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OFF AIR for storms, probably for much of the week if the forecast holds

Getting started on 630-meters: A quick means of evaluating your receive capabilities using WSPR

– Posted in: 630 Meter Instructional Topics, 630 Meters

Many operators stumble on to 630-meters by accident, having had no intention of embarking on this crazy journey when they began.  Often times the first experience for many operators is through WSPR, the Weak Signal Propagation Reporter developed by Dr. Joe Taylor, K1JT.  It is an excellent tool for evaluating band conditions for possible QSO’s or for observing some of the wonders of propagation.  The aggregation of data on WSPRNet really provides the complete experience for operators that wonder if they can hear stations below the AM broadcast band.  Here is a post that I made a few years back explaining my position on WSPR.

One of current flaws in the WSPR software distribution process is that the very early version of WSPR, 2.0 and 2.1, that are found on Joe Taylor’s site noted above, default to the old 600-meter frequency of 503.9 kHz.  There are currently no active WSPR stations in this “high band” 600-meter allocation.  All stations are now found in the 630-meter allocation bounded by 472 – 479 kHz.

If you are privy to this information already, you may have made changes in the software to reflect the new frequencies.  This is crucial for operators who are using CAT or rig control to set their receive frequencies.

Here is the WSPR 2.11 console:

WSPR Terminal 081916

Note the left-hand side in the middle the frame labeled “Frequencies (MHz)”.  If either one of the boxes within that frame indicates ‘0.503900’ you are  effected and will need to make an simple adjustment.

The dial frequency for WSPR is 474.200 kHz or 0.474200 in the box marked ‘Dial’.  The box marked ‘TX’ can be set to 0.475700 which is the center frequency of the 200-Hz WSPR passband.  The text boxes in the frequency frame should look like this:

Freq 081916

If you are using CAT or any kind of rig control, your VFO should update.  Verify this change.  This also presupposes that you have selected “600-meters” from the Band menu bar label.

From here on you should be fine.  A wide array of transmitting stations are active nightly as weather conditions permit and typically there will be an active station close enough to be decoded.  Many stations using HF dipoles have been very successful at decoding stations on the 630-meter band.  If using an “antenna tuner” be sure to put it in bypass.

As you can imagine this is a pretty common occurrence and one that will stop an operator  in their tracks.  This is why I have taken the time to put together this quick start post.  If you have questions or problems, don’t hesitate to send me a message on the CONTACT page.

73 and good luck!