JT65 – an explanation

July 20, 2016

In yesterdays blog post (https://va3qv.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/after-the-weekend/  )I mentioned some shortcoming I felt there were with the amateur mode JT65.  I should of been more specific….  These are not the fault of the mode but rather the fault (or limitations) of the equipment I am using to operate…


jt65pix

The above image shows stations of origin for JT65 signals that I was able to receive yesterday…


jt65xmtpic

The above image shows those stations that heard my JT65 signal from Ottawa yesterday.


Now the only problem is that the robots heard my signal….  I heard lots of signals but…

  No contacts were made at the end of the day… 

They saw me calling…. I saw them calling… but we never were able to make a legal contact (to the non hams who might read this… that would be to exchange callsigns, signal reports and locations) to complete the QSO.

Its most likely nerves on my end as the Flex got fairly warm (real quick) when I made my first couple of JT65 contacts as I was using the full 5w output.  The radio was not designed for a 100% keydown at full power for a 50 second transmissions.  It heats up…  I then tried lowering my power level down to 2w and the overheating issues are no longer there…  However at 2w along with my compromise antenna… no contacts were to made… saw lots on my screen and some robots saw me on their screens but… we never talked…

Again as I mentioned yesterday…. once I can improve on my equipment, or my antenna (or its location changes) I will revisit this mode.

73bob

After the weekend

July 19, 2016

Now that we are back in Ottawa and the “holidays” over….  we are also back to our regular family habits… Meaning that you won’t be hearing/seeing much of my signals from Friday evening till the end of the weekend…  Family stuff trumps radio stuff unless I pre book off time for a special event or contest…

Monday to Friday remains my radio time when family business permits…

Yesterday was spent at my Insurance Agents office as I am not very impressed with the service given by the parent company.  Coming up on 4 weeks this week and still no news on what’s happening with my claim….  Not feeling very “neighborly” right now…. 

However I did get the chance to take my Daughter out for lunch as her office is in the same plaza as my insurance agent….  After that I made my way home and Liz and I had a pleasant late afternoon followed by a BBQ supper….  A great end to the day….

This morning I was in the shack around 0600 (1000utc) and was playing around with JT 65 again…  Not much has changed to sway my opinions of it but I will enlighten you on the conclusions I have drawn…

As you know we need propagation,  we need an antenna and we need RF to make a HF contact (on any band or any mode).

Trying to make a JT 65 contact from my home QTH is not an easy thing to do (harder than what I was told it would be ) for the following reasons…

Propagation conditions are  poor… my antenna system is not the best… my RF output is limited to 2w.  The output power is limited to 2w (my choice) due to the 50 second transmit duty cycle of every JT65 transmission I make…

In a nutshell I don’t have enough antenna and I can’t run any more power without risking damage to the finals on the Flex 1500 and the band conditions are far from stellar.  I have much better luck running 5w using psk which has much shorter duty cycle on transmit.

ft450This is nothing against the mode…  If I was still running my 100w Yaesu FT 450 or my FT 897 I could dial the power back to 20w and be making contacts all over the world…

The 20w output could compensate for the less than fantastic antenna or the poor band conditions.

Making a JT65 contact is the same of working a DXPedition or a Contest station.

“Your 5nn, TU… QRZ?”

This is definitely a mode I will spend more time on once my equipment (higher power) or my operating conditions (better antenna) changes in the future.

For now its back to CW, SSB and PSK31 as its proven they work for me quite well from this location with my equipment

73bob

 

A little more about JT65

July 15, 2016

From my earlier blog post I mentioned that I was getting my JT65 software up and running and well….  I did….

So far I have made 3 JT65 QSOs  (IL, IL, and SD)… and all of them were on 20m. 

jt65.png

I’m still undecided about the mode… Its not quick that’s for sure.  It take about 6 minutes from the start of the QSO to the completion and if the band is weak it could take even longer.  The good thing about the mode is that it is getting the bare minimum needed out (callsign/signal report) to complete the QSO through when you think the bands are dead…


w9mdb_eqsl

The above QSO was confirmed on EQSL within minutes of my completing the QSO


Another good thing about this mode is that operators tend to confirm QSOs very quickly.  As an example… Yesterdays contact with SD has been already confirmed on LoTW which brings me up to 38 confirmed states for my Digital WAS. 

With the band conditions getting worse…. I’ll take any help I can getting my 2w signal out there….

Yes that’s right….  I did say 2w!!!

Given the fact that every time I transmit in JT65 I am keying down for 50 seconds I don’t want to pop (overheat)  the finals in the Flex.  The radio gets hot enough when I use 2w and at 5w it would be overheating very quickly and that’s not a good thing for finals…. So now I am making contacts with 2w and a wire…

Seriously…  this mode is not for everyone but if your main purpose is to raise your DXCC count and make contacts…. This mode could be for you….Give it a look over and make your own decisions…

73bob

 

Getting JT 65 set up

July 14, 2016

In between my “State chasing” using PSK31 attempts I thought I would try and get JT65 figured out.  I installed it before holidays (fire drill) but never really did much with it…  I’ve been distracted since I got back to town…

Yesterday I got the com port issue between JT65 and HRD simplified and it seems to transmitting and receiving signals. 

The easy way me to do this was to use the same comport for JT65 as I do for DM780.  Seeing that I can only use one at a time why not assign them the same comport.  Remembering that after I am finished with one and switching to the other its much easier if I reboot the computer first…

That being said…. during my testing the radio did get a bit warm and I guess this would be my reminder to cut the Flex 1500 power back down to about 2 watts as it seems the full 5w gets things toasty… and that is never a good thing…

Later today when I go out I’ll be leaving the software running with the xmit disabled and see what I can hear (see on screen) when I return.  If that proves to be fruitful then later I’ll try it with the power cranked back (now there’s some words a QRP’er usually does not have to use) and see if I can make any contacts…

ARRL_WAS_map

Getting back to my state chasing….  So far now no new ones…  but I have been making some PSK31  contacts…  So far the 20m band seems to be the best behaving for me….  Hopefully the guys in the west coast (looking for 0’s, 7’s and 6) will be calling CQ later today…

More on this and also on the JT65 experiments in the near future…

73bob

Picking up where I left off…

July 12, 2016

You might recall that over the winter months I started working PSK 31 in an attempt to get my ARRL WAS Triple Play award.  I have my WAS in SSB as well as CW and only needed to get WAS in PSK31 to complete the attempt…

Well I took a break in the springtime as getting the camper ready for the summer was a lot more important but….  we know how that turned out…. 

So now that I have more time in the shack I have decided to try and get a few more states confirmed in LoTW and EQSL…  and after going through my logs I am needing confirmed Digital (PSK31) contacts in the following states:

uscallmap

California, Hawaii, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont.

lotw-logo-cAlthough I have worked most of the above already they are yet to be confirmed on LoTW and I guess if they have not been confirmed by now… the chances of it happening are slim…

So its time to get back on the air and make more contacts…

If anyone out there in the above mentioned states wants to prove they can be heard by 5w and a wire using psk31  (and also hear 5w and a wire) feel free to contact me.  I will happily confirm all contacts via LoTW and EQSL along with QRZ.com and HRDLOG.net.  For me LoTW is important as the ARRL does not accept any other electronic confirmations for now at least…

When I check PSK Reporter…

( https://www.pskreporter.info/pskmap.html  ) after a few hours of calling I see that my signal is getting into the right areas… now all I need is someone at the other end who can receive it…

Skeds are welcome and even if you are not located in the areas I need and you need VA3/VE3 for one of your awards feel free to contact me as well…

Hope to get you in the log in the near future…

73bob

 

 

The aftermath of the IARU Contest

July 10, 2016

Sunday mid morning….  topping the caffine levels in my system and looking over the log I just submitted to the American Radio Relay League for the International Amateur Radio Union Contest….

Heres the “Coles Notes Version:


IARU Summary Sheet

       Start Date : 2016-07-09

    CallSign Used : VA3QV
      Operator(s) : VA3QV

Operator Category : SINGLE-OP
Assisted Category : NON-ASSISTED
             Band : ALL
            Power : QRP
             Mode : MIXED
 Default Exchange : 4
       Gridsquare : FN25EJ

             Name : Bob Sharp
             Country : CANADA

     ARRL Section : ONE
        Club/Team : Ottawa Valley QRP Society
         Software : N1MM Logger+ 1.0.5774.0

        Band   Mode    QSOs     Pts     ITU   HQ
         3.5      CW            7         21      1         0
           7       CW           18        54      5         3
          14      CW           71        215     9        5
          14      USB           6         16      0        0
          21      CW           21         61      5         1

=============================
       Total  Both        123         367   20       9

================================
            Score : 10,643


Now out of those 123 QSO (contacts) that I made in the 16 hours (out of 24) that I operated in you can see the majority were made on the 20m (14mhz) band also the majority of all my contacts were made in the CW mode…

iaruzonemap2

Above Map shows the different IARU Zones.  I was operating from Zone 4.

My contacts were made in the following countries:

Austria, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, United States of America and Venezuala.

Continents worked were Europe, North America and South America

I did hear other stations, further away in more exotic and rare locations but it was not a day to be operating QRP and they could not hear “5w and a wire” and so they did not make it into my log…

Given the current band conditions I think I did OK

All in all I am pleased with my results and do not think there is much I could do to improve on my score from home.  5w output is 5w output… can’t go any higher and stay in my QRP Category…

I started using the N1MM logging program in the RAC Canada Day Contest and it used again in the IARU Test.  I wish I had started using it earlier…  Its a fantastic piece of software and less than 1 hour after the contest had closed I had submitted my logs to the IARU and also sent my logs to Logbook of the World, EQSL, QRZ.com and HRDLOG.net.  It was that simple…   You might be using a better program but so far I have not found one…

My antenna system should be improved but that is not going to happen as long as I live in a garden home with a tiny back yard…  No doubt that if I had suitable wire antennas up for 80m and 160m then things might of been a bit different.

The Flex 1500 behaved itself as it should.  I love the RCV section in it as does Mr. Sherwood  (http://www.sherweng.com/table.html ) and if you go to the website you will see that its still 19th on the list.  Since its release in 2011 (with no real upgrades) it remains in the top 20 of HF Receivers. 

My Elecraft T1 QRP Autotuner is starting to show its age… It has had a hard life with me and I think its time to rebuilt it or replace…  I’m leaning towards replace….  For the most part it did work fine but…  there were a few times that it would not load up as expected… I took it off line and used my LDG QRP Autotuner from my FT817 kit and finished off the last hour of the contest with it…

So there you have it…. 16 hours in the chair… got me 123 contacts…. and a lot of fun… If you think of it … that’s 3 major contests (Field Day, RAC Canada Day and the IARU Contest)  in 16 days.  The camper should be replaced in plenty of time for me to think about a trip somewhere (next year) with room enough to spread out some serious wire antennas and have some RF fun in those 3 contests…

The rest of today will be spent looking at the “T1” to see if I can figure out why it decided to get fussy on me in the contest…

Hope your radio time went as well…

73bob

 

 

 

 

Have a good weekend

July 8, 2016

Friday afternoon and the weather forecast is for wet for most of the weekend.  However as I’m not going camping for obvious reasons…. we could use the rain…

On the agenda for the weekend is participating in the IARU Contest which starts at 1200 UTC on July 9th and finishes  24 hours later…

iaruzonemap2

If you decide to participate in the contest the above map should help you a bit… It shows the various ITU zones


Any other info can be found here… Courtesy of RAC…

RACbanner


Lets hope the band conditions improve… and as always I hope to get you in my log… If you can hear 5w and a wire

73bob

14 out of 15 ain’t 2 shabby

July 7, 2016

Before reading this one you might want to go back in time to my posting of July 2 2016 titled ” Chasing the 13 colonies”


Anyhow…  The event was very well received and I managed to contact 13 of the 13 colonies :

13colonies

K2A- New York- July 2nd using QRP 40m ssb

K2B- Virginia- July 3rd using QRP 40m ssb

K2C- Rhode Island- July 3rd using QRP 80m ssb

K2D- Connecticut- July 3rd using QRP 80m cw

K2E- Delaware- July 3rd using QRP 40m cw

K2F- Maryland- July 1 using QRP 20m cw

K2G- Georgia- July 3rd using QRP 20m cw

K2H- Massachusetts- July 3rd using QRP 80m cw

K2I- New Jersey- July 1st using QRP 20m cw

K2J- North Carolina- July 1st using QRP 20m cw

K2K- New Hampshire- July 2nd using QRP 40m ssb

K2L- South Carolina- July 2nd using QRP 20m cw

K2M-Pennsylvania- July 2nd using QRP 40m cw

oldglory


Along with one of the two bonus stations:

W2PEN- PHILADELPHIA PA-  July 3rd using QRP 40m CW


union jackBut unfortunately

GB13COL-

GREAT BRITIAN

eluded me for the duration

GB13COL was a hard one…. 

I tried for 3 days straight…. heard a few working him…. saw a couple of stations working him on PSK31 but I don’t think we completed the QSO…

One time after I called I did see a “QV” slightly garbled in the waterfall and I sent my 5nn to him and I did get a 5nn back but….  He did answer me but I’m not sure if he got my call correct…  I sent him an EQSL as he is on EQSL and either I’ll get a confirmation or I’ll get a “not in log sorry…”  Time will tell…


Computer-whiz2_doc-300x296But in reality after seeing the comments posted on the cluster about the different operators on GB13COL…  I think we are lucky that they stuck it out…  When all you can read on the cluster is insults and comments about the operators skill… We are lucky he did not just switch off the rig


Now as a reminder…  the IARU contest is this weekend… Details can be found here on the ARRL Website (http://www.arrl.org/iaru-hf-championship)

Good Luck

73bob

 

 

 

 

 

From my email inbox

July 4, 2016

The following arrived via email and they said I could share it with you:

SASprint


Hello VA3QV!

We would like to invite you to the SA Sprint Contest.

This is a new contest organized by several South American amateur radio clubs and groups.

The contest is only two hours long, the rules are really straightforward and we have included the QSO/QSY rule to make it really fun.

You can see the full rules at: www.sa-sprint.com/rules

Several logging programs have included support for our contest: www.sa-sprint.com/software

The contest will take place on July 23rd, 2016. From 2100 to 23 UTC, on SSB and CW  (40 and 20 meters).

Everyone can contact everyone for QSO points credit. Mults are SA prefixes.

Please feel free to tell your friends about the SA Sprint.

There is a Club/Group competition too!

We look forward to seeing you on the bands.

Vy 73,

SA Sprint Contest


 

and so I did….

and who knows… you might find it fun to participate in it if the bands cooperate for those two hours…

73bob

Chasing the 13 Colonies

July 3, 2016

This post has been updated on July 3rd to show the 2 extra contacts made (so far ) in my quest to complete the special event.  As of 1700 edst the only one left is GB13COL


Right after the RAC Canada Day Contest while I am still fired up and wired up on caffeine, I usually try and get a few of the 13 Colonies Special Event Stations in the log.


 

13colonies.jpg


The purpose of the event is to contact Special Event Stations in all of the Original 13 Colonies that founded the United States of America.

In addition to the 13 stations there are also 2 other stations.  One in Philadelphia PA (where the declaration of Independence was signed and the other in Great Britain where the whole thing started…

So far operating QRP from home with my Flex 1500 and my simple 55 foot end fed longwire… I have managed the following results:

americaneagle

uncle-sam-vector-cartoon-598x770

K2A- New York- July 2nd using 40m ssb

K2B- Virginia- July 3rd using 40m ssb

K2C- Rhode Island- July 3rd using 80m ssb

K2D- Connecticut- July 3rd using 80m cw

K2E- Delaware- July 3rd using 40m cw (after the original post )

K2F- Maryland- July 1 using 20m cw

K2G- Georgia- July 3rd using 20m cw (after the original post)

K2H- Massachusetts- July 3rd using 80m cw

K2I- New Jersey- July 1st using 20m cw

K2J- North Carolina- July 1st using 20m cw

K2K- New Hampshire- July 2nd using 40m ssb

K2L- South Carolina- July 2nd using 20m cw

K2M-Pennsylvania- July 2nd using 40m cw


W2PEN- PHILADELPHIA PA-  July 3rd using 40m CW

GB13COL- GREAT BRITIAN- still trying


americanflag

And I have a few more days to get the remainder in my log…


For more info go to http://www.13colonies.net


happy-4th-of-july

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO MY AMERICAN NEIGHBORS…


73bob


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