Phase Shift Keying, thirty-one style, came out some time ago. Shortly after it appeared, I began using it.  The requirements were PCs running DOS or Windows and using sound cards as a poor mans dsp. One application I had used a real dsp. A TI 50dsp thing that used a DOS driver to develop the signals.

PSK31 is different from other phase shift keying systems in that it is a very narrow shift. That allows it to fit into a very small spectrum giving it a very good signal to noise factor, making it a very reliable means of communication. You do not need much power, much antenna, or much patience to work lots and lots of good DX when using PSK.

Perhaps that is why I became bored with it very quickly. No challenge.

A few days ago I decided to see if my PSK setup was still usable. It was. Had a 30 minute chat with a ham in Tucson around noon.

My standard setup is an ICOM-737, homemade sound card interface, athlon +1800 computer running windowsXP and Digipan 2.0. With that setup the QSO worked flawlessly for about 25 minutes before XP locked up with that stupid screen asking if I wanted to send a note to its maker so it could report how screwed up XP was. Honestly, if I had known what a nuisance XP was going to be I would never have tried it.

I never had any Linux distribution lock up like that. So I decided to try Linux.

Having already had considerable success with Debian-Etch, KDE 3.5, and a few multimedia applications I decided to use that same setup and see if I could get KPSK working. It took the better part of an afternoon to get it to work right but it does work once the alsa mixer is setup correctly and all the right setup and configuration files are complete.

KPSK looks very much like the old version of Digipan. Same sort of display as old Digipan but KPSK can copy four QSOs at the same time. Now, new Digipan 2.0 can copy 26 plus QSO’s at the same time but it has a tendancy to lock up on my computer. I figured that four QSO’s and no lockup was better than all the QSO’s on the band if the thing locked up.

So now I am running Linux and KPSK on one machine.

Explore posts in the same categories: HamRadio

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