Operating Modes

One of the best aspects of Ham Radio is that there are so many different operating modes and for that matter, modulation modes to choose from. Whether you would like to operate using an analog mode like CW or SSB to digital modes like the very popular FT8 or PSK, there's something for everybody.

Under the Categories section to the left, choose what Operating mode you want to learn more about. These pages are active and will go into a variety of details including my last QSO's in these modes.

Here are excerpts from Wikipedia about the various operating and modulation modes.

Morse code

Morse code is called the original digital mode. Radio telegraphy, designed for machine-to-machine communication is the direct on/off keying of a continuous wave carrier by Morse code symbols, often called amplitude-shift keying or ASK, may be considered to be an amplitude modulated mode of communications, and is rightfully considered the first digital data mode.. Although more than 140 years old, bandwidth efficient Morse code, originally developed by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail in the 1840s, uses techniques that were not more fully understood until much later under the modern rubrics of source coding or data compression. The bandwidth efficiency of Morse code arises because the most used source symbols were accorded the shortest Morse code symbols and the least used were accorded the longest symbols by Vail and Morse. Vail and Morse intuitively understood bandwidth efficiency in code design. It was not until one hundred years later that Claude Shannon's modern information theory (1948) put Morse and Vail's Morse code technology on a firm theoretical mathematical footing, that then resulted in similar Morse code-like bandwidth efficient data encoding technologies such as the modern Huffman, Arithmetic and Lempel-Ziv codes. Morse code is still used by amateur radio operators. Operators may either key the code manually using a telegraph key and decode by ear, or they may use computers to send and receive the code.

Analog voice

Decades after the advent of digital amplitude-shift keying (ASK) of radio carriers by Morse symbols, radio technology evolved several methods of analog modulating radio carriers such as: amplitude, frequency and phase modulation by analog waveforms. The first such analog modulating waveforms applied to radio carriers were human voice signals picked up by microphone sensors and applied to the carrier waveforms.

Digital voice

Digital voice modes encode speech into a data stream before transmitting it.


Image modes consist of sending either video or still images.

   ==>Amateur television, also known as Fast Scan television (ATV)

   ==>Slow-scan television (SSTV)


Text and data

Most amateur digital modes are transmitted by inserting audio into the microphone input of a radio and using an analog scheme, such as amplitude modulation (AM), frequency modulation (FM), or single-sideband modulation (SSB).

   ==> Amateur teleprinting over radio (AMTOR)

   ==> D-STAR (Digital Data) a high speed (128 kbit/s), data-only mode.

   ==> Hellschreiber, also referred to as either Feld-Hell, or Hell

   ==> Discrete multi-tone modulation modes such as Multi Tone 63 MT63)

Various 'shift keying' modes such as:

   ==> FSK441, JT6M, JT65, and FT8

   ==> Olivia MFSK

   ==> Phase-shift keying (PSK)

   ==> Frequency Shift Keying: Radioteletype RTTY) FSK

 Packet radio (AX25)

   ==> Amateur Packet Radio Network (AMPRNet)

   ==> Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS)

   ==> PACTOR

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