Thursday, August 20, 2015

FSQCALL for quick messages

In the September 2015 QST magazine, there is an article about FSQCALL. This is an interesting digital mode with some free software to send quick, short messages between other hams. It's meant to be more conversational than PSK - you type a sentence, hit enter, and away it goes. It has some selective calling features that let you address stations individually.

I loaded the software on my Windows 10 desktop, turned on my KX3, and was up and running on 30M with 5 watts in about 5 minutes. The software is pretty simple, especially after watching a couple of videos on YouTube first. I ran into Jim, W1PID, and also talked with Maine, and Texas.

For me, this is a great place to just hang out and see who's around. No expectation of making endless CQs on 14.070, or sharing signal reports on JT65.

The simplest application for FSQCall is that it provides a 'watering hole' for a group of friends who wish to keep in touch and chat occasionally. Experience has shown that leaving your equipment running on 7105 kHz during the day, and 3580 kHz at night, will provide fairly reliable communications over about a 500 - 1000 km range. Depending on propagation, 40m may well work day and night. Only modest power is required. You can leave a message for your friend if they aren't available, and even use one friend to relay a message to another. The software will tell you who is currently available.
I'm going to play with the message store/forward functionality next. If you didn't see the QST article, you can read more  from ZL1BPU. Or, take a look at this video: