Bob (KCØIDR) in background and Dave (KØVH) discuss PSK31 operation and techniques with RARC club members folowing the demonstation at the April club meeting.
PSK31 (Phase Shift Keying 31 Baud) is best viewed as a "high octane" cousin of RTTY (Radio Teletype). The PSK31 mode was invented by Peter Martine, G3PLX, who also brought commercial SITOR mode to the hams bands as AMTOR. For a few years, PSK31 languished in obscurity since special DSP hardware was necessary to use it. In 1999, however, G3PLX designed a version of PSK31 that needed northing more than a common computer sound card. By providing a a piece of software that runs under Windows to interface the sound card and the transceiver, the mode began to take off. An additional step in PSK31 popularity took place in 2000 with the debut of "paroramic" software programs such as Digipan and WinPSK. Both software packages make it extremely simple to get on the air with PSK31 by hooking up some cables and clicking your mouse.

In just two years, PSK31 has become the Number One HF digital mode for casual keyboard-to-keyboard operating. Although not an error free digital mode, it does offer excellent weak-signal performance. PSK31 has been embraced by the QRP (low power) community since a couple of watts and a simple wire antenna can be used to work stations throughout the United States and some DX.. PSK31 uses 30hz wide signals and low power transmitters. A basic PC is needed (486/66 or better) running Windows 95/98 and a standard SoundBlaster16 sound card.

Some frequencies on each HF band are commonly used for PSK31 operations: 14.070 Mhz, 21.070 Mhz, 7.035 Mhz, 3.580 Mhz, 28.120 Mhz and 10.142 Mhz.

At the April RARC club meeting, Dave (KØVH) and Bob (KCØIDR) gave a presentation and demonstration on PSK31 operations. A notebook computer, running PSK31 software, connected to a QRP 20 meter transceiver and a simple wire antenna. The simple setup was able to copy PSK31 stations from across the country.

PSK31 Web Links

Note: Some of the above links are from the article The HF Digital "Tower of Babel", WB8IMY, QST, Page 50, January, 2001.

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