SIARA Slow Scan TV Net FAQ

Authored by: Anthony Parker N9OIU March, 2020

WHEN DOES THE NET MEET?

The SSTV NET will meet each Wednesday at 7:30PM ET on the WB9TLH repeater, aka “Six Four”.  This is an analog-only repeater at 146.640MHZ, (-) offset, pl 136.5Hz.

HOW LONG DOES THE NET RUN?

Depending on the number of checkins the NET will run to allow two (2) or three (3) rounds of one (1) image per station.  That is to say we go through the NET roll call two or three times and each station sends an image when it is their turn to do so.  It is not uncommon for some SSTV NETS to cross the two (2) or even three (3) hour mark!  If you can’t stay for the duration of the NET then please use one of the provided CHECKOUT breaks when appropriate.  

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE AND HOW IS THE NET RUN?

The NET is open to all Amateur Radio Operators that can reliably use the Six-Four repeater.  The Net Control Station (NCS) will open the NET and take initial checkins.  NCS will then invite each participant, in order, to send an image.  After the image is sent NCS may invite comments from other stations before proceeding to the next station. 

During the NET the NCS will allow for breaks for stations that need to checkout early; or for stations that could not attend the opening of the NET but still wish to participate.  If there is an image transmission round after a station checks in late, be prepared:  They will be placed at the top of the list!  This way when we come back to the Original First station all stations will have transmitted images for that round. 

DO I NEED AN AMATEUR RADIO LICENSE?

To send an image, yes, you will need a valid Amateur Radio License that grants operational phone/data privileges on the 2M band. 

If you do not have an Amatuer Radio license; we encourage you to get yours!  However, you can still receive as a listen-only participant. 

WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?

In order to participate you will need:

  1. A functional 2M FM station which can reliably make contact with the Six-Four Machine. 
  2. A computing device that can encode and decode SSTV imagery (See ‘WHAT SOFTWARE IS REQUIRED?’)
  3. An audio connecting mechanism to attach the Computing Device to the 2M FM Station.  
    1. Acoustically Coupled (e.g. Held Next To Each Other).
    2. Electrically Coupled (e.g. a TNC or external sound card interface).

WHAT SOFTWARE IS REQUIRED?

There are a number of programs out there that will work depending on your operating System.  The NET will primarily focus on the SCOTTIE, MARTIN, and ROBOT modes.  Example software includes:

  1. For Windows
    1. MMSSTV – MM Hamsoft
      1. Very Popular and Easy to Use. 
      2. Supports most modes. 
    2. MixW4
      1. Multimode package that includes SSTV modes. 
    3. EasyPal
      1. Efficient but more difficult to use. 
  2. For Linux
    1. QSSTV
      1. The de facto standard. 
  3. For iOS
    1. SSTV Slow Scan TV (single app) or Ham Radio Decoder Bundle by Black Cat Systems
  4. AndroidOS
    1. <Input needed>

SIX-FOUR IS ALSO THE LOCAL SKYWARN REPEATER; WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF SEVERE WEATHER OCCURS DURING THE SSTV NET?

If a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado WATCH is issued for Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Morgan, Monroe, or Owen Counties, then the NCS will make an announcement about the WATCH, including location and expiration time, and then resume the SSTV NET. 

If a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado WARNING is issued for Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Morgan, Monroe, or Owen Counties, then the NCS will immediately terminate the SSTV NET and yield control of the repeater to ARES/SKYWARN NCS.  If you become aware of a weather warning while transmitting an image please immediately stop your image transmission and allow NCS to close the NET and handover the repeater to SKYWARN.  

If an ARES event is called up and they need the repeater, then the SSTV NCS will immediately terminate the NET and yield control upon request from the ARES NCS. 

Should the SSTV NET be terminated for any of these reasons then the participants are asked to lend the support to the ARES/SKYWARN NETS at station-discretion.  

If the ARES/SKYWARN NCS is the same as the SSTV NCS, then they will simply switch the focus of the NET and ask stations to continue to participate. 

In all cases where the SSTV Net is terminated early for a SKYWARN/ARES event the SSTV will not resume for that session; but start again at the next scheduled time. 

I NEED TO LEAVE EARLY, WHEN CAN I CHECKOUT?

During the NET the NCS will announce breaks for CHECKIN and CHECKOUT activities.  Please use these breaks when you need to checkout.  If it can not wait, then advise NCS as soon as possible. 

I’M LATE TO THE NET, CAN I STILL CHECKIN AND PARTICIPATE?

Yes; the NCS will announce breaks where CHECKINS and CHECKOUT activities may occur.  Please feel free to checkin during these breaks.  Given the nature of how a SSTV NET may run please use these breaks when possible vs. checking in between image transmissions. 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SEND AN IMAGE?

Depending on your SSTV Mode, anywhere from thirty (30) seconds to three (3) minutes. 

WHAT KIND OF IMAGES CANNOT AND/OR SHOULD NOT BE SENT?

Anything that would violate the rules governing the Amateur Radio Service (Part 97) cannot be transmitted.  This includes images that are obscene or pornographic in nature. 

Risque, propaganda, hate-speech, “bathroom/lockerroom talk”, etc. is strongly discouraged and likely will lead to not being allowed to participate in future NETs.  

The purpose of this NET is to practice imagery transmission techniques using Amateur Radio, and should be a family-friendly gathering place where goodwill and fellowship are spread.  In a nutshell:  If you wouldn’t want your kids to see it:  Don’t send it.  

WHAT SHOULD I SEND THEN?

Images related to the Hobby such as schematics, pictures of rigs, shack/station setup, Field Operations, etc., are all fine and dandy. Neutral images such as land/skyscapes, flowers, QSL Cards, etc. are generally always acceptable.  During the start of the NET the NCS may suggest a topic-theme for the evening, such as your favorite HT.

WHAT ABOUT COPYRIGHT MATERIAL?

The rules really do not make clear distinction about material under copyright. But, with the pervasiveness of camera phones in today’s modern world, it is very easy for each station to snap a few images of their own to send.  Therefore, whenever possible, try to send your own images; also it is more interesting on the receiving end to get a one of a kind image than one that can be found on the internet. 

Note:  If you know someone who took a picture you’d like to use; ask them for permission to use it first, please.  It can be frustrating to see someone’s work being transmitted without their knowledge. 

WHAT OPERATING PRACTICES CAN I DO TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE NET?

There are a few tips you can do to help make the NET a smooth and fun experience for all involved: 

  • Set your Transmit Time Out to at least three (3) minutes, but not more than five (5).  We don’t want to timeout the repeater if something goes wrong. 
  • Stay at your control point during transmission so you can intervene quickly
    • E.g. Computer Lockup but Transmitter still active; SKYWARN event, etc. 
    • Leave restroom or kitchen trips to a RX window whenever possible. 
  • Remember to let the Repeater Timer Reset:  Listen for the Courtesy Beep.
  • Make sure your Callsign is somewhere in your image. 
    • Most software can handle that. 
  • When transmitting an image. 
    • Say Your Call Sign.
    • Announce your SSTV Mode.
    • Let the repeater drop. 
    • Begin your SSTV transmission. 
    • It is not required, but your SSTV software can ID for you using Modulated CW tones at the end of the SSTV transmission. 

HELP!  MY STATION WON’T TRANSMIT OR RECEIVE IMAGES AND THE NET IS GOING ON WHAT CAN I DO?!  

Unfortunately, the NET cannot provide in-depth, individual troubleshooting of a station due to the nature of the NET.  You may ask a general query of the NCS to see if anyone may have a quick answer, but issues requiring more than a sentence or two should be handled off the NET.  If the answering station agrees, notify NCS that your stations are going to another repeater, simplex freq, or alternate form of communication to rectify the situation and will come back to the NET when finished. 

Calling all HAMS! Tune in to HAM TALK LIVE! Thursday night 3/19/2020 – Matt Bonadies KB9YOJ as guest!

Calling all amateur radio operators! Tomorrow night I will have the honor of being guest speaker on Neil Rapp WB9VPG’s show, Ham Talk Live! (https://www.spreaker.com/show/ham-talk-live) I’ll try to be entertaining……..

Show starts at 9pm EST. I’ve embedded the Spreaker Player here, and I am not sure if it will work from the SIARA site for Thursday’s show. If it doesn’t, click the link above!

Matt KB9YOJ

Friday Evening SIARA VHF Net and Virtual Meeting – 146.640 Repeater @ 8pm 3/20/2020

In an effort to continue on a normal, I will be holding a Monthly VHF SIARA meeting net on the 146.640 repeater.  This is will allow us to do a face to face meeting, and get on the radio at the same time.  But, here is the catch.  This will be accomplished by using Zoom for VIDEO ONLY, and the audio channel will be ON THE REPEATER.  Let’s try this for fun at first.  If it doesn’t work, then we will just do a over the air meeting.

Here is the agenda:

  • 7:30pm: Virtual “Zoom Room” will open early for virtual check-ins.
  • 8:00pm: (146.640 repeater) SIARA will set the tones for Net mode
    • NCO: Matt Bonadies KB9YOJ
    • Backup NCO: (Need Volunteer) or Chris Eller N9FRS?
  • 8:00 – 8:15:  Check in period
  • 8:15 – 8:30:  Meeting Business
  • 8:30 – ???:  General Discussion and Comments period in a controlled net fashion

I have no problem running the net.  If there is some sort of weather emergency, we will stop the meeting and allow ARES to take control of the frequency. 

Here is the link to the Zoom meeting.  If you don’t have Zoom, please follow the instructions in the link provided to install the App.  Everything is mostly automatic. 

Meeting invitation is below, click on the big link to get started: https://iu.zoom.us/j/111476649
See you online and on the air.
Matt KB9YOJ
SIARA President

Official Club Announcement: COVID-19 and Mitigation Steps – SIARA


I am writing to inform the club that I am suspending all group club activities starting effective immediately.  Rest assured that this is not a knee-jerk reaction, but a mitigation measure to try to protect all club members from the rapid spread of COVID-19.  I have been paying close attention the World Health Organization, the Indiana State Dept of Health website, and Indiana University’s information sources for information and advice.

Anyone that has volunteered for the 5050 run is encouraged to check in with Jim Baughn on what to do.  I haven’t heard anything from him yet, but I suspect the event might get cancelled.  I have decided not participate and stay home to focus on my familial needs.  I would encourage anyone in SIARA to do the same.

Timeline is still gray, but I think we will re-assess in May for in-person meetings.  So, to sum up:

  1. March and April SIARA meetings are cancelled
  2. This week’s planning meeting is cancelled
  3. Check with Jim Baughn about the 5050 run (jim@k9eoh.com)
  4. Discouraging ham fest participation

Here are some ideas about what we can do in the next few weeks as a club:

  1. Make sure you are taking good care of yourself.  Try to keep a level head about current events.
  2. Make sure you have enough supplies to hang out for a few weeks(or longer).
  3. Have your go-kits ready.  We may not need radio communications with a Virus outbreak, but Spring weather is right around the corner.
  4. Start a VHF net to have radio “Club Meetings”
  5. Participate in new contests
  6. Explore SSTV and prepare for the VHF SSTV Net in April.  Depending on local weather, start date is April 15.
  7. Upgrade your license!
  8. Plan for FD2020

Hang in there.  If you need help, need something, or just want to chat feel free to send me an email at kb9yoj@gmail.com

Matt – KB9YOJ

SIARA President

CWops – Homework Files

Lesson One (Tuesday, December 3)

  • PDF File
  • Practice File (open in your browser and turn up the volume)
  • Text being sent: TAN TAN TAN TAN TAN NAT NAT NAT NAT NAT VAN VAN VAN VAN VAN NET NET NET NET NET TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN VENT VENT VENT VENT VENT TEA TEA TEA TEA TEA TEEN TEEN TEEN TEEN TEEN NEAT NEAT NEAT NEAT NEAT VET VET VET VET VET TAN TAN TAN TAN TAN NAT NAT NAT NAT NAT VAN VAN VAN VAN VAN NET NET NET NET NET TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN VENT VENT VENT VENT VENT TEA TEA TEA TEA TEA TEEN TEEN TEEN TEEN TEEN NEAT NEAT NEAT NEAT NEAT VET VET VET VET VET TAN TAN TAN TAN TAN NAT NAT NAT NAT NAT VAN VAN VAN VAN VAN NET NET NET NET NET TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN VENT VENT VENT VENT VENT TEA TEA TEA TEA TEA TEEN TEEN TEEN TEEN TEEN NEAT NEAT NEAT NEAT NEAT VET VET VET VET VET

Lesson Two (Wednesday, December 4)

  • Practice File (open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent: s s s s 4 4 4 4 1 1 1 1 o o o o I I I I ten ten ten ten ton ton ton ton tin tin tin tin tie tie tie tie toe toe toe toe not not not not note note note note it it it it at at at at one one one one none none none none neat neat neat neat stone stone stone stone tease tease tease tease noise noise noise noise one neat note one neat note one neat note no noise no noise no noise tie it tie it one ton stone 1 ton stone one ton stone 1 ton stone 1 1 1 1 4 4 4 4 Callsigns: N4SI NE1T VE1SIO VE1SIO VET VET VET

Lesson Three (Thursday, December 5)

  • Practice File (open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent: TT EE NN VV AA NN OO II SS 11 44 AN AN NA NA TE TE ET ET OI OI OI IO IO VV 14 14 41 41 SI IS SI IS ONE ONE NEAT NEAT TAN TAN EATEN EATEN ATE ATE TEA TEA SANTA SANTA VET VET TENT TENT TOSS TOSS SEAT SEAT TEST TEST VOTE VOTE OVEN OVEN VEST VEST one neat note no noise tie it 1 ton stone

Lesson Four (Tuesday, December 10)

  • Practice File (open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent:  sole she shed team soil near the then tan van void radio radios said sad head dan dean ted ten n5ois n9rdr ve5aa n2td treason reason ant another a tall hill she is here he is late all tell shed lead late she her his tortoise antenna radio had 9 rst 599 rst 529 rst 559 sole she shed team soil near the then tan van void radio radios said sad head dan dean ted ten n5ois n9rdr ve5aa n2td treason reason ant another a tall hill she is here he is late all tell shed lead late she her his tortoise antenna radio had 9 rst 599 rst 529 rst 559

Lesson Five (Wednesday, December 11)

  • Practice File (open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent: chat chair chin chart heart ouch couch touch ten net door road rain such teach reach son sun hold told sail rail tail nail oil soil sold soil coil rain cause tell sell neat van void drone drones 249 149 rst 559 rst 599 rst 549 rst 429 that hurts at the hall hole in one hole in 1 sail on sailor tell all

Lesson Six (Thursday, December 12)

  • Practice File (open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent: The and is are here de then this that she he it the their there then radio antenna when? where? what? who? rain wet net The and is are here de then this that she he it the their there then radio antenna when? where? what? who? rain wet net loud noise static cold clear cloud wire wires wired solder soldered receiver received tuned antenna tuner ladder line loss lossless name The and is are here de then this that she he it the their there then radio antenna when? where? what? who? rain wet net The and is are here de then this that she he it the their there then radio antenna when? where? what? who? rain wet net loud noise static cold clear cloud wire wires wired solder soldered receiver received tuned antenna tuner ladder line loss lossless name

Lesson Seven (Tuesday, December 17 )

  • Practice File (Open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent: you toy foot tooth root cute 13 noise larry roy ton teeth feet yet they say ray hay your fair fare far fur furry hw? F5IN YO1AR HH5H NO3M AA3 U S52R 1512 3316 is this fair? yes it is the fur flies she is shy I say no she says yes cute said raid stir him feet hw?

Lesson Eight (Wednesday, December 18 )

  • Practice File (Open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent: f f f f f y y y y y 3 3 3 3 3 6 6 6 6 6 p p p p p g g g g g 7 7 7 7 7 9 9 9 9 9 / / / / / page paper pepper glad glare large ledge george geo chas chase change peg pug pig pen pencil pipe pit gain garage guard gas gus chug yes yet yonder coy G4AN/3 N1AR/5 W9UCA/9 W3/PY2AA F6/N6AM 2N2222 7423 14253679 he is a pro she is near do not drive he is at 19 glen street page glare ledge george pen pit G4AN/3 N1AR/5 W9UCA/9 W3/PY2AA F6/N6AM 2N2222 7423 14253679 go to her read the page what page?

Lesson Nine (Thursday, December 19 )

  • Practice File (Open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent: bland blow BV2AA BA1RO WB2AE N6RB/4 W2/VE1AR VE2/K2LE 6146 5514 name is bob name is bill name is ted name is Vinnie ur rst is 559 ur rst is 459 vote valve bed best BV2AA BA1RO WB2AE N6RB/4 W2/VE1AR VE2/W2LE 6146 5514 name is bill name is art ur rst is 579 ur rst is 449 b b b b b v v v v v k k k k k j j j j j 8 8 8 8 8 0 0 0 0 jack jay john jim jerry back rack tack tech tach reach each teach help high hill fact face far fear then their him her his hers them they their switch line ant dipole vertical ohms home away test asia Africa K1JD N1AR W2TT K2UMU N2NW VE3NE VA3KP K4BAI N5KO 807 3500Z 4250A hw is he? name is joe name is john name is jim ur rst is 579 ur rst is 339 sri no cpy jack tach reach each fear his ant K1JD N1AR W2TT K2UMU N2NW VE3NE VA3KP K4BAI N5KO 807 3500Z name is fred name is tom name is john name is bob ur rst is 549

Bonus Weekend Practice – Week 3Common Words

  • Practice File (Open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent: the and is are here de then this that she he it the their there then radio antenna when? why? who? what? where? rain wet cold snow hot cool temp weather cloudy clouds clear windy 73 OM YL

Lesson Ten (Thursday, December 26 )

  • Practice File (Open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent: k k k k k j j j j j 8 8 8 8 8 0 0 0 0 0 x x x x x q q q q q z z z z z wl ur ok hw? qrx rig wx ant pwr kw name Memphis nyc sf dallas Houston nm nj ca ut al ar il in me ma ct co qrm ne sd nd pa ky fl nc sc sdgo lax la on sk mb nt ab qc nb ns nr rst uk usa Tokyo paris London hamburg Sydney ZL2TT VK4OM JE1TRV BA1CW KH6LC AL2A AA3B 8044 7400 73 u hv qsb u hv qrm name? qth? qth is ny qth is paris pse qsy to 7054 wl ur ok qrx rig wx ant pwr kw qrz qth qrs qro qrp ZL2TT VK4OM JE1TRV BA1CW KH6LC AL2A AA3B 8044 7400 73 ur rst is 579 qth is nr Tulsa name is barry ur rst is 559 qth is Dayton oh name is john

Lesson Eleven (Thursday, January 2 )

  • Practice File (Open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent: CQ CQ K7JOE de k6rb hw? K7JOE de K6RB. RR. ur rst 579 nr sf name rob hw? K7JOE de k6rb k : N9FRS de n3jt ur rst is 5nn qth mclean va ? mclean va op is Matt de n3jt : NQ9L de w1rm ur rst 569 569 in ct name is pete bk Sending : k6rb de K9IU – ur rst 57n in Bedford IN – name is Ryan btu k6rb de K9IU k n3jt de KD9JKD– ur rst 56n in Bloomington, IN – name is Cheryl – n3jt de KD9JKD k w1rm de N9OIU – ur rst 45n wid QRN in Bloomington, IN – name is Anthony – w1rm de N9OIU

Lesson Twelve (Tuesday, January 7 )

  • Practice File (Open in your browser…)
  • Text being sent:
  • Cq CQ DE KD9JKD KD9JKD KD9JDK K
  • KD9JKD de k6rb. UR RST 579 579 near Anaheim, CA Anaheim, CA wx is cldy temp 58 running 100 w to vertical ant Name is Jane Jane. So Hw? KD9JKD de k6rb k
  • K6rB de KD9JKD. RR. UR RST 559 wid QSB. QtH is Bloomington, IN. Name is Sheryl Sheryl WX is cold, 33F. Running 80W to a dipole. Rig is a kenwood TS820S. BK K6rB de KD9JKD K.
  • RR Sheryl, Pse QSL as I need IN for my WAS. Tnx for QSO es must QRT for dinner. 73 for now es c u l. 73 KD9JKD De K6RB
  • OK FB Jane. TU FB QSO. CU AGN soon. Best 73 es gud dx. K6rb de KD9JKD.
  • N9OIU de n3jt wx rain temp 42 rig is k3 es ant is 4 el yagi – age is 65 ok? de N9OIU :
  • KD9IUJ de w1rm wx snow temp 24 rig is IC 7300 pwr is 1 kw es ant is dipole age is 70 hw? BK
  • NQ9L de N9DHX –name is Russ. WX is sunny temp 82 – rig runs 5 w to a vertical – QRP QPR. Wx is cool. So hw? NQ9L de N9DHX k
  • n3jt de K7JOE– wx is cold and rain. temp 54. rig runs 100w to an OCF DP – age is 22 hw? n3jt de K7JOE k
  • w1rm de WB9TLH – wx CLOUDY temp 70 – rig is Kenwood TS-520S. Ant hr DP DP. – Been ham fer 48yrs. Age is 69 hw? w1rm de WB9TLH k

Learn CW Over the Air This Winter

Long winter evenings are the perfect time to learn a new radio skill. To that end, Joe Fitter (K7JOE) has offered to conduct a series of CW Academy  lessons over the air.  The lessons will cover all the Morse Code characters – the basic building blocks of CW.

What: CW Academy lessons over the air, with K7JOE

When: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, 9:00pm – 9:20pm (Eastern)

Starting on Tuesday, December 3, 2019.

Where: Over the air! 146.64 (- offset, 136.5 tone)

No special equipment is required to get started. You just need a radio (or access to one) and your ears. Some people might like to have paper and a pencil handy to make notes.

Note: No sessions on holidays. Tune in or check here for scheduling updates.

All hams in range of the repeater are welcome to participate.