Just when you think you’ve hit a wall something quirky happens, opening a door to another aspect of the hobby. Everything is fun again.
I was fooling around on the Sked Page last night and a bunch of the guys on there were on 6 meters trying to conduct some JT65 QSOs. I’ve never heard anything on 6 meters, save for a local net that was barely audible one evening last year.
Anyway, I had the rig on 50.276 and the waterfall was clear. RF amp was on and the band seemed utterly dead quiet. I was fooling around in a web browser, when JT-Alert sprang to life. VE1SKY out of Nova Scotia was calling CQ low in the band. I responded, only to watch my SWR meter go nuts because I hadn’t retuned for 6 meters. I auto-tuned, replied again and nearly fell out of my chair when he came back to me with an -18 signal report. He was -23, and we both had to send our exchanges several times before we closed with 73.
I checked PSKreporter.info afterwards and noticed I’d been heard in the southeast as well. There have been a fair number of openings on 6 lately and I’d like to play with this band more often, but I really need a better antenna.
Other QSOs of note last night included the usual suspects on JT9, Ukraine and Russia, and another contact with Hawaii, WH6EBS — this time it was an “open water QSO,” i.e., no Sked Page support. What made that contact most interesting is the signal report I received: -10 running under 20 watts.
Field Day Goodies
- If you plan to use N1MM in networked mode, my buddy KN4QD has written some nice software to show real-time QSO counts on a state/province basis. It looks really nice displayed on a big screen, so bystanders can check out the action on the bands. We plan to use this package on Saturday and I can’t wait to “light up” some states! Check out/download his “Field Day Dashboard” here.
- Looking for PSK macros? Here’s what I used last year with HRD’s Digital Master. They can be repurposed for any package though.