In the past we had one digital mode, CW not counted, and that was RTTY. I used that mode in the signal corps, but it never attracted me and the guys using it were called "keyboard chimpanzees". Already then I preferred CW. K1JT, Joe, has changed that and opened a totally new world for us hams. We could also call it a new era. JT65 was the mode that made it possible for more stations to be heard on moonbounce and JT6M, MSK144 and other modes replaced high speed CW for meteor scatter traffic. Now JT65 with it's high sensitivity, reading signals in the noise better than a human, is used for standard QSO's together with the much faster but less sensitive FT8.
PLEASE NOTE: Before you go digital, please read these few lines of advise:
- Read the instructions regarding the set up of your station and learn the proper traffic methods BEFORE you go on the air.
- If you call a station you hear ALWAYS start with the message Tx2 (anything else is waste of time and propagation and can lead to a lost QSO due to conds changing) (A station calling me with Tx1 will be answered after the station using Tx2)
- When you receive a message (TxN) you shall ALWAYS reply with the next message (TxN+1). For example if you receive Tx2 you are supposed to answer with Tx3 and so on.
- A QSO is complete when one station has received "Calls + "RRR"
- If a station already is in QSO, do NOT call on the same frequency (exception for MSK144 and JT6M). This will probably only result in QRM and delay everything and you might lose your chance to work the station. (Personally I will not work the station calling me on top of the station I'm trying to complete with. The station making this kind of QRM will be given a 24 hour "cool down" period.)
- If the station is calling CQ you can take a chance and reply on the same frequency, but the chances are better if you pick a frequency +-500Hz or more. During big openings NEVER call on the same frequency as you will drown in the competition (even if you are QRO propagation might not be optimal for just your path!)
- As JT65 is a very slow and time consuming mode, please avoid repeat QSO's. = NO DUPES!
- If/when you have received RR73 or 73, please do not block the other station by sending 73 (or anything stupid like your rig info or a QSL request)
- If you don't hear anything for some time during a QSO keep going for at least10 minutes before you throw in the towel. There is something called QSB as well as QRM.
- Last but not least: If you transmit EASTBOUND you TRANSMIT 1ST (even) PERIOD and WESTBOUND you TRANSMIT 2ND (odd) PERIOD. Anything else will reduce your chances to work DX as you will both be blocked by local QRM and produce QRM locally. You will also transmit on the same period as your DX, which of course is not the smartest option. Hopefully our band plan will be shaped up to handle this kind of QRM in the near future.