Tonight marked another milestone in the shack of EI2KC. I worked my first few contacts using the low power, long distance, digital mode known as JT65. Although I had installed the JT65-HF software some time ago, I hadn't been able to figure out how to use it properly. I could decode received signals, but could not transmit.
Doug EI2CN in my shack.
In stepped my good friend, Doug, EI2CN, who visited the shack tonight, and who has recently begun using this mode himself. So within a short time, Doug was sitting in the "hot seat", showing me how it's done!! We had a little bit of difficulty getting the software to key the PTT via the SB-2000 interface, until I finally realised that it was looking for the wrong COM port. It had selected COM11 instead of COM2. With a quick change of the settings, everything was working and I was able to transmit.
That magic moment when VA3MJR
called me on JT65!!
Within a short time, I was transmitting a CQ with JT65 on 20 metres, on 14.076 Mhz. And, within another short time, I had a Canadian station, VA3MJR, replying to my call. You can see where he called me in the screenshot on right. JT65 is a slow mode, much slower than PSK31. It takes about six minutes to make one QSO. Although it's slow, it's very effective. Running just 15 watts, I could be heard as far away as Alaska, Argentina, and Japan, according to the PSK Reporter website (see screenshot below). Although JT65 is quite slow (each transmit cycle lasts about 45 seconds), it is a very effective way of making long distance contacts using low power and modest antennas. It will be interesting to see how it performs here in the future!