Beginners Guide to PSK31 Macros 18

PSK31 operating is all about the macros. These are pre-canned sets of common information that you need to send on a per QSO basis, these obviously save you from typing a lot and they do get a lot of use! Macros are also helpful for non-English speaking amateurs, as they just need to setup the macros once and then most PSK31 operating situations are taken care of.

The digimode software you use will let you set these up and may even come with some pre-configured macros to get you started. PSK31 macros are often written in a dynamic way, so if your callsign changes, you only need to update this once and it will apply to all your macros that send your callsign (most of them then!). We’ll see more about this later.

The macros i’ve listed out below are what i have setup and use in fldigi for PSK31 and may not be exactly the same in other digimode software, either way they will give you a good idea of the common macros and their structure.

Common macros include:

  • Calling CQ
  • Answer a CQ call
  • Start a QSO
  • About Me/QTH
  • Station details (brag)
  • End the over (kn)
  • End QSO (sk)

You can see how these relate to my macro buttons in fldigi:

Macros in fldigi

Each of these macros are useful and really save you time, enabling you to only have to manually type messages that deviate away from a standard QSO. It’s even possible to have a QSO while talking with the XYL!

Although macros are amazingly useful they can take the human touch out of a QSO, especially a datamode QSO! I always try and inject something human into the QSO, specific to the station i’m calling otherwise it can feel a bit like two robots chatting to each other!

Calling CQ

Let’s start with the most obvious macro first… calling CQ. You’ll use this a lot!


As you can see above there is a place holder for my callsign <MYCALL>, fldigi automatically sets this to the callsign you have added during setup.

Answer a CQ call

You’ll use this every time you want to reply to a station calling CQ.


The <CALL> place holder is replaced by the callsign you have added to the Call textbox (tip: in fldigi this is done by double clicking a callsign you have received).

Start QSO

This macro will be used every time you start another transmission to the station you’re having the QSO with. I normally send this first, then the Me/QTH macro and then finish with the End the Over (kn) macro.


This macro obviously isn’t much use by itself and should be considered the header of the message, i always add some content underneath, usually a signal report and the About Me/QTH macro.

About Me/QTH

This macro contains details about you and your location (QTH), these details are normally added to your digimode software settings during setup. This macro is inevitably sent near the start of a QSO and will give both station the vital details they need to know about one another.

QSL via Bureux or eQSL

This is where some stations get a bit keen and send all the details under the sun! I find it helpful to keep it down to the essentials, the other station will let you know if they’re interested in anything else.

Station details (brag)

This is one of my lesser used macros, i only tend to send the details of my station if the other station shows an interest or has sent me theirs. Otherwise i may just be sending this to a station that doesn’t really care too much about my equipment!

Rig: Flex-3000 SDR
Ant: Home made multiband dipole (40m/30m/20m/17m/15m)
Pwr: 25w
Web: /

I’ll “top and tail” this with the Start QSO and End the over (kn) macros.

End the over (kn)

After sending a message to a station, you want to make it clear that you’ve finished transmitting and they can proceed. This is what this macro is for.

btu <NAME> <CALL> de <MYCALL> kn

End QSO (sk)

This macro should be used at the end of a QSO when you have nothing left to say and would like to go silent key (sk). It’s customary to include thanks and 73’s to the other station.

tnx fer QSO <NAME>, 73s and hope to speak again soon
<CALL> de <MYCALL> sk

Note the sk at the end of the message, this tells the other station we’re going silent key and won’t be transmitting any more.

Combining Macros

You may have noticed that Call CQ and Replying to a CQ Call are the only self contained macros. The other PSK31 macros need to be combined with one another in order to be useful and complete.

A common combination which i use to send my vital details, is as follows:

  1. Start QSO Macro
  2. Hand typed greeting & signal report
  3. Me/QTH Macro
  4. End the over (kn) Macro

This combination results in the following message:

GE OM Remo
RST is 499 499 here (near London)
Name: James James
QTH: Berkhamsted Berkhamsted
LOC: IO91wo IO91wo
QSL via Bureux or eQSL
btu Remo YO4FKO de 2E0JCQ k


You can easily see how a few macros make light work of the basic situations you will face during PSK31 operating. Macros are purely to make life a bit easier and save you from typing the same details over and over again, but at the end of the day you shouldn’t use them exclusively, the other station will appreciate a hand written message much more.

18 thoughts on “Beginners Guide to PSK31 Macros

  1. Pingback: Common PSK31 Abbreviations ← Randomize This!

  2. Reply NIgel, G0IIK Jul 17,2015 13:55

    Hi James,

    Many thanks for this info, being new to PSK31 having always been solely a CQ op this solved a few wrinkles for me. Very simply & comprehensively explained. All I need now are some decent band condx., hi.

    kind regards, 73. NIgel ‘G0IIK’ ( nr Heathrow.)

    • Reply James Stevens Jul 17,2015 14:04

      Glad you found it useful Nigel! I hope you enjoy PSK31, it’s a very popular datamode right now and like CW, gets through on low power where SSB can’t 😉

      You’ll find most contest/DXPedition/Special Event stations use PSK63, as it is twice as fast, but twice the bandwidth. The same PSK31 concepts you’ve read about apply here too – but you may want to create a shorter set of macros for these types of stations. Chances are your software will let you easily switch between PSK31/PSK63 at will.

      73 James M0JCQ

  3. Reply Jerry Feb 28,2016 03:20

    very helpful.

    but at the very end, you talk about combining macro’s.

    exactly how do you do that? like if you have a macro labelled CQ it would be referenced as ? or something similar?


    • Reply James Stevens Mar 7,2016 16:13

      Hi Jerry,

      It’s a bit more simple than that. In Fldigi you can just press the buttons to link the macros together. The important bit is that they don’t both include the code to start/stop transmitting. You press macro 1 (which starts the transmission and send part 1 of the text) and then press macro 2 (which send the part 2 of the text and stops the transmission).

      73, James M0JCQ

  4. Reply Chuck, WoCWS Sep 26,2016 06:07

    Just getting started with PSK31. Very helpful! Thanks, Chuck W0CWS

  5. Reply Phil Anderson Oct 7,2016 17:27

    TNX for the straightforward text about macros. I’m just getting started with PSK31 and found the explanations on macros within the various programs – Digipan, FLdigi and HRD vendors – to be confusing at best and poorly edited too. Made my first qso this morning….now working a bit o the macros.

    73 and tnx. Phil, W0XI, Lawrence, KS

    • Reply James Stevens Oct 10,2016 09:00

      Glad you found it useful, it contains all of the stuff I wish someone had explained to me before starting PSK31 when first getting into ham radio 🙂

      Hope to catch you on PSK at some point!

      73, James M0JCQ

  6. Reply John Cardenas Oct 14,2016 12:42

    Hi James

    Thanks a lot for information, it is very importan for me. Yesterday i made conections for work digitales in PSK31 with the program fldigi. Only need the Basic Macros.

    This afternoon start in digital mode, iam working in CW and SSB, maybe 6 years, but never working in digital..

    Thanks again for excellent information

    I hope copy your station…

    Best Regards

    John Cardenas

    • Reply James Stevens Oct 14,2016 12:51

      Thanks for your message John, glad you’ve found the article useful and well done getting started with PSK31!

      73 & Hope to work you on PSK sometime!
      James M0JCQ

  7. Reply Bob Nov 15,2016 12:18

    Hi James,

    Thanks for the great explanation on setting up macro’s. Would you mind if I set up a macro with a link back to this site to share with others who have need help with macro’s.

    Thanks again.
    de kd8hnf

    • Reply James Stevens Nov 28,2016 14:16

      Thanks Bob. Setting up that macro would be most welcome, anything if it helps others 🙂

      73, James M0JCQ

  8. Reply art Dec 15,2016 14:42

    how to reset counter to 000

  9. Reply dave clifford Jun 7,2017 14:52

    hello recently purched an interface from you i have tried to get it workin to no avail iam using fldigi the radio is an 817n i get the inicator light ontx but nothing out if i monitor on anotherrx i heard tx i was grey when i started i think will be insane and grey before much longer i checked task manager and it shows comm 3 being used would i be better off trying another programme any help would be gratfully received dave c g0nvf

    • Reply James Stevens Jun 8,2017 12:16

      Hi Dave,

      I’m confused, I haven’t sold any equipment especially any interfaces?

      73 James M0JCQ

  10. Reply Santa John Aug 30,2017 20:12

    This is awesome. Thanks so much. You made this very clear and easy to understand and it’s very complete.Thanks again!

  11. Reply DAVID DOLLING Oct 21,2018 10:13

    Still cannot get fldigi talking to my FT897, does anyone know, whether I should use rigcat, hamlib or hardware ptt, and what other settings? this is driving me nuts !!!

  12. Reply Joe Mirsky Mar 7,2019 13:38

    Please explain the use and types of “commands” that are used to automatically to transmit and end transmit; as well as other commands and their use.

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