Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The global reach of a small ham radio station

I don't care what anybody says. FT8 is a wonderful mode for those with modest antenna systems. Again I looked at PSKreporter.info and again I find that the pursuit of DX stations has been fruitful with relatively low power (generally 20 to 50 watts) and wire and vertical antennas.

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Above is a map from PSKreporter showing where my FT8 signal has been decoded around the world in the last 24 hours. I am impressed. Now I do love a CW QSO, and I am also fond of phone/SSB contacts, but FT8 is convenient, quiet and you can be running QSOs while doing other things in the shack.

Most of the action today was on 17 metres, using my Antron 99 vertical antenna and 40 to 50 watts output. The best of the DX there were several JA stations who answered my CQ, a HS (Thailand) station, A65DR in the UAE, and two VU (India) stations along with a clatter of callers from the USA.

Just to demonstrate that I do not spend my whole time on the air using FT8, I did have a couple of CW QSOs. One, with Hans DL8MCG near Munich, was recorded on my smartphone. You can view the entire QSO on YouTube here:

In this video, I was running 100 watts from the radio.

By the way, I should finish by saying that I was not decoded in Australia today. In fact, it's been a while since my last QSO with VK, so I am looking forward to hearing the VK (or indeed ZL / New Zealand) call coming through at some point, hopefully soon.

PS: I have been uploading my log to Logbook of the World every two to three days. I was delighted to see that a contact I made with a station in China (BG0CAB) late last night was confirmed this morning.

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