA Sunday Broadcast – VK5ARG FreeDV Relay on 7177kHz

wia-logo-image_1_hiresThe AREG (VK5ARG) is conducting an experimental re-transmissions of the National and VK5 WIA News Service in the FreeDV-1600 mode.

The aim is to encourage amateur radio operators to come and try FreeDV HF Digital voice.

Details
When: Sunday Mornings 10:00am ACST (0030 UTC)
Where: 7177kHz
Mode: FreeDV 1600 – Lower Side Band

If you have FreeDV set up with your HF station why not tune in and see how you go? You can use one of the many open source software packages or perhaps using an SM1000 FreeDV modem to receive (and transmit FreeDV. You can visit the AREG HF Digital Voice project page for more information as well!

Callbacks are conducted after the broadcast tiki-download_fileproviding an ideal opportunity for you to experiment further with FreeDV!

You can also log your FreeDV WIA Broadcast reception report here:

For more information about FreeDV please visit the www.freedv.org website or log onto Internet Relay Chat (IRC) on irc.freenode.net. (http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=freedv) and connect to the #freedv channel.


Update: 17th January 2016 Activity

Following on from the broadcast reports were coming in from around the country. Some could decode it successfully, some couldnt. As this is an experiment, we are interested in all results. The following are some of the feedback received:

Michael VK5ZEA in Port Lincoln (~230km away) posted these samples:

Andrew Scott VK3BA in Melbourne (~700km away) posted this sample:

Thanks to Andrew and Michael for posting samples of what they received online!

Breaking News: WIA News FreeDV Experiment Sunday 6th Dec

To continue promotion of the FreeDV mode, the AREG this coming Sunday is planning to attempt a relay of thethe WIA news using the FreeDV 1600 mode on 40m. The operating frequency will be around 7.177 from 9am CDST (2230UTC) with a FreeDV 1600 net Planed around 9:30am (2300UTC). A FreeDV 700B net will follow after the 1600 mode one.

Andy VK5AKH will be transmitting the WIA Broadcast and acting as net control. He will monitor the FreeDV QSO finder, IRC etc for feedback during the broadcast. If the worst case arises and we can’t get the Broadcast working there will still be an on air gathering at 2300UTC of FreeDV stations.

Andy runs a rotary dipole and would expect that 50W of freeDV should reach most of SE Australia fairly well at this time of the day, so tune in and have a go!

FreeDV QSO Party – Activity Log for the 12/13th September 2015

5.00pm – Wrapping Up

Well, that about ends our FreeDV experiments for today. It has been great to see stations across VK and the world come and try this new mode. It was disappointing that the ionosphere ‘flamed out’ when it did but this is not going to be the last time we rally FreeDV users to come together and have a go, so if you missed out making a contact today, stay tuned for the next event.

We would like to thank all stations that took part or listened in and hope to see you all next time!

Regards, The team from the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group!

3:30pm – Now beaming LP Europe on 14236kHz

We are now attempting contact with Europe long path using FreeDV 700B. OE3GBB is reporting 70% copy and S4-5 – unfortunately we cant hear his responses as we have S9 noise here. Still, it is impressive that we are being heard!

Update: we did achieve contact with OE3GBB using a remote receiving station!

2:00pm – back from lunch and working some locals

40m is working into VK2 this afternoon on FreeDV 700B mode with contacts to VK2KDK and partial contacts to VK1KV. We will continue to have VK100ANZAC calling CQ beaming east this afternoon on 40m.

11:45am – all quiet – unfortunately

Well, our attempt here in Australia at getting the VK100ANZAC callsign out on freeDV is not going real well. The ionosphere coupled with local power line noise (which has sprung up today) have combined to make 40m and 20m very quiet (or should I say very noisy) indeed. We are still calling CQ with the keyer on 40m (7175) in 700B mode and are intermittently calling/listening on 20m (14236) in 1600 mode, but we are not working many stations.

We will press on in the hope conditions improve as the day progresses.

11:00am – worked VK3DBP on 40m

One station that has been actively working us is VK3DBP who has made several contacts including one around 11am ACST on 40m. Congrats for your enthusiasm for this new digital HF voice mode!

So, what’s this700B mode you are talking about?

On August 25th, David VK5DGR released a new version of the FreeDV software labelled version 1.0.0. This new low 700bps bitrate mode has better signal to noise characteristics than the original 1600bps mode but lower quality audio.

You can get the latest version and give 700B mode a try from these links:

10:10am – worked VK2DGH on 700B

Great signal now heard from VK2DGH on 700B mode. Also getting good SNR reports from VK1MTS (Rx Only) of 10dB SNR to VK100ANZAC – thanks for listening and joining in!

09:47am – contacts into VK4

VK4CAG has just had a great contact with VK100ANZAC on FreeDV 1600 – SNR 15dB – excellent signal into Mannum (SA) today and VK1MTS reported decoding VK4CAG on IRC.

Sunday 13th: 09:35am ACST – QSY 40m 7175kHz

80m NVIS into Adelaide was fading so we have moved to 40m in anticipation of the end of the WIA broadcasts around the nation. Look for VK100ANZAC calling CQ on that channel.

Sunday 13th: 09:00am ACST

Now also worked VK5APR on 80m. Also getting good reports from Michael VK5ZEA in Port Lincoln and Jeff VK5IU in Murray Bridge

Working VK5KDK on FreeDV 700B on 80m 3634.5kHz

VK5ZM FreeDV VK100ANZAC

Sunday 13th: 8:30am ACST – Experiments on 80m

This morning we are trying our luck with 80m. Currently VK100ANZAC is calling on 3.634.5 to give the local VK5 stations an opportunity. We have worked VK5IU on 700B mode and are continuing to call CQ.

Michael VK5ZEA has been hearing us in Port Lincoln.

We will be on 40m, a little later in the morning right after the Sunday morning WIA broadcast.

20m activity has been attempted USA longpath but no joy and nothing heard. The ionosphere is still not cooperating.

The operation continues…..

Sunday 13th: Look out for VK100ANZAC FreeDV on 80m as well

Following the relatively poor HF conditions we have set up one of the FreeDV VK100ANZAC stations to now also operate on 3635kHz. We will intermittently operate that frequency today (particularly early in the morning). If you want to attempt a contact with us on 80m chat with us on the FreeDV qso finder or on the FreeDV IRC Channel online!

Status Update: Saturday 12th September 9pm-12am ACST

The day has arrived and we are on the air with VK100ANZAC for the AREG FreeDV QSO Party. Unfortunately the ionosphere is not being very cooperative tonight with our first planned activation and so far no contacts have been made on 20m. Very little is being heard on the band at all, but we are there listening and calling none the less.

We also are listening to 40m around 7177kHz. Contacts were attempted with VK6 on 40m, and while faint signals were being heard, no decodes were achieved.

Discussion on the FreeDV QSO Finder shows that there is a lot of interest around however with a number of US stations attempting contacts between themselves. If nothing else, this increased activity meets the goal of getting people to come and try FreeDV!

1150pm – just tried a contact with K5WH on 700B mode – might have detected a few syllables but that’s about all. The ionosphere is not playing nice tonight…

Earlier in the day Saturday 12th

6 contacts were achieved earlier in the day on 40m with local Australian stations. Most of those were achieved using the newly released 700B mode. 5 stations succeeded in contacting VK100ANZAC using it. This lower bitrate mode has proved much more resilient in the poor HF conditions being seen this weekend. So, if you have an older version of FreeDV installed, then consider upgrading to the latest version and give the new 700B mode a try. (see www.freedv.org for details)

(Note: unfortunately 700B mode isn’t supported as yet by the SM1000 hardware adaptors so to use it you will need the latest PC software).

Updates

Keep watching this web-post for updates on progress!

FreeDV QSO Party – QSL details for VK100ANZAC control station

The FreeDV International QSO party is coming up this weekend. Activity begins Saturday evening on the following schedule:

Bands and Times?

Various bands will be used, with thetiki-download_file2 primary call channels being 14236kHz +/-QRM and 7175kHz. The VK100ANZAC net control station will be listening and intermittently calling on FreeDV on the following bands:

  • Saturday evening September 12th from 1130UTC (9pm Australian Central Standard Time (ACST)) beaming short path North America on 20m (west coast).
  • Sunday morning September 13th from 2130-2330UTC (7am-9am ACST) on 20m beaming long path North America (east coast)
  • Sunday morning from 2230-0130UTC (8-11am ACST) will see local VK contacts targeted on 40m
  • 0430-0730 UTC (2-5pm ACST) will focus signals towards Europe Long Path as well as VK on 20m.
  • 0530-0830 UTC (3-6pm ACST) will see 40m targeting VK/ZL again
  • During the middle of the day on Sunday we may activate on 15m as well targeting Asia/Japan/Northern VK. Keep watching the AREG blog for details.

Many stations are already gearing up to take part and the operator team is getting ready to head to the station of Chris VK5CP for the weekend where the activity will originate from.

I’m a Foundation License holder – how can I get involved?

One of the very recent questions however was “How can Foundation Licensees take part in this event? While it is true Australian Foundation License holders can’t transmit FreeDV, they can still receive it. So why not have a go at installing the software on your PC, connect your radio’s audio output to your PC soundcard and have a listen around the bands for FreeDV signals!

You can provide feedback to the FreeDV operators during this weekend via Internet Relay Chat (IRC) on irc.freenode.net. (http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=freedv) via the #freedv channel.

The FreeDV QSO Finder will also be used during the weekend. You can take a look and monitor the action here: http://qso.k7ve.org/  Note that the login system for this page uses the HamQTH Callsign Database, which doesn’t have many newer Australian Callsigns. If you get a “Callsign not found” error, you will need to register at: http://www.hamqth.com/register.php If you are listening only, you can log in as “SWL”.

You can also send us an SWL QSL Card via www.eQSL.cc! When a user sets the SWL/HAM checkbox in his Profile to SWL, it automatically forces all incoming and outgoing cards to say ‘Confirming SWL Reception’ instead of the usual ‘This Confirms Our 2-Way QSO’. If you are an SWL, just make sure to go to My Profile and set yourself up as an SWL. If you are a ham, when you send an eQSL to an SWL, it will automatically put the correct wording into the card.eqsl-header

VK100ANZAC QSL Cards for this event

All amateurs can also receive a QSL card for working the VK100ANZAC freeDV station. The WIA VK100ANZAC QSL card policy is as follows:

QSL cards are softcopy only via:

vk100anzacLooking forward to working you all during the FreeDV QSO Party this weekend!

 

Hints & Tips for getting started on FreeDV

The AREG FreeDV QSO Party is getting closer and now would be a great time for you to start setting up their radios so that you can join in on the weekend of September 12th and 13th! More information about the QSO party is available here (click).

The following are some resources you may be interested in to help get your FreeDV station up and running on the air.

What does FreeDV Sound Like?

Firstly, what does a FreeDV Contact sound like in comparison to SSB? Here is an excellent demonstration of this by N4DVR.

How to setup a FreeDV Station?

You can start operating on FreeDV by downloading a program for your computer, and then connecting it to your HF radio via your sound card. The software is an open source program available from the following links:

Next, you need to get your FreeDV software installed on your PC and configured. The following video tutorial is great for explaining how to set up the software.

Once you have the software configured it is time to connect it to a transmitter! The next video is from a presentation made by David VK5DGR at the AREG club meeting where some of the factors to consider when driving a HF radio with FreeDV were discussed.

In summary:

  • Less Power is usually better
  • Do not run any compression on transmit
  • Back the transmitter power off such that the ALC function is barely being activated
  • Do not run any receive filtering

The main reason for these tips is that distortion of the signal leads to bit errors. While you may get more transmit power, the signal quality being transmitted will be degraded to the point where even under very good HF path conditions decoding the signal will be very difficult indeed.

Where to go for more support?

If you want more information about FreeDV please visit the www.freedv.org website or log onto Internet Relay Chat (IRC) on irc.freenode.net. (http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=freedv) and connect to the #freedv channel.