I fired up on 40 meters when I got home from work yesterday, and worked quite a few FT8 QSOs:
Mostly US stations, but a few Europeans mixed in as well. Things had quieted down when I got back home later after choir practice and Scouts, and I decided to call it a night. Even in these days of lower activity, you CAN make QSOs. You just have to turn on the rig.
I spent a bit of time on 80 meters last night … most contacts were North America. Forty meters was pretty sparse. Just not good conditions. As a matter of fact, later, I actually was wondering if my antenna had fallen down again, signals dropped so much.
So, to catch up with a task I hadn’t gotten around to yet, I decided to enter frequencies into memory for the 60 meter (5 MHz) band on the new IC-7300. I have never operated on this band before, so moving between the five “channels” revealed not too much activity last night. I did hear one CW station, and they were pretty strong; I also heard a couple of FT8 signals on one channel as well.
The CW station was right on the center frequency of the channel. Neither digital station was. The rules state that digital signals must be zero-beat with the center frequency of the channel; they also state that only one station can transmit on a channel at one time. Either the operators were in error, or I need to read some more. I didn’t do any transmitting on that band, other than to send a couple of test signals (VVV de N4BC). I’ll try more later.
Most of the snow and ice is gone now … supposed to get up to 62 today and 71 tomorrow. Saturday, the temperatures drop again, and Sunday they’re in the 30s again. I’m ready though … got a new pair of hunting boots from Amazon yesterday. Probably won’t snow again all winter!
Propagation was not great last night. Here’s where I was heard on 40 meters FT-8 last night about 1630Z. I was running about 40 watts to a vertical.
Only North America … no South American, European or Asian stations reported hearing my signals. Eighty meters was super noisy and twenty meters was not cooperating with the propagation fairy either. Not a worthless endeavor, but definitely not a great evening on the air.
This evening, we’re expecting our first winter precipitation … snow/rain/sleet mixture. No accumulation but it’s going to be nasty and chilly, for sure.
From the specs and what I can research on the internet, the Icom looks to be a pretty rugged rig. Max power on SSB/CW/RTTY/FM is 100 watts. Obviously, it’s not a good thing to run it wide open on the heavy duty-cycle modes like RTTY for great amounts of time, but I’ve pushed it up to 50 watts on FT-8 (15 seconds on/15 seconds off) down on 80 meters and the temperature meter on the display barely went up one teeny division, and I didn’t detect any speed increase on the temperature-controlled fan. AM mode is 25 watts max … that’s pretty standard! I also didn’t detect ANY ALC being generated, so the output should have been undistorted and linear.
Oh, man … this is one smooth rig. Now I’m asking myself why I didn’t buy one of these IC-7300s months (or years) ago. I’ve gotten a bit of cockpit time on it and I am impressed. I’m sitting here reading the mail on some 40-meter SSB nets this evening, and between the PBT, Notch, RF Gain, Noise Reduction, and BP filters, I can tune out pretty much most interference and heterodynes.
Earlier, I was doing some digital operations, and it’s just so effortless. One cable – USB-A to USB-B. Setup was easy … plenty of documents and YouTube videos to help you along. G3NRW has a resource page with loads of information. Click on his callsign to visit.
The audio is superb. It’s pleasant to listen to and not tiring at all. I’ve been listening to SSB nets this afternoon while doing some other tasks in the shack, and I’m not irritated yet!
Tuesday evening is our club Holiday party. We’ll be having dinner along with one of the other clubs in the area. Unfortunately, it takes two clubs to muster up enough manpower to come up with sufficient numbers to reserve a banquet room at the restaurant these days.