How To Read HF WX FAX Signals

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I've heard about SWL'ers being able to read the weather FAXes sent to ships at sea and I was wondering how I would go about doing that. I have a Kenwood TS-440S and a Compaq PC, what else do I need?
 

Shortwavewave

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Well, theres a few ways depending on your taste, number one you need some software like these:
Free
http://www.dxzone.com/cgi-bin/dir/jump2.cgi?ID=8464

Price
http://www.dxsoft.com/en/products/seatty/

and more cant think off the top of my head,

Number two you need an audio cable from your radio to your PC, it can be a Mic, Line In, or Stereo cable

3. you need to make sure your software can hear you radio, (aka calibrated)

4. where and when to listen http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf
you need PDF to read that, if you dont I made a .txt file for you at the bottem

IF you need anymore help let me know
 
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eorange

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I'm sure you saw this thread:

http://www.radioreference.com/forums/showpost.php?p=740086&postcount=13

Those images from me were from MultiPSK. Use an audio cable to go from the radio's line out to your soundcard line in, and you'll be in business.

Don't be intimidated by the huge number of buttons and options in MultiPSK. The software is intelligent about taking the right defaults for everything. Just click the WX FAX (or WE FAX? can't remember) button on the main page.
 

ka3jjz

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There are many programs that claim to 'copy' CW, but most don't work very well. Machine sent CW is usually easy to read, but if someone is using a bug (semi auto keyer) or (heavens) a manual keyer, a person's natural differences in sending is going to throw the program for a loop (some send slower, some faster...). In addition, noise bursts tend to mess things up.

Don't hold your breath.

73 Mike
 

ka3jjz

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For satellites, yes, that's one way to go, but there's FAX to be seen on HF as well....73 Mike
 

Stabu

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Some other factors in the pusuit of fax, rtty etc is your equipment and how susceptible to RFI it is. Not all radios are created equal neither are computers and monitors. My DX-394 was mostly useless due to the high levels of RFI that would be generated by my computer and monitor. I was only able to decode signals when I caught an off the scale strong signal. The additional of an outdoor antenna versus an around the room loop made a major difference as well. On the other hand when I connect my DJ-X2000, I usually can get away with just the stubby antenna it came with and it sits right on top of the computer. Its also dead accurate on tuning whereas the 394 is "in he ballpark" and I have to play with it quite a bit to get it. Not so noticeable with fax and sstv but rtty can be a real bear. Used most of the programs mentioned and once you get the hang of them they are not bad. A lot of it comes down to what you want to do with it and the features they offer. My tastes run cross the board so I prefer software that can do a lot of things.
 
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I tried to receive some NOAA WX FAXes and all I got was static. Since I'm new to the MultiPSK program can you tell me what the required settings are besides having the program in HF FAX mode.
 

Shortwavewave

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Well if all you heard was static then either

A. there was nothing on
B. you didnt heard anything due to your RX, or antenna
C. you werent in the right mode
the mode need to be either USB, or if you RX has the ability CW REVERSE which I find to be the most acturate

If you did heard the broadcast sounds like high pitch whines and notches and nicks kind of like a loud annoying printer

Also make sure Multipsk is set in the right mode for your sound card, in the start up screen click on Mixer Control and make sure your input or microphone is checked, what ever input it is that you are using

In multipsk theres not any "real" settings you need to be in except fo HF FAX, its all "preferences from there" what you like.

Although its nice to have LPM(lines per minitue) at 120
and IOC(index of cooperation) "size" at 576

hope I helped???:confused:
 

ka3jjz

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The other thing isn't always obvious - make sure that you hearing scratchy noise (which is what FAX sounds like) from the receiver - from your PC speakers. Many PCs mute the line or mic inputs (no, I don't know why, but they do). Check your soundcard settings in Control Panel, or look at your system tray, and click on the volume icon (there are so many variants it's difficult to recommend one over the other). You may need to adjust the levels. Soundcard driven software can be very touchy about setting the levels properly.

73 Mike
 
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As far as I can tell I'm doing everything right.I've tuned to the right freqs, I can hear the FAX signal, I've tried to receive but get nothing but odd patterns. It's not static because if I tune off freq the patterns dissappear and all I see is static.I have an average signal of S1-S2 and have tried USB, LSB and CW forward and reverse but I still can't get the picture to show.
 

mojavedxer

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Just learning this myself. When is USB mode try tuning down 1.90kz

Edit just recieved this from PT Reyes CA on 4346 usb tuned down to 4.344.10 with multipsk
 

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StaticLine

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For my R-75,I'm using the Tigertronics usb with MixW.The usb has its own soundcard built in.For me the MixW was a lot easier to use than Multipsk and does a good job.The RTTY thats out there seems to be mostly encriptyed.The weather fax is off set so you have to go a little below to get a good clear map.I'm still new at this and I'm sure someone can explain this better than me.The speed for most fax is 120 lines per min.fm in usb mode.Every once in a while you'll find a weather sat map with clouds map over U.S.Keep playing with it you'll get it going.John
 
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