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Trying different modes on 20m

This morning’s activation of The Cloud G/SP-015 was intended to allow me to try out several different modes on 20m, including some new ones. There were both resulting successes and failures.

I was awake at 0530, and QRV on the hill a couple of hours later.

20m FT8 - 1 QSO
20m SSTV - 0 QSOs
20m RTTY - 0 QSOs
20m SSB - 2 QSOs
20m JS8 - 0 QSOs
20m CW - 19 QSOs
20m PSK31 - 2 QSOs
2m FM - 2 QSOs

SSTV is confusing me a bit. All the activity is on 14.230MHz with several stations sending images at once at times. It can be almost impossible to get in and make a successful transmission of your own! But yet, as far as I can tell, nobody seems to QSY to another QRG, and every time I’ve tried that (supported by a self-spot), no-one has replied to me.

RTTY was attempted with Fldigi. I didn’t get round to transmitting because I never managed to decode any transmissions already on air. There were lots of them because of the WAE RTTY contest too. I had the 817 set to DIG mode, with that set as RTTY. But I also tried it with the rig set on USB. In Fldigi, I was set to RTTY 50 baud, but I did check out the other rates too.

No combination produced anything intelligible, so something else must not be set right. But I couldn’t solve this issue.

PSK31 via Fldigi worked perfectly, and it was particularly pleasing to be called by SOTA chaser @S57X

The next brand new mode to be tried - unsuccessfully - was JS8. I probably should have done more “reading up” on the operating protocols for this as I found it hard to tell what was going on! At one point I was called by a Swedish station, but it disappeared after I attempted to reply.

One of my SSB QSOs was S2S to EA6KB on Majorca, EA6/MA-050. CW was by far the most productive mode, and the clear highlight of the entire activation was being called and worked by @JP3DGT/3 for a S2S to JA/HG-243.

Any tips to help with my challenges on SSTV, RTTY and using JS8Call would be appreciated.


Coming soon to the Cloud Tom - new mode FST4 by Joe Taylor… still in Beta test mode I understand.

73 Phil