Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tasmania on 20 metres JT9-1 using just five watts

Last week, having taken a step into the weak signal mode JT65, I followed by taking a look at JT9-1. I had been told by Bas PE4BAS that it uses less bandwidth and as it's a new mode, there's less cramming of signals like you get with JT65 because it's not yet that popular.
A screenshot showing my QSO with VK7BO (The frequency
shown is 40m, but I was in fact on 14.078 at the time!)

So I downloaded WSJT-X (v0.9, r3195), and installed it and, within a short time, my computer was decoding signals out of the noise. On my first night CQing, I worked K0KC, followed swiftly by K1JT (Joe Taylor, the man who wrote the JT-9 software!) using only five watts from the Icom 756PRO.

I will say that both JT65 and JT9-1 are very slow modes. It takes about six minutes to make one QSO. Transmit sessions begin on the minute, and take around 50 seconds, with ten seconds of decoding. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I was thrilled to have the help of Doug EI2CN to show me how it's done.

Tonight, having worked JD1BMH in Ogasawara on 20m RTTY as a new country on digi modes, I couldn't find any other decent DX about the bands, so I launched WSJT-X and left it decoding on 14.078. I worked a UA3 who was putting out a CQ and then I spotted something I didn't expect to see!

CQ VK7BO QE38 (See screenshot above)

So I immediately called him back with VK7BO EI2KC -06 (in fact, I didn't properly finish the QSO with UA3 - I didn't give him 73!). The Tasmanian station gave me EI2KC VK7BO -03 and then we confirmed the QSO. Tasmania on five watts. Not bad at all. I think I will enjoy using this weak signal mode a bit more often !!


  1. Hello Anthony, I see you getting familiar with the JT modes ;-). I worked VK7BO before on 30m a while ago with the IC-706 on 10W. Amazing isn't it. At the moment there is less time for the hobby for me, lot's of other things to do.I seem to have a modulaton problem with my FT817 on JT9, it will take some time to sort it out. Good luck DXing digital 73, Bas

    1. Bas, I hope that you can maintain your time and interest in the hobby, although I know that there is more to life than radio! Yes, I am amazed so far by these weak signal modes. The QSO rate is slow, but the reward for low power is high! I will continue to dabble, and report on my efforts!


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