The field day test message opportunity

The ARRL field day digital test message is broadcast on various bands during the weekend.  They first used RTTY, then PSK and finally MFSK.  I was working field day from a site in Virginia.  I chose 20 meters to receive the field day message.  The propagation from ARRL HQ was solid enough, but far from perfect.  These circumstances provided a good opportunity to compare the various digital modes.

Equipment

I used an Elecraft KX3 with a Rigblaster USB interface.  The computer ran MixW 2.20f on WinXP.  Here is a snapshot during reception…

Nightime view of the Elecraft KX3 and PX3 for ARRL Field Day 2015.

Nightime view of the Elecraft KX3 and PX3 for ARRL Field Day 2015

The following three text blocks show the three digital transmissions – RTTY, PSK, MFSK – as broadcast from W1AW Saturday evening.

RTTY

QSTPDE W1AWH
SPECIAL BULLONIB 00 ARLX010
FROMNISSP HEADISARTERS X
NEWINGTOQPO JUNE 26,I201
TO ALL RADIO AMAOEURS
H
SB SPCL ARL ARLX110
ARLKU2 2015 W1AW JPLD DAY ZULLETIN

KQIWUSXAN STARTS
1800 UTCVPWNIREAY FOR YOU AND YOUR CLIB.P SWAP
SKILLS, THMUGVOD OR A STORY ACUT FDSP#
. K6KPH WILL TRANSMITMWW1AWS THOUGHTS FROM CALIFOGQWP WITH C
ACD DIGITALUTRANSMISSIONS ON
SATURDAY AT 8430 UTC ACDPYUNDAY AO 0=,7003/ )1430PENEF 75:.

TRY AN ORIGINAL BRAINSTORM AS YOU FIND YOUR L MIT OR SURPASS WHAT
YOU THINK YOU CAN AIPMPLIJQK VQUX SSB, A HV KIKIAL MODULATIONS WILL
SIIW YOI TO SHOW YDW
SKILLS AND TRAIN FOR ANY UPCOMING CALL TO
ARMS. DAY OR PHT, H
MS SUPPLYV IMPORTANT SK LLS TO OUR COMMUNITY,.
SUNTRY AND OJGANIZATIONS.

SUBMITPYOUR FDLXMRMSLBY JULYP28 INC7$8,/)0#959&4-0#8!=007&#)8&#5′ OF
YOUR GROUPS )-,,8,&= -,$ IFM V A GOT
AND A VHFQ STATION WIL ALLOW
YOIR ORGINWZATION TOHINSTRUCT AN ACQUA NT VISITORS WITH YOURV CLUBSH
STORYPB SX OUR HOZBY.

HWV RADIM IS FUNPAND FD2015XJG WP IMPORT
NTPPART OF OIR GOBBY.
PROUDLY SHOW OFF YOIR RADIO ACTQVITYLM
NNNN

PSK31

ARLX010 2015 W1AW O eld Day Bulletins
iFD2u15 fun starts at 1800 UTC urday for s and your club. Swap
skills, thoughts or a storf aboŠ FDs past. K6KiH will transmit
W1AWs thoughts from California with and Digital transmissions on
Saturday at 1430 UT. and Sunday at 0030, 0130, 10 and 1630 UTC.

Try an orinaCbrainstorm as you find s oui limit or surp eas what
you think you can accomplish. CW, S-E, and Dihitae od olotqns will nallow you o seow your skills and =oin for any coo ing call to
arms. Ds
or night, hµss pply importan spills to opr community,
country and organizations.

Submit you FD formn by July 28 including photoaphic highlight1o

your groups planning and fun. A GOTA and a VHF station wnll allow
your organi)etioo o instruct and acquaint visitrs with your obs
story d our hobby.

Ham Radio is fun and FD2015 e n ao important part of our robbys
Proudly saow off yoSt “g o activity.ÞNN

MFSK

SB SPCL ARL ARLX010
ARLX010 2015 W1AW Field Day Bulletin

FD2015 fun starts at 1800 UTC Saturday for you and your club. Swap
skills, thoughts or a story about FDs past. K6KPH will transmit
W1AWs thoughts from California with CW and Digital transmissions on
Saturday at 1430 UTC and Sunday at 0030, 0130, 1430 and 1630 UTC.

Try an original brainstorm as you find your limit or surpass what
you think you can accomplish. CW, SSB, and Digital modulations will
allow you to show your skills and train for any upcoming call to
arms. Day or night, hams supply important skills to our community,
country and organizations.

Submit your FD forms by July 28 including photographic highlights of
your groups planning and fun. A GOTA and a VHF station will allow
your organization to instruct and acquaint visitors with your clubs
story and our hobby.

Ham Radio is fun and FD2015 is an important part of our hobby.
Proudly show off your radio activity.
NNNN

Results

This was a good opportunity to directly compare the three modes transmitted from the same source one after the other.  Propagation changes for sure, but hopefully it was similar enough to not be a variable during the field day bulletin broadcast.  The waterfall showed bright constant signals during the entire reception.

My observation is the tone bouncing MFSK yielded the best results.  RTTY was barely usable.  PSK was somewhere in between.  Viva la choice I guess.  You be the judge.

About John Huggins

John is an electrical engineer working in astronomy and aerospace including antenna/RF design spanning 36 years with experience in antenna design including improvements (US20170201002A1 & USD798847S1) to the J antenna.

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