Monday, May 2, 2016

Omnia SDR and WSPR-2

More Omnia SDR and WSPR-2


31 Flavors of WSPR

Having been successful at implementing the  plain old vanilla WSPR on the Omnia SDR, I thought I would investigate using what is called WSPR-2. Backing up, K1JT (Dr. Joe Taylor) has released a package of software programs that are bundled under one download and simply menu selected. This package is called WSJT-X and the version I used was 1.16 XX
What distinguishes this package is that there are what I call both active and passive programs contained therein. By my definition WSPR is passive -- turn it on and it listens for a set period of time and then can transmit for another period of time. Basically you can turn on WSPR, go to work and when you come home at night you can see who your WSPR rig spotted and who heard your WSPR signal. You just get to look at the reports but the computer had all of the fun. I would call that pretty passive.
The other modes in the package are like WSPR in that they can listen and record various stations BUT are different in that you can actually call CQ and contact other stations. Built in functionality includes canned scripts such as Name, QTH, Power Level and Antenna. Simply push one of the message buttons and in perfect CW, the information is spit out to the other station. I think it may be even possible to do the manual override where you can use the keyboard to type small messages. Pretty cool. These modes go by names like JT-9 and JT-65.
My main focus was the WSPR-2 and my desire to have that work. Thus I did not do the JT-9 or JT-765. However, I did put the software in that mode and it was copying stations using JT-9/JT-65 as I could see the information displayed on the GUI window.I guess I could have sent out a message to the message board asking how to setup WSPR-2--but I usually find the responses are not always correct and you waste a lot of time. Thus I thought if I can figure it out then I will truly know how and if I do a good job of documentation you will too.
The set up effort needed for the original WSPR which was described in an earlier blog post is almost identical --so that was a tremendous help to me. The VAC is used again as is the Com0Com. The HDSDR sound card set up is exactly the same as is the CAT to HDSDR. (Read the earlier post and I won't repeat everything here.) So that part is easy. The main set up changes occur in the WSPR-2 setup. Once again we call the Omnia SDR a Kenwood TS2000. Also remember that specific frequencies are used and the  Omnia SDR must be in USB
Once set up the normal operating screen for WSPR-2 looks like below. WSPR-2 has some additional really nice features over the original WSPR GUI and chief among these is that it tells you the distance to the station being heard. This info was not available on the version 1 WSPR and to find the real distance you had to go to the main data base. The reason I highlight this is that frequently you will be spotted by someone with an exotic call and your mind immediately jumps to the idea "you were heard by DX". Just last week I had that experience with WSPR and later found out he was about 56 miles away. Another nice feature is that there is a slider bar right on the WSPR-2 GUI that lets you adjust the power output of the Omnia SDR. It is located along the lower right hand edge of the screen marked Pwr.

Here is a shot of the screen when you use JT-9/JT-65. It is the display right below the WSPR format and transitioning to these menus is a simple click on the upper task bar menu for "MODE".
When you see a green highlight it means that station is calling "CQ". I find that when you change bands on the WSPR-2 screen -- the Omnia follows right along. So there is some real goodness here.
So now lets look ate the screen requiring input on WSPR-2. On the upper task bar is the File Tab. Click on that and you get a drop down menu with one entry which is entitled "Settings". Click on that setting and another menu pops up that has multiple tab selections. The 1st is marked General where I entered my call sign and grid square. There are some other selection which I mostly ignored. The 2nd Tab is marked Radio. Here is where you enter the Kenwood TS200 , the serial port pair, Com 4 (the HDSDR selection on CAT to HDSDR is Com 5), the baud selection which also matches the HDSDR choice, Data Bits are 8 and Stop Bits are 2. (This was the same on the WSPR 1 setup). PTT method is CAT (like in CAT to HDSDR). The 3rd tab is Audio and like in WSPR-1 we used VAC 1 and VAC 2. The final photo show the Radio Tab and the Soundcard Tab on HDSDR.
There is a caution here about power output -- I can get better than 2 watts out of my Omnia --that is not a good idea because of spurious emissions. The Omnia SDR  Spurs meet the FCC spec for a Pout of 1 watt. A word to the wise -- while the BS170's undoubtedly will provide greater than 2 watts without a self -destruction it is not wise to be spewing out spurs and distortion. Keep your signal clean!
Pete N6QW

 Have fun -- the software and the radios themselves are simply amazing.
Pete, N6QW