Sunday, February 9, 2014

Shifting the focus…….

There has been a big change here since our move with regards to ham radio.   Antenna challenges, finding a spot for the radio, having the setup "eye friendly" to non hams who visit.  The antenna challenge seems to be solved with the MFJ 1788 loop antenna. There are still some hick ups with it, for example not being able to tune 20m below a 9.1 to 1 SWR. I have spoken with MFJ and they have given me some great ideas to try with the loop. (more on that as I venture into the loop's insides) The setup was solved with a great roll top desk all is hidden away and protected with a very fashionable piece of furniture. Now it's time to look at expanding my radio operations beyond CW but still very much not forgetting about CW it will still be a large part of my operating. CW is perfect for low power and simple antenna operating. BUT also with my new antenna it has a narrow bandwidth and needs to be returned as you move up or down the band. With practice the loop can be retuned very fast. I was wanting now to add a mode that would favour the loops narrow band width. The digital world came to mind.
The last time I was in digi land PSK31 was the ground breaking mode and I have come to understand by many of the blogs I read there are some new modes in town!! PSK is still around but it too has changed. There is also now SIM31 and 63,  JT65, Olivia and the list goes on, I have been out of digital for some time now and am not sure what all is out there. What I am looking for is something that uses a narrow bandwidth, (most digi modes do) only requiring low power, would be great to have a "conversation mode" and not signal reports and goodbye and not a mode that takes forever for exchanges as I have heard about some digi modes. Having said all that one thing I can remember about the digi modes is they can be lot of "fun" to setup with your rig and PC! BUT that is all part of the fun I guess. So you digi fans out there help me out with some suggestions as to an HF low power narrow bandwidth digi mode I can scramble my brains with. Oh and if it helps the bands I have available are 10-40m and the rigs I have are the Elecraft K3  and KX3.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Mike, a very nice digi mode is JT9. It has a very small bandwidth. And it's perfect for weak signals. JT9 is a QSO mode, though with minimal info. 5 watts is more then enough for working intercontinental. More digi activity is with JT65A. Check the web site of Joe Taylor. Good luck, 73 Paul

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    1. Good afternoon Paul, nice to hear from you and I will for sure look into both JT9 and JT65A as well.....give me something to do with my tea this evening.
      Mike

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  2. Hello Mike, JT9 is the mode to go for if you like to do some DX with your setup. But if you want a small digimode suitable for QSO's PSK31 is still the way to go I think. You have to take in mind that modes should be populair as well as you need other stations to contact. Especially JT9 is very populair on 40m besides JT65A. I would really check WSJT-X out if you're interested in something other then CW. 73, Bas

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    1. good evening Bas, thanks for the reply and the great info. I am going to check out all the digi modes that you mentioned. I still want to make sure CW is part of my operating but the digi modes seem to be the new way to go considering my antenna and location.
      Mike

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