27 Jul 2014

Second JT9-1 QSO today

This evening I worked my second station on JT9-1, again on 20m as 10m was dead when I listened. The station was DL1KCQ (475km) in JO22 square. He was running 10W to a vertical.  I was using 5W to my Par 10/20/40m end-fed.

I have still to try JT65 and JT9-1 on 10m as the band has not been open when I listened. 20m seems to be an ideal band as it is open pretty often. Although I heard some stateside stations on JT9-1,  none were worked or indeed called. So far 4 JT65 QSOs and 2 JT09-1 QSOs in the log since yesterday.

Anyone know the recommended JT65 and JT9-1 preferred operating frequencies on 40m?  7.076 and 7.078MHz?

A real advantage of JT9-1 is it only occupies just over 16Hz of bandwidth whereas JT65 is about 10 times this bandwidth.  JT9-1 is really only suited to lower HF, MF and LF bands as the tone separation is very small and HF Doppler and rig drift can play havoc.

KX3 antenna failure

I read on the M1KTA blog that an antenna lead on one of his Elecraft KX3 units has failed. I know these have seen some harsh portable field use but I would not have expected this.  I have owned an FT817 for close on 14 years and, touch wood, it has never once failed me - still the same PA, same everything.

In my view, the KX3 is overpriced (over here in the UK) and not well built for rugged field use. I don't doubt it has excellent features and an excellent receiver, but it is still over twice as much as an FT817ND which covers DC to blue light, out of the box ready built. The KX3 is a mess for leads, coming out all over the place. The FT817 is neat, rugged, and compact.

For me, the FT817 still wins.

First JT9-1 QSO this summer

Like David G0LRD, I think WSJT-X (latest version certainly) seems as easy to use as JT65-HF. What's more it supports JT9-1 as well as JT65.

I tried 10m, but soon QSYed down to 20m where there was activity. Managed to work an OE (Austria) on JT9-1 (easily), for my first JT9-1 QSO is some while, running 5W from the FT817.   Just tuned to 14.078MHz and clicked away with WSJT-X.  Must try again on 10m and 6m.  JT65 is at 14.076 and 28.076MHz. USB dial.  JT9-1 is 2kHz higher. On the FT817mI use the DIG setting.

On 6m, I suspect my rig will not be stable enough for JT9-1. It should be fine for JT65.

Continuing JT65/JT9 today

When we get back from shopping I shall return to JT65-HF and JT9-1 modes hoping to work more stations. Yesterday, staying on 20m, I worked 4 Europeans running 2.5 or 5W. JT65-HF is very intuitive and works well. Althought I have had JT9-1 QSOs on 10m in the past, I suspect the rig stability is "challenging" and JT65-HF gives me a better chance. JT65-HF is some 4dB worse than WSPR but the TX period is only 48 secs (1 minute TX period but actual TX is less) so may be better with QSB?  JT9-1 is a narrower bandwidth mode than JT65-HF and is about 2dB worse than WSPR. Of course, JT65 and JT9 are proper QSO modes.

Sunspot count today is 76 (decent) and 20-30MHz conditions are supposed to be "normal" so there could well be some F2 (as well as Es) on 10m today. JT65-HF and JT9-1 on 10m are calling I think.

The great advantage of WSPR is you can set the rig running and monitor things in another room. JT65 and JT9 seem to require "hands on" operation, which is fine.

26 Jul 2014

More JT65 QSOs

This evening I went on 20m JT65 again and managed a couple of European QSOs in reply to the CQs of others. I am using JT65-HF software that is very simple to use. So far I have used the FT817 at either 2.5 or 5W.
JT65-HF screenshot
If you see a station calling CQ (shows up in green) you just click on it to start a QSO with that station. If he copies you and replies then the started QSO shows up in red - all very simple. Wonder if there is a similar (easy) package for JT9-1 on HF?

Looking on PSK Reporter I see plenty of USA stations were copying me too, so it should not be too hard to work DX with just a little effort even with my compromise antenna. When 10m and 6m are open, DX should be easier still.

With JT65-HF and JT9-1,  I have to be in the shack, but at least there is no speaking, saving my poor voice.

JT65HF and JT9-1

Well, I made a start today.   Nothing much doing on 10m, so I QSYed down to 20m where answering CQ calls got me replies from UR4UHE (KO50 square) and SP6ECQ on JT65HF. Although I heard an Italian calling CQ on JT9-1 I failed to get a reply.

No great DX but the first couple of countries in the log.

6m WSPR this morning

I QSYed back to 6m about 50 minutes ago and already been spotted by G4IKZ (18km), OH5RM (1860km) and have myself spotted G6AVK (78km) and OH5RM strongly. Looking quite promising on 6m Es so far today.
6m WSPR this morning (1W ERP)
Sunspot count today is 65 (creeping up again) and 20-30MHz forecast to be "normal". I expect some F2 on 10m today.

I may stick with 50MHz (6m) WSPR today, but want to give JT65 and JT9-1 a good go on 10m and 6m. I have had JT9-1  QSOs on 10m before but believe the rig stability is probably better with JT65. At 6m I suspect JT9-1 will be unsuitable.   JT9-1 is better suited to LF and MF use. I shall use JT9-1 on 630m again soon.

UPDATE 1235z:   Still very much a Scandinavian colour to the Es with OH7AI (2000km) a new call today at 1126z. He is also spotting me. G6AVK is also spotting me.

10m - early

Until 0930z I was on 10m WSPR. GDX overnight included G8JNJ/A (184km), M0ITC (164km), G8VDQ (93km) and M0XDC (65km). The was also Es from Scandinavia early on today (SM,LB). I have now QSYed to 6m WSPR.

25 Jul 2014

10m Es- central Europe

This evening, the 10m Es is favouring central Europe with HB9, DL and OK since teatime. I may give JT65 and JT9-1 a try tomorrow on 10m and maybe 6m.

UPDATE 2200z: The 10m Es event means 10m WSPR is open to EA5 to the south and SI9 (Sweden) to the north. It is pretty widespread.  I am leaving 10m WSPR on overnight again to see how extensive the opening is.

10m - Es returns

At teatime, Es returned to 10m WSPR with EA5CYA (1376km) and GM4SFW (662km).   No F2 propagation seen here so far today. I suspect there will be further Es this evening.