Saturday, April 7, 2018

Experimenting with SSTV - VE2TSM, KG5SAG

I've been learning about PSK31 and FT8.  I've had great fun both of those modes. I realized that though I've heard about it for years, I've never done anything with Slow Scan Television (SSTV).
As a matter of fact, I had no idea where these types of transmissions take place or what a typical SSTV QSO would be.  All I know is that you send images similar to QSL or Post cards.

So...I just jumped right in.  It turns out that Ham Radio Deluxe has some built-in SSTV functionality in Digital Master 780.  Great! I already use DM780 for PSK31 and have it setup to work with my FTDX1200 and Signalink USB.  I found out that the most active place to find SSTV is 14.230 USB.  

The video below is the first SSTV image I ever decoded. It was a CQ image from VE2TSM in Canada!  I quickly made a template and sent back a reply.  He sent back another image with a signal report! Now what?

I realized I was out of my depth because I didn't have the templates I needed and wasn't sure how to get it all setup quickly.  I sent a basic image with his call, my call, and RST.  I logged him and left it at that.

Just a few minutes later, I decoded another image.  This one was of a girl in a thong bikini on a beach! Hi hi!  Though the image was ok, I didn't decode the callsign and couldn't reply.  
I did send a CQ image and got a reply from KG5SAG in Florida.  Again, I wasn't sure what to exchange but I sent a signal report image and then it seemed to quiet down.

I need to learn more about typical SSTV exchanges and practice making some contacts.  Like most of ham radio, I find SSTV fascinating and somewhat addicting.  It's cool to send and decode images long distances over the air!

73 de KG4LST sk

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