POLL: Do you have data modes capabilities in your shack

That doesn’t matter Tony, it is only the equivalent of bad keying! :wink: I do agree on the comfort aspect. My portable data set up is based around a Samsung Netbook running Digipan and a homebrew interface. Keeping the computer dry in inclement weather could be a major issue; it is hard enough keeping the key dry at times. From the perspective of my preference for working chasers rather than just anyone, it is probably not worth the while much of the time, but a specific event for data or even a challenge could totally alter the playing field.

73, Gerald G4OIG

1 Like

both very valid points. maybe at a second stage we can try to unify digi activator too.

just to be ready Im installing (after a format) all digi software on my windows8 (or something) tablet.
Im not a capable CW guy so PSK and mainly JT is my main long DX opportunity (especially because I only run QRP).

Heheh :slight_smile: I came here to post a different kind of post, but your post convinced me not to :slight_smile:

I have not added my vote for iPhone/pad because I have no idea how to connect my iPhone (4 or 3GS) and anyway would not use that in the shack.

However, I do carry one (or both - different networks) on the hills so might be willing/able to try data SOTA using the phone. Any pointers on where to start? (I will not be carrying my netbook but my be able to try my Linx Win10 minitablet also; no idea how.)


Vivid imagination !

1 Like

Dammit, now I’ve got to learn Valse Vanity - I usually do it to Bach Goes to Town!

If you do a knee bend when playing a high Eb you can get your Vastus Lateralis and Medialis to stand pround!

I would Brian, its well worth the effort.


Visual discrimination!

EASYPAL is a legit digital comms mode and Brian could post a pic of his musical performance with report overprinted. If you have to take a small computery-phoney device to the peak then sending selfies from the peak with the call signs and report as a title would be much more interesting that F2, F3, F4 or whatever macro you might to use.

You use the word “capabilities”. Sadly that does not cover competence at using the program. I tend to have more (potential) capability than competence with PSK31 - less than 100 QSO’s.


1 Like

I think with conditions the way they are, you need to keep coming up with such ideas to keep the SOTA community occupied. I think a poll about digital capabilities is a wonderful conversation starter. Look at all the imagery that has emerged on this one. Creative writing at its best.

Thinking about the actual SOTA implications for a second or two, one method of determining the level of interest in digital modes is to run an event or two. That would flush the hesitant out!

I ran a QRP contest recently for the VKQRP club to assess the level of interest in a daytime contest on 40m. The established QRP hours event runs on 80m in April. Well, the interest level was about the same as for the 80m event, but the players were different. I guess that’s to be expected.

Looking forward to the announcement of the event, weekend, challenge or new SOTA program based on digi modes.

73 Andrew VK1DA/ VK2UH

Your recent EA<>VK QSO on 30m got me thinking. Working world wide DX is not that challenging, just as it’s been shown how relatively easy SOTA QSOs between VK and the EU are on 20m and up, the 30m case is, again, right antenna, right time of day and the crucial bit someone listening at both ends. The 2 QSO parties have shown this by having lots of people QRV at the same time. That said, it’s still cool when you do work SOTA DX, challenge or not :grin:

The problem with 30m is that the bandplans are more restrictive in EU/US and that means no SSB. SSB is fine for VK. I have always wanted to have some kind of “event” on 30m but have been reticent to promote anything because 30m is not inclusive as non-CW ops are excluded. As someone who helps run SOTA, I don’t feel comfortable promoting non-inclusive events. But a data event is open to all and is independent of CW skills. It also is allowed in all the bandplans. Thus a data mode event for 30m looks to be the most inclusive type of event we could have.

The poll numbers suggest probably there are enough chasers to justify a data event and hence a 30m event without the added fizz of trying for S2S contacts or S2S DX contacts. But there’s more work to do still to generate some data on which tablets/phones/software works out of the box. That gives those who are less experienced in these things the knowledge it will work.

1 Like

I have been musing on the possibilities of RB-TV based on a Raspberry Pi…

Hi Andy,
Please don’t forget that some licence classes are not allowed to run data modes or use the WARC bands. An example of this is the Australian Foundation class licence. So a 30m data mode challenge, would be restrictive in some parts of the world. That said, if there were one, I would enjoy trying out data modes. I have the capability in the shack and if needed from some easy access summits but unless there’s activity around (which a SOTA challenge would generate), it’s not something that I would go out of my way to do.

73 Ed.

1 Like

I was about to search the reflector for JT65 related threads and of course found this one. After having a demo of the mode a while back, I’m keen to try it out from a summit, looking in particular for EU/NA dx, but I didn’t know whether anyone would be listening…

For 4 days around new years I’ll be staying walking distance from a summit in VK6/SW (and a short drive from a bunch of others). No idea how that happened :wink: Family permitting, I hope to get out a few times, either in time for the EU or NA windows. Windows ultrabook and probably the 817 barefoot, though could run a bit more power on 20m if really needed.

Andrew VK3JBL

JT modes were my ultimate idea when thinking about some data events for SOTA. The bands are going to get worse in general before they get better and JT modes on the lower bands may be way for non-CW people to work DX on a reasonably regular basis. There’ll still be times when the HF bands work and occasionally work well. But if there’s some simple, cheap & lightweight kit that makes portable data child’s play then I’m sure it will be of interest.

I’ve already found that the standard chipset used for Windows tablets based on the Z3735 Atom CPU doesn’t support audio in or offer fast enough sampling for JT modes software. They only have microphones in the case and run at half the needed sampling rate. They’ll need an external USB sound card. But suitable ones should be available for under a few pounds from eBay etc. and then these tablets should be viable. I have a few tablets to play with but no USB sound cards yet. Maybe the ones ordered will be here by New Year. I don’t fancy taking a full sized laptop with me up anything but the shortest of walks!

If I can get something working by New Year, then, WX permitting, I’d be happy to get up early/late to try a few data tests.

@VK3JBL Im building my arsenal for jt65 activations (and chasing) too at the moment. Ive been using the mode for normal QSOs as my main setup was/is always more limited than even my summit setup! (Im not joking!)
I might be able to listen for you.

@MM0FMF and all, I also confirm that almost all the setup combinations I tested need an external usb sound card (2-3 USD/GBP on ebay).
Regarding the Atom CPU I do have a question though… Using a Dell Venue 8 Pro thign, windows 8(.1?), the decoding time the CPU needed was longer than the time the mode permits. That was with a year old version of jt65.
Is it any better now?? Whats you configuration?

I have also tested the 2015 Retina MacBook 12in with Parallels and windows 7, All OK but you have to take a small laptop with you.

To all for consideration: Are we talking about using a couple of khz up or down the usual JT freqs and spot? So all the QSO will be mainly SOTA? I think thats a good idea (and as a fallback we can tune to the normal jt65)

Hi Andrew, I am intending using my 857 and a signalink USB interface with a small XP laptop for JT65/JT9 for portable use. Would prefer to use a tablet for battery life, but not keen on paying for an android app,

My main concern with the JT modes is the time it will take to make a contact - about 6 minutes for a basic exchange - not to mention what hapens when a number of people all call you at the same time on the same frequency (happens frequently to me on JT modes from home QTH). I think the better option will probably be PSK31 as I feel it is more suited to the less structured style of a SOTA contact.

I am thinking of activating Mt Ginini for the NYE/NYD rollover and will probably have a digital capability whilst there so happy to trial it from there if our timings matchup.


Thats what I used for my VK SOTA digital activation a while back. Easy as… Finding 4 x VK chasers was a different story though. But given that 20m is full of digital stations qualifying a SOTA summit on digital is pretty straight forward and very quick.

1 Like

To be considered when using a tablet for SOTA portable digital operation:

  1. interfacing to rig (via audio or acc/data socket as appropriate for rig).
  2. reflective surface of the Tablet - screen readability (not usually a problem in winter but in summer can be a problem to read - especially a smaller screen).
  3. on-screen keyboard and the effect of rain or dirt/grease on its operation. Better is to have an external keyboard either BT or USB attached.
  4. (optional) 3G Internet access directly from the tablet or via your smart phone. If you have the tablet computer there in any case you might as well use it for spotting etc.
  • and all of this needs to be light and easy to carry.


Or get a finger that works when you are gloved or it’s raining or whatever…


I’ve tried these (my sister calls them “plonkers” which I find rather amusing). They avoid the fat and fatty finger problem but the on-screen keyboard still has issues in the rain. Mind you if it’s heavy rain, I’d probably be packing up in any case.


1 Like