JS8Call/WSJT-X Digital Modes
2021-05-11 Six days ago I decided to play with FT8. I've had it going before but didn't find it very "fulfilling!" I downloaded WSJT-x and rather easily got it going with my IC-705. Then I sat back and watched the calls go by. Couldn't resist long so I clicked on one and away I went! In six days I logged 60 contacts! Most were here in the US and within several hundred miles. But I did get seven over 1000 miles and one, in Ecuador, 3100 miles distant. Made contacts on 20, 30 and 40 meters with the Ecuador one being on 15 meters.
What is both exciting and disappointing is that while there was scattered CW activity on the bands, they were all "busy" with FT8! It is exciting to see all the activity world wide and get a sense of propagation, which appears much better than it does on SSB and CW. The disappointing part is that I like CW and would like to be busier with it! But that's OK. I have to admit that the FT8 exchanges which are very brief and very basic are not that much briefer or or basic than the typical POTA or SKCC contacts I love! And they all are depending on my rig, antenna's and operating skills. So, just another way to enjoy ham radio!
2019-04-18 My friend Gary, KD9KHI, got me into one more mode, JS8Call. It's a digital mode similar to but quite different from PSK and other digital modes. It's biggest claim to fame is its small signal capability. This morning Gary and I decided to see how low we could cut our power and still communicate. We live about ten miles apart. On 40 meters I was able to copy him at 500mw and he could copy me at 750mw! Both of us were using G5RV antennas. I've had several QSOs now with it and am pretty impressed.