Slow Scan Television or SSTV is a method of transmitting pictures on a narrow voice channel. While it is used primarily by hams, pirate radio operators occasionally transmit pictures on shortwave by this method. Regular amateur radio SSTV activity is centered on 14230 kHz.
The SSTV signal can be decoded from SSB reception by running the audio output from the receiver to a PC sound card, and using software designed to convert the signal to an image. In a pinch, a microphone connected to the sound card can be held up to the receiver's speaker. A decent, free software package for transmitting and receiving SSTV is MMSSTV. Black Cat SSTV is a cross platform SSTV program for both Windows and macOS, with highly sensitive VIS detection excellent for decoding weak pirate SSTV transmissions. An iPhone/iPad version is also available.
This has become an increasingly difficult topic, due to changes in Windows itself. Prior to Windows 8.1, it wasn't uncommon for PCs to have line in and/or mic in jacks. Now with more modern machines, in many cases these jacks are gone. Often this means you will need to purchase a USB soundcard, which has its own drivers. Those newer machines that have just a mic jack might be useable, but beware; any new Windows updates might disable these jacks.
These articles discuss this topic in more detail;
- Connecting Radios to Soundcards Note: Offsite wiki
- Windows Audio Routing For Windows7 and XP
Connecting to a Software Defined Radio (SDR)
With many - though not all- digital decoding programs, you will need software to route audio from a SDR. This is done through virtual audio devices; links to software for doing this are presented below. Any additions to this list are welcome.
- Virtual Audio Cable
- Also see 'Banana' and 'Potato' available on the same site
- Wikipedia entry on SSTV
- SSTV App: SSTV Software for the iPad
- MultiMode: SSTV Software for the Macintosh
- MM-SSTV: MM Hamsoft - Official English Website for JE3HHT
- HF Software Decoders Note: Offsite wiki
- See Section 5 for a list of applications for Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and Iphone/Ipad/IPod.
- Return to Pirate Radio New Listener Guide and FAQ
- Go to Can I Get a QSL from Pirates
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