PSK 31 - Amateur Radio Digital Mode
PSK 31 is a new digital mode for amateur radio communications. It has been around for several years and is becoming more popular. With a lot of amateur radio operators having a computer it is very easy to get on PSK 31. The only needed piece of equipment is a radio / sound card interface. It takes the audio from the receiver and isolates it from the radio and changes the impedance to match the sound card (via transformer). It then takes the speaker from the sound card and matches the impedance and audio level to the transceiver. The only other thing that is required is a PTT signal.
The interface devices can be purchased commercially (Tigertronics, West Mountain Radio, MFJ) or you can build your own (see below).
Software: There are several choices on software (mostly free). I use Digipan (free) because it interfaces with a logging program (ProLog2K). Another one I have used is WinPSK (free also). There are also several commercial software packages available also. WinPSK and Digipan both work very good so I don't see a need to purchase a commercial product. My HP laptop died so I'm using my MAC now. I have been using cocoaModem, it is MAC freeware program for digital modes.
PSK 31 is a very good mode because it doesn't take very much power (normally stations run 25 - 30 watts) and very little bandwidth (~ 31 cycles). It takes all your power and puts it in a small bandwidth which effectively increases your signal and it gives a very good S/N ratio. Many PSK 31 signals can be the bandwidth of a single SSB channel.
You want to listen to what is going on? Just get you a audio cable and run from you transceiver speaker to the microphone input on your sound card (you will have to turn your audio down fairly low to keep from overdriven your sound card). Download the software and listen to the stations.
Where to Listen - official PSK 31 frequencies:
7035.15 for ITU region 1 and region 3, and 7080.15 for region 2 *
21080.150 (although most activity can be found 10 kHz lower)
* The USA is in region 2 but there is a lot of activity on 7035.150.
Above is a screen shot of PSK signals. The brighter yellow marks are the PSK signals (called railroad track - in this waterfall screen presentation) all the other yellow shading is noise on the signal. Place your cursor on one of the bight colored lines and the information should appear in the window. I prefer 20M (14070.150) and it last till way into the night sometimes, long after the SSB signal are just a memory. I have worked stations as late as 10:00 pm CST in January. Of course in the summer months the signal could probably last all night. Lately I have been on 17M, and I'm going to try out 30M. Our ARES group also have PSK-31 check-ins on 10M.
Waterfall Display - PSK-31 Signal
cocoaModem 2.0 for MAC