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Having fun on HF using 5w or less using data / digi mode (1 reply and 2 comments)

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Peter 2E0PWX
4 weeks ago
Peter 2E0PWX 4 weeks ago

I only passed 3-4 weeks ago, i got a cheaper (<£400) 20w HF SDR based rig a few weeks before passing and used it in listen mode only, this meant i learn how  to use the rig, and get data/ digi mode working and how bands changes during the day and over time

I am not one for talking to people and VHF traffic near me is very little, so HF was my main option, i was told QRP (10w or less) can be very dissapointing but i am enjoying the challenge, i am still using a temporary very basic longwire antenna and the ATU built into my rig to match it correctly for TX

With these restriction on my power and antenna i am still able to get some good distances using data mode (mainly FT8)

In the last 3 week is have managed to contact the following countries

ANDORRA, AZORES, BELGIUM, DENMARK, ENGLAND, FINLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, GREECE, HUNGARY, ICELAND, ITALY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, RUSSIA (EUROPEAN), SCOTLAND, SLOVAK REP.,SPAIN, SWITZERLAND,
UKRAINE, USA

Initially I had very poor results, until i started to be more methodical, using PSKreporter i put out 2-3 CQ calls on the band i want to operate on, then look to see which stations have heard me, i then target those stations when they make a CQ call (knowing they can hear me), after every 3-4 TX cycles as the propagation can change rapidly, especially around dusk, this has improved my QSO rate from < 5% to around 20-25%

So for new M7's like myself think about any monitoring sites like pskreporter where you can see who can hear you so you can target your transmissions and hopefully be more successful 

I am already getting a nice collection of QSL card on eQSL and considering paying for a higher level of membership so i can get some of the awards for QSO's and get nicer designs for my QSL cards

I am starting to get into SSTV, JS8call, RTTY / PSK31 as well, its a big world and amateur radio gives you a big box of toys to explore it

Have as much fun as me

73

peter M7PGW

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Peter 2E0PWX
4 weeks ago
Peter 2E0PWX 4 weeks ago

Also i tend to sue the slightly quieter bands as less chance of my signal being swamped by others using far higher power

G0CBO.Rodney
3 weeks ago

Good to read this, I am also new to FT8 and have just posted on the Forum asking questions on power levels. I am also amazed at the reports I see on PSK reporter.
have fun with the digital modes, it can be addictive hi hi

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Peter 2E0PWX
3 weeks ago

which forum, there is an active forum on groups.io with the guys that write the WSJT-x software, they are great, and very helpful
look at https://wsjtx.groups.io/g/main/topics, the other one i found also on groups.io was a group for my xiegu G90 rig, and there is also support for digi mode on there, so it may be worth looking for the relevant group for your rig as well

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