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Author Topic: DX for the severely antenna-restricted... adventures in JT-65  (Read 9539 times)
N4UM
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Posts: 474




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« on: December 09, 2013, 11:04:02 AM »

I've just been on the world's slowest mini-DXPedition... 21 days signing C6ARU in Freeport, Bahamas on JT-65 pretty much the whole time except for a few brief breaks for CW and Olivia contacts to keep from going nuts.  Total contacts on JT-65  were over 1100 with 100 or more on each band 160 thru 10 meters (except for only 2 QSOs on 60 meters.)  The pace was enough to make Slimey the snail lose his patience.  The typical JT-65 QSO takes about 6 minutes to exchange a very limited amount of information using a rigidly established protocol... basically call signs, grid squares and signal reports. Some QSOs can take even longer than that if conditions are bad or if someone screws up.  The main challenge when operating JT-65 is to stay awake... and it's very easy (and embarassing) to wake up during or shortly after a contact and wonder what in the world has happened!

JT-65 is designed for low power applications with less than great antennas.  It's a way for hams living in condos, apartments or restrictive HOAs to at least  get on the air and make contacts with very modest setups.  I have a soft spot in my heart (and in my head) for these guys since I myself have been living and operating in a geriatric ghetto for more than four years where antennas are not allowed.  It was not until this trip, however, that I seriously entertained the idea of trying to put what is probably a "new one" on the air for JT-65 affecianados.  What was I thinking?

I'm dreading the QSL chores ahead of me since I've been told that about a third to a half of the stations working me are going to want cards.  I really hope I made a lot of guys in antenna-restricted settings happy with a new one on JT-65.  I know 9X0ZM in exotic Ruanda must have been happy because he called me and then stuck around for ten minutes to get the exchange right! 

If you're stuck in a really difficult antenna situation, consider trying JT-65.  You might be surprised what you can work.  I know 9X0ZM was!
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K7KB
Member

Posts: 607




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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 03:55:08 PM »

Tim: I applaud you for making the effort to give those who live with antenna restrictions a chance to get a new one in the log. I know when I was using my 43 foot vertical I had a few nice surprises using JT-65. For example, my first contact with Reunion Island (FR5ZU) was on 40 meter JT-65. I've also made some nice DX contacts on 80 meters using that mode. The thing that amazes me is that I've seen calls come in for me after sending CQ that you couldn't even see on the waterfall because they were so far down in the noise, but still copyable. Although JT-65 is not for everyone because of the snails pace, it does offer the opportunity to make some nice DX contacts.

John K7KB 
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KG4RUL
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Posts: 2727


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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 09:36:07 PM »

I find this whole concept to be boring.  What skill is involved in a "contact"?
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N4UM
Member

Posts: 474




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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 07:58:24 AM »

KG4RUL "I find this whole concept to be boring.  What skill is involved in a "contact"?"

Thank you so very very much for sharing!  Smiley
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 02:11:22 PM »

KG4RUL "I find this whole concept to be boring.  What skill is involved in a "contact"?"

Thank you so very very much for sharing!  Smiley

You are totally welcome.
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K0YQ
Member

Posts: 447




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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 04:17:26 PM »

I've just been on the world's slowest mini-DXPedition... 21 days signing C6ARU in Freeport, Bahamas on JT-65 pretty much the whole time except for a few brief breaks for CW and Olivia contacts to keep from going nuts.  Total contacts on JT-65  were over 1100 with 100 or more on each band 160 thru 10 meters (except for only 2 QSOs on 60 meters.)  The pace was enough to make Slimey the snail lose his patience.  The typical JT-65 QSO takes about 6 minutes to exchange a very limited amount of information using a rigidly established protocol... basically call signs, grid squares and signal reports. Some QSOs can take even longer than that if conditions are bad or if someone screws up.  The main challenge when operating JT-65 is to stay awake... and it's very easy (and embarassing) to wake up during or shortly after a contact and wonder what in the world has happened!

JT-65 is designed for low power applications with less than great antennas.  It's a way for hams living in condos, apartments or restrictive HOAs to at least  get on the air and make contacts with very modest setups.  I have a soft spot in my heart (and in my head) for these guys since I myself have been living and operating in a geriatric ghetto for more than four years where antennas are not allowed.  It was not until this trip, however, that I seriously entertained the idea of trying to put what is probably a "new one" on the air for JT-65 affecianados.  What was I thinking?

I'm dreading the QSL chores ahead of me since I've been told that about a third to a half of the stations working me are going to want cards.  I really hope I made a lot of guys in antenna-restricted settings happy with a new one on JT-65.  I know 9X0ZM in exotic Ruanda must have been happy because he called me and then stuck around for ten minutes to get the exchange right! 

If you're stuck in a really difficult antenna situation, consider trying JT-65.  You might be surprised what you can work.  I know 9X0ZM was!

Great job and great mode!
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W1VT
Member

Posts: 830




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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2013, 10:00:36 PM »

Many thanks for the new country on 160M!

You could reduce the  QSL burden by getting on LoTW--I'd be happy with just a LoTW confirmation, as I've worked C6 many times on the other bands.

Zack W1VT
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K3DCW
Member

Posts: 196




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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2013, 07:09:21 PM »

KG4RUL "I find this whole concept to be boring.  What skill is involved in a "contact"?"

Thank you so very very much for sharing!  Smiley

Hey, Tim, don't get after KG4RUL too badly....he's going for his WAT award.  He has to have a contact with every JT65 thread, complaining about the "skill" involved, in order to qualify for Worked All Threads. He doesn't seem to care that amateur radio is big enough for all interests; or that perhaps those with extremely difficult antenna situations might just relish the idea of working DX with minimal power and antennas; or maybe he is just jealous that JT65 works better than CW for chasing said DX.  The only thing that matters is what the good lord, KG4RUL, has decreed as valid amateur radio.

73

Dave
K3DCW
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VE3FMC
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Posts: 987


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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2013, 04:25:49 AM »

KG4RUL "I find this whole concept to be boring.  What skill is involved in a "contact"?"

Thank you so very very much for sharing!  Smiley

Hey, Tim, don't get after KG4RUL too badly....he's going for his WAT award.  He has to have a contact with every JT65 thread, complaining about the "skill" involved, in order to qualify for Worked All Threads. He doesn't seem to care that amateur radio is big enough for all interests; or that perhaps those with extremely difficult antenna situations might just relish the idea of working DX with minimal power and antennas; or maybe he is just jealous that JT65 works better than CW for chasing said DX.  The only thing that matters is what the good lord, KG4RUL, has decreed as valid amateur radio.

73

Dave
K3DCW

KG4RUL has voiced his valued opinion on how boring JT65 is in another thread. I didn't realize he was The Lord Of Amateur Radio as you have pointed out. Grin

As he said there is no skill involved in operating JT65, which basically is true. But the same could be said for PSk31, which I call the MACRO MODE, or any other digital mode. Of course you need some typing skills with those modes (unless you send the canned macros for your contacts which a lot of PSK31 ops do, which makes it no different than JT65 contacts)

Tim thanks for operating JT65 from Bermuda, I worked you on 17,40 and 80 meters. No need for a QSL card, I am not chasing awards. And you are correct it is a damn good mode for hams that are restricted when it comes to antennas. Their SSB or CW signals could be weak and they struggle to make contacts. JT65 and a few other robust digital modes allow them to make contacts and be active in amateur radio instead of giving up the hobby and watching tv!

Again thanks for the contacts Tim.
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KG4RUL
Member

Posts: 2727


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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2013, 05:09:01 AM »

KG4RUL "I find this whole concept to be boring.  What skill is involved in a "contact"?"

Thank you so very very much for sharing!  Smiley

Hey, Tim, don't get after KG4RUL too badly....he's going for his WAT award.  He has to have a contact with every JT65 thread, complaining about the "skill" involved, in order to qualify for Worked All Threads. He doesn't seem to care that amateur radio is big enough for all interests; or that perhaps those with extremely difficult antenna situations might just relish the idea of working DX with minimal power and antennas; or maybe he is just jealous that JT65 works better than CW for chasing said DX.  The only thing that matters is what the good lord, KG4RUL, has decreed as valid amateur radio.

73

Dave
K3DCW

KG4RUL has voiced his valued opinion on how boring JT65 is in another thread. I didn't realize he was The Lord Of Amateur Radio as you have pointed out. Grin

As he said there is no skill involved in operating JT65, which basically is true. But the same could be said for PSk31, which I call the MACRO MODE, or any other digital mode. Of course you need some typing skills with those modes (unless you send the canned macros for your contacts which a lot of PSK31 ops do, which makes it no different than JT65 contacts)

Tim thanks for operating JT65 from Bermuda, I worked you on 17,40 and 80 meters. No need for a QSL card, I am not chasing awards. And you are correct it is a damn good mode for hams that are restricted when it comes to antennas. Their SSB or CW signals could be weak and they struggle to make contacts. JT65 and a few other robust digital modes allow them to make contacts and be active in amateur radio instead of giving up the hobby and watching tv!

Again thanks for the contacts Tim.


So, you are saying the the use of "macros" makes you an unskilled operator.  Then you go on to compare the use of "macros" in PSK31 to the skill level required in JT-65 "contacts".  Thanks for making my point so eloquently!

BTW - Since I often make transmissions without macros, does that make me a "semi-skilled" operator?

P.S. I am not "The Lord Of Amateur Radio", just someone voicing his opinion, just as you, yourself have done.
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