Amateur Radio in Australia (VKFAQ)

Using Voice modes on the amateur bands

Kenwood TS-480SAT

Kenwood TS480SAT

This compact transceiver, like some others in Kenwood's range, is designed to be operated either on a desk or with the front panel split off from the main unit. HF plus six metres, 100w on all bands, with built-in ATU. There is also a 200w version without the ATU.

Operating an Amateur Radio station - using voice modes

Single sideband

Single sideband (SSB) is the predominant mode for voice transmissions on the HF amateur bands. This is because it gives the most effective communications for each watt of transmitted power and it also uses the spectrum in the most efficient way, when compared with other voice modes such as Amplitude Modulation (AM), Frequency or Phase Modulation (FM, PM) or other methods of transmitting voices via radio signals.

SSB is an amateur radio success story. It was pioneered and popularised by radio amateurs and it took other services many years before they caught up with amateurs. They continued to use old fashioned AM services long after SSB was in common use on the amateur bands.

Tuning into an SSB signal the first time can be confusing, but if you follow some basic rules you will find all you need is some practice.

Single sideband is so called because it is a effectively an AM transmission, with the carrier suppressed or cancelled out and the other sideband filtered out or suppressed by the transmitter. The reason for doing this is that firstly the carrier contains no voice information and secondly the two sidebands are a mirror image of each other. Each of them contains the same voice signal. By focussing on one sideband and putting all the transmitter power into that sideband, and also narrowing the bandwidth in receivers to equal the width of one sideband, we get a vast improvement in efficiency and reduced interference.

Next: Operating a station using morse code

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