SSTV (Slow Scan Television)
I enjoy operating SSTV. SSTV allows you to send a still picture over the radio using sounds of varying frequencies and amplitudes. SSTV has been around for a while, but until recently required a lot of expensive equipment. The computer sound card has changed all of that. To operate SSTV you need a SSB rig, a computer with a sound card, software, and an interface. My favorite band for SSTV is 10 Meters, but I operate on 15 and 20 Meters when 10 is dead. SSTV is real easy to do. You hook your sound card to your radio via an interface, start the software, and start sending pictures. The interface could be as simple as cables from the soundcard to the radio mike jack but this arrangement rarely works out well. Things are more stable if you isolate the rig from the sound card in some manner. A interface is not hard to homebrew; however I recommend that you purchase one commercially. I tried homebrewing one and it worked poorly as it used a op amp design which did not isolate the rig enough. The commercial one I ended up with used an optical isolator which seems to work better. By the time I bought the cables, connectors and parts, I saved very little homebrewing over buying an interface. Once you get your interface operational, you can also work many HF digital modes with it as well. You can work PSK-31, RTTY, and even CW. The most inexpensive place I found to buy a good interface is BUX COMM. They make the RASCAL interface which comes with all of the cables you need for your rig. It is truly plug and play for about $40 (less if you want the kit). You can find out about them here.
RASCAL Interface Information
There are other interfaces such as Rigblaster, MFJ, etc. which work great but are more expensive. I would avoid the MFJ interface as I found it awkward to use and is expensive to boot. The next thing you need is software to drive the rig. I use the MMSSTV software. This software is written by Makoto (Mako) Mori JE3HHT and is available as shareware for free. Many guys are using this software as it works great and the price is right. JE3HHT also makes software to operate RTTY using your sound card which is available at his site. Go here to get the software:
MM Hamsoft Downloads
Screen Shot of MMSSTV
Where to find SSTV activity:
Most SSTV activity is on 20 Meters at 14.230 MHz. SSTV has become so popular that you will find a lot of activity on 14.233 MHz as well. You can also find SSTV activity at 21.340 MHz and 28.680 MHz. The ARRL band plan shows SSTV at 3.845 MHz and 7.171 MHz but I've had no luck on 40 or 80 Meters. I've talked to people who have been operating SSTV on 6 and 2 Meters, but I have no experience with SSTV on VHF.
Here are some of the pictures I've received doing SSTV:
The last picture from JA5CU/1 was received using the AO-40 satellite. I just started operating SSTV on AO-40. I hope to operate more when I solve the desense problem with my AO-40 station.
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Copyright 2002 Page last modified December 8, 2002