AA8IA Amateur Radio

The Digital Modes – My thoughts after a week

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I’ve been working the digital modes for about a week. I have made a number of PSK31, PSK63, PSK125, DominoEX, and RTTY contacts.

I’m using a Yeasu FT-100, a very poor excuse for a G5RV, and a Signalink USB interface for digital modes.

The first thing that comes to my mind is the ease by which one can make PSK and RTTY contacts. It’s a no-brainer. I would feel guilty if it weren’t using such a piss poor antenna system. There is various software out there to use when working the digital modes. I happen to use Ham Radio Deluxe and like it very much. It has rig control, a logbook, easy uploading of logs to EQSL and exporting of logs to ADIF format. It doesn’t have every amateur digital mode built in, but it has the most popular ones.

I’m not sure it takes much skill to work the digital modes, from a technological standpoint. Most of the new modes work extremely well with minimal signal and can tolerate a bit of noise on the band. Now, I’m not putting down operators of digital modes… It’s just a fact that you can make a PSK contact with 30 watts in instances where you would have extreme difficulty making the same contact on SSB.

One thing for sure, the digital modes are fun and are less stressful than trying to pull out weak SSB/CW signals.

I am feeling guilty about only having made a handful (or less) of CW contacts so far. That’ll change. I’m still getting the station together, and by Field Day I’ll be ready to go on CW, hopefully wiith a better antenna system.

Bottom line – If you haven’t tried the digital modes you should. And if you are adamant about not accepting the digital modes because you feel you are an “old skool” operator and that CW/SSB are the only modes, you just might be biting off your nose to spite you face. Loosen up and give the digital modes a try.

Written by Mike

May 9th, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Posted in Posts

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