Topband: VU2GSM webSDR use

Paul Christensen w9ac at
Sun Jan 14 12:29:50 EST 2018

No doubt some ops are using WebSDR on receive, but in this case, I am skeptical of the skepticism.  Here's why:

I routinely work VU2GSM on 40m GL-LP in the early morning hours on a 210-degree bearing from FL to VU.  He is consistently S9, peaking +10 dB on my Elecraft K3.  The remote station I share with N4CC is in Hilliard, FL just east of the St. Mary's River.  Our antenna is a full-size 4 el. M2 40m OWA at 140 ft AGL.  

On the 210 deg. bearing, the land slopes almost immediately into the river valley.  VU2GSM's solid signals aren't an isolated event; he is that strong most of the LP season.  VU2GSM cannot be detected on my backyard dipole at my home QTH 30 miles to the south in Jacksonville.  The dipole is up 35 ft. AGL.  When I say he can't be detected, I mean there's no trace on the dipole whatsoever, not even a blip that rises above the SDR noise floor.  That's to be expected on a low dipole if the arriving angle is skimming the horizon.

According to HFTA, the statistical mode from FL to VU is 1 degree above the horizon.  The sloping terrain accounts for much of VU2GSM's solid signals into the station.  Forget 4-square arrays over good soil, Forget stacked arrays up to 200 ft AGL.  Apart from verticals on salt water, nothing else compares with high horizonal antennas into sloping terrain when the statistical mode is 1 degree above the horizon.  When VU2GSM is +10/S9 here, I am certain he is hearing me on his dipole and he doesn't need WebSDR.

When I hear other NA stations calling VU2GSM on 40m, he cannot hear many, if not most of them.  Of those he picks out, he struggles to copy unless they're from stations with excellent antenna systems - like those in the RHR group.   So, if VU2GSM is routinely using WebSDR on 40m receive, his operating habits are not reflective of such claims.

Paul, W9AC


-----Original Message-----
From: Topband [mailto:topband-bounces at] On Behalf Of Steve Babcock
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2018 10:03 AM
To: topband <topband at>
Cc: Larry D Brailean <ve5ua at>; Don Moman VE6JY <ve6jy.1 at>
Subject: Topband: VU2GSM webSDR use

I have been "sitting" on this for a few weeks wondering if I should share this information, but after seeing some spots yesterday for VU2GSM on 160m, I decided that others may appreciate it.
I know I would. 

If you have worked Kanti, VU2GSM recently on the low bands...40, 80 or 160 you should be aware that he was most likely RX using a NA webSDR. The links below are PDF copies of email correspondence with Kanti confirming that this is routine for him.The emails are between both VE5UA, myself and VU2GSM. (Please read the email threads from the "bottom up" to be chronological.) <> <>

To be clear, I do not judge Kanti for his desire to augment his rx, and do not think it is wrong. If he chooses to use Ham radio this way that is his choice. However, I myself do not wish to include a "half" QSO toward my own (personal) DXCC count, and perhaps others will feel the same hence this email. I also don't judge others that are good with such webSDR QSOs since each has his own goals and objectives.

Here is some background. I have been working VU2GSM frequently and with ease on 40m in the morning and evening. He would respond almost immediately to my calls which seemed odd. More typical is Rakash VU2RAK who has a great signal but usually can't copy me, though we have QSOd a few times when conditions are exceptional.
While at a local ham lunch, I mentioned this, and Don VE6JY said that Kanti is often logged into his webSDR. The following week I copied VU2GSM on 80m in the evening with very light copy with my 2el Yagi and 1000' beverage (diversity rx with K3). He answered immediately and we had a QSO. I was suspicious. I emailed Don VE6JY and he confirmed that at that time Kanti was indeed logged into his SDR.
I deleted the QSO from my log.
This then precipitated the e-mail correspondence which I share on the attached links.

There is little doubt this is going on all the time, and we will never know. We can't undo the technology that makes webSDR possible.
There are those who who feel that this destroys the “integrity” of the DXCC. However, not everyone cares about DXCC.
Kanti is not a villan. He is doing nothing wrong. He is not “cheating”. In his email correspondence he is very open and transparent and makes it clear he doesn't chase DXCC, and could care less about it. Why should he?
>From Kanti's perspective, using a webSDR enhances his enjoyment of the hobby living in RFI polluted Bangalore. For others, a "half-VU" QSO is better than none and they are happy. 

Like others, I spend a great deal of effort optimizing both rx and tx and someday when I do make the QSO with VU on 80 and hopefully 160, it will be a true two-way contact. The “buzz” for me is not getting the country counter in the log, its about knowing that my station made the contact via radio….both ways…all the way.

The purpose of this email is simply to inform those who have worked Kanti recently that it is possible/likely that your TX signal was not actually heard in VU.

73, de Steve ve6wz
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