I started the first week trying to figure
out what I needed to get started. I would need a good weak signal
spectrum analyzer program that was easy to use. I would need
to hook up my ICOM 706MKIIG to my computer with a PSK type interface
so that I could get the audio output from my radio to the spectrum
analyzer that uses my sound card to process the incoming audio
in my computer. These two hurtles were easily accomplished as
I had been using my computer for communications using the PSK-31
digital mode and the radio to computer connection had already
been made. Now to find the Spectrum Analyzer program. There are
three good ones that are free to use on the internet.:
ARGO - downloaded from http://www.weaksignals.com/is
the easiest to use. Most of us started with this program and
were hooked immediately.
SPECTRAN - downloaded from the same website
as ARGO is a more sophisticated spectrum analyzer that is a little
harder for the beginner to setup but works very well.
SPECTRUM LAB - downloaded from http://www.qsl.net/dl4yhf/spectra1.html
and is pretty much the ultimate audio spectrum analyzer.
Another way to listen in is to use the online QRSS Grabbers around
the world.These operators use their equipment to receive the
signal and then place a screen shot of what their receiver heard
onto a website. I2NDT came up with a scheme to display thumbnails
of all the grabbers so you could have a quick view of a large
number of stations. By clicking on the name below the thumbnail
picture, you can view that grabber's latest screen shot and look
for your signal. This website is very valuable when your looking
to see if your transmitter is working or how far away you are
being heard. It is also useful when comparing antennas and adjusting
your power output or frequency.
It can be viewed at:
There are also many Grabbers that are online and not on the compendium
and you will learn about these as you go along and can add them
to your favorites on your web browser.
The key to really enjoying QRSS Operations is information. One
of the best sources of information on what is going on, who has
seen who, what stations coming on the air or going off the air,
is sent out by the KNIGHTS OF THE QRSS reflector. You can join
the KNIGHTS at anytime. It is a free club group and you can receive
via emails of what other members post to the reflector. You can
Join the KNIGHTS OF THE QRSS here:
There may be other QRSS Operators that you run into on the air
or at a Amateur Radio Meet. Most of us will help "Elmer"
you to get you where you want to be in the QRSS Realm. We are
mostly avid "homebrewers"and experimenters. But we
really like to spread the word and help new operators get started.
All you really need to do is ASK! The one thing we not is mind
readers. We can't tell you have a question about QRSS operation
or equipment by looking at you. The squeaky wheel does get the
So, I picked ARGO and went to town listening at different times
of the day and night for signals to appear on my spectrum analyzer
screen. It didn't take long before I saw one and sent him an
Email with a screen shot of his signal on my screen. Mission
accomplished, I had seen some one, But how are they going to
I needed a MEPT transmitter.