Today was spent doing my usual indoor "getting ready for the work week" work, but I did leave a little time to get on the radio. I decided to play on 20 meters with JT9. The band started out up and down a bit but finally came to life this afternoon. I'm running the setup shown to the left, my Icom IC-703+ with an output power of 5 watts. My antenna is an EndFedZ 20 meter wire antenna stretched from my upstairs running down into my shack. Nothing earth shattering but I can honestly say I've worked Europe and Asia with this antenna the way it's currently configured. As I've mentioned many a time, I'm at the mercy of propagation with my QRP / indoor setup but using weak signal modes such as JT9 can easily add QSO's to the ol logbook. Today, I added 13 of em.
AK7DD Heard List
It's nice to have numerous resources to see how well you're hearing, or how well you're being heard. My favorites are of course the PSK Reporter page (not just for PSK) or my other favorite, Hamspots. Like a reverse beacon, this will show you how well you are being heard on the "other end" of the propagation hop. And when you have an indoor station like I do, it's crucial to check propagation numbers and bands for your best opportunity for successful QSO's. It also helps to run digital modes that are great for less than optimal conditions, either shack or propagation.
Waterfall & QSO's
I very much enjoy the WSJT software that allows me to operate both JT65 and JT9. I've been defaulting my activity to JT9, only due to it's narrower bandwidth. This allows me to normally find an unoccupied part of the digital spectrum to set up shop and try to work a few stations. And anytime that I work the digital modes, I make sure before transmitting that my ALC and any compression are turned off along with making sure my power is turned down (I run 5 watts or less). I don't want to pollute the waterfall with an excessive signal. I've seen stations so wide that they are decoded on more than one frequency and their callsign shows up twice in the RX frequency window! It's not hard to spot those wide signals on the waterfall. With my log snapshot, you will see JT65A on the left, and to the right of that, JT9 transmissions. An obvious visual difference between the two modes. And with the JT9 transmissions, you can tell which signals are stronger / wider than the others. Another simply addicting mode available to us ham radio operators.