SSTV Live

Jim, K8ELR, has really gotten into operating the digital modes down at the museum. So, I was interested to see a notice on the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list that the KB7TBT SSTV Web Page was back online. On this page, James, KB7TBT displays a number of live feeds.

KB7TBT SSTV CQ ScreenDon, KB9UMT, the list moderator, asked if someone could explain SSTV and how to operate it. James replied:

Q. What is SSTV?
A. SSTV is a picture transmission method used by amateur radio operators to
transmit and receive static pictures via radio in either color or
monochrome.

Q. What does SSTV stand for?
A. SSTV stands for “Slow Scan Television.”

Q. What does one need to participate or use SSTV?
A. A Ham Radio license to transmit.

Q. What does SSTV sound like?
A. To listen to a sample of SSTV: http://www.qrp.org.uk/sstv_test-1.wav.

Q. Can someone just listen in or receive only for SSTV?
A. Anyone can receive, just like any radio receiving it does not require a
license. Install the software and place your computer microphone against the receiver speaker, it’s that easy!

Q. What frequencies are there or where does one listen on HF for this SSTV activity?
A. The most popular is 14.230 MHz during daylight hours (due to
propagation).

Q. Can this also be used on VHF/UHF?
A. YES! 145.500 simplex is a popular VHF frequency for SSTV. (I have even used
a 2M FM Repeater a few times). The ISS has SSTV on board and the downlink freq is 145.800 when in use. UHF is used as well but I am not familiar with the freq.’s.

Q. Can SSTV be used anywhere or is ther rules on this…and or band plans?
A. Analogue SSTV is classified as an IMAGE MODE. Voice and Image most of the
time go together. (Check your local band plans and rules.) There is some difference in opinion but analogue SSTV is NOT a digital mode. (I personally disagree)

Q. Is this a SSB mode always or can this be used FM also?
A. FM and SSB can be used, just remember to operate within your local band
plan.

Q. What software is there for this..or are there different kinds of SSTV?
A. Ham Radio Deluxe offers a fantastic program for SSTV and it is free. (HRD
Digital Master 780 – This is what I use.) There is also MM-SSTV, a bit outdated but still works well and is free. (Not sure how well it works on Win7 or Vista)

Q. Are there other online SSTV web pages to watch SSTV?
A. Why would you want to watch any other page but mine? ok, ok, there are many websites around the world. To see pictures from around the world go to my SSTV page and scroll down. All the thumbnails have links to the websites they come from.

Q. Can you DX using SSTV?
A. YES! I send and receive pictures from all over the world.

Q. Are there SSTV nets?
A. Yes, just do a search for SSTV Nets. One website I have found lists both analog SSTV nets and digital SSTV nets.

You Can’t Tell the Digital Modes Without a Scorecard

Unless you work the digital modes a lot, how do you tell which signal is PSK 31 and which is Feld Hell? By going to K2NCC’s YouTube page, of course! Frank has posted examples of nine different modes, including Domino, Feld Hell, SSTV, and MFSK16. What’s cool about these posts is that you not only hear what they modes sound like, but what they look like on a waterfall display.

Here’s what Domino EX16 sounds like and looks like:

Frank says, “Stay tuned for more!”

More Sweet Tweets

Here are some more links to interesting Web pages I found by Twittering:

  • N3OX’s Remote Tuner Control. N3OX has added some servo motors and controls to a manual antenna tuner so that he can move it closer to the antenna, but still control it from inside the shack. Very inexpensive solution.
  • Band Plans for 900 MHz and Above. KB9MWR feels that the future of ham radio is above 900 MHz. I don’t know that I totally agree, but I do think we need to start thinking more about those bands. Give this a read.
  • Morse Code vs. Text Messaging. Chas Sprague, who’s not a ham, ruminates on how Morse Code could make text messaging more efficient. I wholeheartedly agree! Someone get this man his ham ticket.
  • Ham Logging as a Service. There’s been a lot of twittering about this KE9V blog post. I like the idea myself, and if I had more time, I might even take a crack at it. Anyone want to collaborate?
  • Planning a Digital ATV Station. After pondering a digital ATV station for the museum, I opted to go analog. If I’d seen this article first, I might have opted to stick it out and go digital.