HamSphere works very much like a real shortwave band and it is important to know the rules:
1. Always listen if the frequency is clear before you call. Be courteous!
2. Always use your own callsign, either your HAM-call or approved HS-call.
3. Call CQ on any frequency. There are no calling frequencies on the Ham Bands (except 27.555 MHz on 11m)
4. Keep your modulation within the ALC level 3-5 for VOICE operation.
5. Keep your modulation MAX ALC level 1.5 for CW operation with own sinewave oscillator.
6. For CW operation, stay below 30 kHz on all bands.
7. Use only as much power as you need to maintain a QSO depending on the propagation.
8. Max 100 watts power in CW (Setting 3).
9. SSTV and digital modes prohibited except on 30-meters.
10. Music allowed on BC band only.
HamSphere transmitting power
The Transmitter allows operation between 10 watts (Low power, Knob setting 2) and 2.5 kW input (High power, Knob setting 11). Sometimes, when conditions are bad, you might need to increase your power (QRO), and when the conditions are better you would need to decrease your power (QRP).
Please understand that increasing your power will only make the transmitter splatter.
Splatter = Your signal with will emit noise at frequencies other than your own.
Keeping good ALC levels are also essential for trouble free operation.
The AGC, Automatic gain control can be set in both a slow or fast mode. It will limit the incoming signal when the signals are strong and amplify the signals when they are low (producing more noise)
The AGC will also control the S-meter response time to Fast / Slow.
The S-meter shows the signal in dBs (Decibels = A logarithmic unit of measurement). The scale goes from S1 to S9. After S9, the scale shows 10 dB increments up to S9+60dB.
HamSphere Modulation warning system
HamSphere has a built in warning system for over modulation or excessive audio input.
Your HamSphere transmitter is transmitting in DSB mode, which means double side band modulation.
(Modulation = combining an information signal with a radio signal)
The DSB signal is wide, it uses both side bands and thus it is prone to splatter (Adjacent frequency interference from over modulation) if you inject too much audio or power into the transmitter.
Hence you will be given 3 warnings and after that the system will automatically kick you off the system.
The remedy is to lower the microphone input either by using the mic setting or mic volume mixer.
You should always strive to produce to a clear audio sound with good speech.
Speaking in a good clear tone and signal strength is also favorable.
The true Ham Radio spirit
* Always be polite regardless of the circumstances. If not, avoid transmitting.
* Set a good example especially for short wave listeners who may be thinking about becoming a ham.
* Be a good listener. It will help you better organize your thoughts before transmitting.
* Reply to a CQ, or call CQ yourself. It helps keep alive the magic of ham radio.
* Speak clearly and slowly, especially when giving your call sign to someone you have never worked before.
* Promote friendship and goodwill to DX contacts. Look for ways to get to know each other rather than simply exchanging signal reports and 73s!
* Try to keep track of everyone in the QSO. Hopefully someone has assumed the role of "traffic director" to make sure everyone has a chance to contribute to the discussion. If not, don't hesitate to .
* Make it clear at the end of each transmission which station is expected to transmit next.
* Operate on frequencies that are in whole KHz (e.g. 7.065 Khz). This alleviates ambiguity and makes it easier for everyone to be on the same frequency.
* Do not transmit before first determining that the frequency is clear.
* Try to keep a separation of at least 3 kHz.
* Please refrain from breaking into an ongoing QSO unless you can hear the majority of the participants.
The Cluster shows activity by other users frequency / messages /alerts etc.
You can click on a frequency directly in the cluster window to make a quick jump to that users frequency.
Hamsphere has 3 filters. Wide (3.8 kHz), Narrow (2.8kHz) and CW (800Hz).
The filters are used to remove QRM and to enhance readability of weak stations.
The CW filter will only be on in CW mode.
The VFO (Variable Frequency Oscillator) can be tuned to the following frequencies:
The VFO is displaying XX.YYY.ZZ (Example 07.055.00) where XX = Mhz, YY KHz and ZZ Hertz.
07.055.00 is equal to 7055 kHz in the 7 MHz Band (40 meter)
10 MHz = 10000 kHz
BC Broadcast Band.
The BC Band can be a good band to get away from QSO's and only listen to live and preloaded Broadcast Stations. Users can also experiment as DJ (Disc Jockeys)
Fast info for Non-Hams.
QRL Is this frequency busy? Used almost exclusively with Morse code
QRM Man-made interference There's another QSO up 2 kHz causing a lot of QRM
QRN Static crashes The band is noisy today; I'm hearing a lot of QRN
QRO Increase transmitting power I need to QRO when propagation is poor.
QRP Low(er your) transmitting power I'm using a QRP transmitter here, running only 3 watts
QRS Send your Morse code more slowly Please QRS, I'm new to Morse code
QRT Stop sending I've enjoyed talking to you, but I have to QRT for dinner now
QRV Ready to receive Will you be QRV in the upcoming contest?
QRX Hang on a minute, I'll be right back Please QRX one
QRZ Who is calling me? QRZ? I hear someone calling, but you're very weak
QSB Fading of signal I'm hearing a lot of QSB on your signal
QSL Acknowledge receipt I QSL your last transmission
QSO A conversation with another Radio Station. Thanks very much for the QSO
QSY Change frequency Let's QSY up 5 kilohertz
QTH Location My QTH is Ystad, Sweden
QTR Exact time QTR is 2000 Z
A - Alpha B - Bravo C - Charlie
D - Delta E - Echo F - Foxtrot
G - Golf H - Hotel I - India
J - Juliet K - Kilo L - Lima
M - Mike N - November O - Oscar
P - Papa Q - Quebec R - Romeo
S - Sierra T - Tango U - Uniform
V - Victor W - Whiskey X - X-Ray Y - Yankee
Z - Zulu
CQ = means calling any station)
Working DSB audio from Microphone
Begin by locating a clear frequency.
Assuming your callsign is: ABC123.
Now call "CQ CQ CQ. This is Alfa Bravo Charlie One Two Three calling CQ CQ CQ.
Alfa Bravo Charlie one two three, ABC123 calling CQ and waiting for any call."
"CQ calling CQ calling CQ this is ABC123 ABC123 over / standing by / listening "
Now you listen for the return call.
You hear "Alfa Bravo Charlie One Two Three this is Delta Echo Foxtrot four five six, DEF456 calling."
You respond by saying "DEF456 (using phonetics is best) this is ABC123.
Thanks for the call your signal is 59.
My name is Adam and my QTH is Ontario.
So how do you copy? DEF456 this is ABC123 over."
You have made your first contact on HamSphere.
At this point you can make the contact as long or short as you like depending on the band conditions.
And what you find to discuss with your new friend.
Please tell your callsign every 10-20 minutes during a QSO.
You are required to at least give your own callsign when ending a QSO.
You can also end a HamSphere QSO by giving both call signs and signing off. For example: "... thanks Luis for the contact and 73 to you and your family. DEF456 this is ABC123 signing off and clear."
What do you do if more than one station responds to your call?
If you hear one call clearly then simply respond to that station as discussed above.
If you hear only parts of call signs, maybe "Alpha November" then in step 4 begin by saying
"the station with Alpha November, make your call." Once you have heard the complete call sign you can proceed as in step 4.
If you want to call a station. Make sure he/she isn't busy and make the call:
"call sign of the station you want to contact, then your call sign"
Amateur radio Call signs consist of a prefix and a suffix. The prefix is usually composed of one or two letters and a number such as VE4 in Canada for the region / province meaning Manitoba.
The number in the call sign generally refers to an area or a region of the country.
But some countries have prefixes that are composed of a number and a letter such as 4X for Israel or 9K for Kuwait.
In SSB (DSB on HamSphere), if you clearly heard the message give 59. If the signal is very weak and if you have to request the repetition or to guess words give 43 or so. Give 31 if you did not understand, and in this case you would not confirm by saying QSL. Avoid to systematically give 59 or 599, when you do not understand and have asked your contact to repeat information ten times, like his callsign !
Instead of giving a 59++ report your signal is booming, do not hesitate to give him the real signal strength report with dB (e.g. 59+20 d, especially if the station is DXing.
Working DX stations (DX = Distant stations)
The HamSphere simulates DX stations. Sometimes a station can be very deep down into the noise level. Use the filters the enhance the audio. It takes a little practice.
CW means Contineous Wave and operators use the Morse code (dots / dashes) to key CW.
Calling CQ in CW is simply just calling like:
CQ CQ QC de CALLSIGN CALLSIGN CALLSING K
Some CW Jargon:
FB - Fine business
GL - Good Luck
TNX - Thanks
ABT - About
BK - Break (Usually used to let the other station come in with a comment)
AGN - Again
CQ - Calling any station
CU - See You
GB - Good bye, God Bless
GE - Good Evening
GA - Go ahead; Good Afternoon
GD - Good
HI - The telegraph laugh; High
73 - Best Regards
XYL - Wife
TU - Thank you (Usually used to end a QSO such as TU EE)
HR - Here; Hear
PSE - Please
R - Received as transmitted (Also keyed EN to confirm an over)
SRI - Sorry
RX - Receive, Receiver
TX - Transmitter; Transmit
UR - Your; You're
W - Watts
FER - For
GUD - Good
VY - Very
1 -- Unreadable
2 -- Barely readable, occasional words distinguishable
3 -- Readable with considerable difficulty
4 -- Readable with practically no difficulty
5 -- Perfectly readable
Characteristics of a signal, its readability, strength and optional its tone quality, if you work in Morse code are transmitted using the RST code. The signal strength is usually based on the receiver S-meter reading, where readability and tone are subjective values.
Each step of the signal strength double of intensity, beginning at 0.2 mV to end at 50 mV. Over 9 on the S-meter, the strength is given in dB, e.g. 59+10.
In CW, the tone can be followed with a letter : X stands for crystal clear tone, C stands for chirp tone and K stands for clicks. The number 9 is often replaced with the letter "N" (for nine) and 0 by T. So "599" gives "5NN".
It is customary to keep a log book of your QSOs. Times should be written in UTC (Universal Coordinated Time) also know as GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) or ZULU time. The log entries should reflect UTC, Station, QRG, Power etc.