The 100% End Of WSPR?

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G8LCO
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Joined: 2013/09/18 - 20:39
The 100% End Of WSPR?

I would like to point out the dangers of 100% transmission and of in-band Fx hopping as suggested in a recent advert to the WSPR community.

WSPR is BRILLIANT, it works very well in allowing many people to have fun in discovering the limits of propagation World wide and in real time. The Stats section clearly shows how many more people are enjoying WSPR as part of their enjoyment of ham radio, WSPR use grows steadily month by month. It is a very good example of how combining traditional RF with software produces something new and of real value whilst consuming very little.

But it is very easy to miss out some of the emergent properties of technology or human actions. In this case the space between the messages. WSPR practice is to transmit a message then listen for the messages from others. That way you can avoid transmitting on the same frequencies as others, avoid steady carriers/noise and hear what others are sending. Users find a clear Fx that suits them then stick to that Fx, that makes it clear to listeners who is where. When collisions happen it is very possible that the next transmission will not collide because people choose different repeat cycles. This way 50-100 users can -and do- use 30M, 20M and 10M, it works very well when people transmit 1 in 5 to 1 in 10. We all co-operate to best use the band, we respect others and pack a lot into a tiny band yet still leave room for others today and tomorrow.

But what happens when 20 users transmit 100%? Well it would be very hard to find a clear spot without overlaying existing signals. It would be even worse if these 100% signals were always there- 24/7/365 - the band would then be filled. It can be even worse, suppose the 100% transmissions were stepped over say 100Hz of a band. Well no-one could say where a clear frequency might be, no-one could say that their transmission would not jam others. It would be like trying to overtake a drunken motorist who was weaving all over a multi-lane road. WSPR bands are akin to roads, when everyone sticks to a Fx/lane then it is easy and clean and has maximum capacity so that everyone can use and enjoy the facility.

So imagine that you live within range of 20 random stepping beacons that are transmitting without end. How can you hear anyone else? how can you find a clear channel? In effect the band has been closed by a small group of people who cannot listen to the band themselves because they are always transmitting. They would also stop people living near from listening to that band at all with a very strong 100% signal. Some may regard this as being very selfish, of doing more harm than good.

If you want to beacon 100% then there are other frequencies where you can do it. But PLEASE don't screw up WSPR for everyone else, 1W or 1/2W is often WORLDWIDE thanks to WSPR.

Alan G8LCO