A couple of weeks ago the forecast was for several days of reasonably good weather for antennas. That is, lower winds, no rain or light rain showers, and lots of sunshine. I pulled out my Buddipole antenna and configured it for 40 meters at the low end of the band. After listening to some CW, I decided to set up JT65 and let it run for a while.
JT65 is a weak signal system. QSO’s are possible but take quite a bit of time to complete and even then, only a little bit of information can be transmitted. If the software is set up to send reports to pskreporter and to the Reverse Beacon Network (highly recommended to enable both options), every station that my software decodes will be reported along with the signal strength of the received signal. This is very helpful to others who are transmitting in the jT65 mode and want to know where their signal is being received and the relative signal strength of the received signal.
I let JT65 run for several hours while I was doing other things in the “shack”. I had a few minutes, so I responded to several CQ’s and managed to have two JT65 conversations. The first was with a ham in New Zealand and a while later I was able to make contact with a ham from Japan. I fired off a QSL card to each of them and included two one-dollar bills in the hopes they would send back a QSL card. Both did! The cards are in the picture above.
The weather here in Hawaii is not kind to things hanging out in the breeze. Consequently, leaving the Buddipole up for any period of time is asking for problems. In that period of time, one of the clamps on the tripod grew some serious crud that needed to be cleaned off and re-oiled. Now I’m hoping for another few days when the antenna can go up and I can try some more JT65. For more information on this app, please see JT65-HF.COM as well as the Wikipedia page on the mode / protocol.
The Robert E. Heytow Memorial Radio Club publishes a “general interest amateur radio eZine” called the “K9YA Telegraph“. I ran across it a little over two years ago, subscribed, and have enjoyed every issue since then, as well as have read several previous issues from the archive.
This is a subscription electronic magazine. The subscription is free. The current issue had some very interesting follow-on information about the National Air Race in 1929 and amateur radio involvement along with links to documentaries on the air race. The magazine comes as a downloadable PDF and usually is eight pages long.
The magazine has been serializing a story about amateur radio operators called “Rose”. Part fifteen was included in the latest issue. It is a well-written, quite engaging story and I usually read the next installment as soon as the magazine is downloadable.
I finished the rest of the receiver this afternoon. It is putting out sound. I need to put up some kind of an antenna to see if I can hear anything in the narrow range the receiver can tune: 7.030 and 7.0475 mHz +- a few kHz.
I’ve hooked the TPS up to the receiver and both seem to be working as advertised. Next I’ll start on the Pixie transceiver so perhaps it can provide a signal that the receiver can pick up to verify that it’s actually receiving something.
Another of the ham radio operators here in the area is Paul Crookston, KB7ZIH. He’s been directly involved in getting the new BYU-Hawaii repeater up and operational. Tonight he worked with a group of boy scouts on their radio merit badge. He took his radio over and had the boys talk with several others of us who were standing by. A couple of the boys expressed some interest and hopefully there’ll be a way for them to act on that interest. The Boy Scouts of America operates an excellent website, K2BSA.net, and has been activating a number of locations using the K2BSA portable call sign. In October the scouts will be holding their Jamboree On The Air event. We’ll need to figure out how to get some of the local troops involved in JOTA.
So, now that the J-Pole is up and operational, my Yaesu FT-8900 easily gets into the BYU-H repeater. In fact, both of my HT’s easily get into the repeater at 5 watts output into a better-than-a-rubber-duck antenna. Monitoring the repeater this evening shows some activity on the machine. However, there’s a LOT of QRM here. I’m going to ask him to put a tone on the output side of the repeater which should go a long way towards squelching the QRM.