|Yet another weekend where RTTY happily obliterates ongoing WSPR transmissions (5/5/18)|
What is the problem?
(1) WSPR has been launched onto the amateur radio world stage with little or no proper consultation. It has been slotted in where it seemed it might work a long time ago.
(2) The slot it was given happens to share lots of other modes - any mode in fact. By convention, digital modes are the most likely to come into conflict with WSPR.
(3) WSPR is the only widely-available, free of charge, human bias-free means of testing propagation and antenna performance.
(4) WSPR is in everything but strict legal definition, a beacon mode.
(5) Traditional and what we can now justifiably call 'old fashioned' beacons operate in clearly-defined areas, usually low in the bands, that should mean they experience little or no interference from other modes, including digital modes. In the UK, beacon band segments are clearly labelled in glaring red to highlight their importance.
(6) WSPR suffers regular interference from, especially, RTTY. Weekends are particularly bad. For the most part, this is actually illegal, because it is the interference of ongoing transmissions.
(7) There are a lot of people, especially in the US, who don't understand WSPR, never use it, and are actually so ignorant and stuck in their ways that they positively and energetically argue a beacon mode like WSPR - needing just 200Hz (and, potentially, less) bandwidth, should not be protected. They argue that if every other mode had such protection, the bands would soon be clogged-up with protected areas.
(8) Given that thousands of people can fit into the tiny WSPR window, and that the results from WSPR use is of fundamental importance to everyone in some way or another, the argument not to protect WSPR is very weak indeed.
(9) I have queried Joe Taylor, as the author of WSPR, what he thinks. He hasn't replied.
(10) I have aske the RSGB. They didn't know much about WSPR at the time (ca. 2015), and told me to 'QSY'. This is pathetic and ignorant - from a radio society meant to represent operators for their annual membership fee.
(11) EURAO are the only ones who have understood this problem, recently publishing bandplan guidance that makes the importance of modes like WSPR very much more clear to everyone.