OK, that’s a bit of a stretch in the title there, but I think it expresses my opinion of HF digital modes quite well.
Once I was up and running on 20 meters, I had been playing with PSK31 receive, by getting a PSK31 terminal program such as HamScope and hooking the laptop up to the radio with a simple mini-plug to mini-plug audio cable. Last Friday, I received my new RigBlaster Plug and Play from West Mountain Radio, and hooked it up to the laptop. There’s a bit of a learning curve there – besides hooking up the audio cables, you have to hook up the USB, find out where the virtual COM port went, then plug it into the PSK31 program for the PTT.
But after doing that, the contacts just kept rolling in. I got my first two-way contact that evening, with a special event station in Argentina, LT5D. Later, I worked ZL3TRR in Christchurch, New Zealand, and in the short contact we talked a bit about the quake that happened that week.
To give you an idea – I had been up and running for two weekends, and during that time I made about eight voice contacts. (Of those, I was only able to log five of them…the paper on which I wrote the details of the other three went missing.) But in one weekend, I was able to eight DX PSK31 contacts (two each from Russia and Japan; one each from Argentina, New Zealand, and Australia; and one mainland-side), and one more local contact.
And that wasn’t all – I made four more contacts this week as well – one each from Russia, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. So 12 total so far.
Didn’t have much luck tonight on PSK31 – for some reason I was having better luck on voice. Worked a DXpedition (T30AQ), and another station in Australia (VK4VN).
Will go into more detail on my new PSK31 setup in another article, but I’ve been having a great time on the HF bands lately. And the sunspots are on the upswing. Looks like I got into HF at just the right time.