A short while ago I was calling CQ using JT65-HF on 40m when I noticed a trace right at the edge of my screen – VK6BN was calling CQ. I tried to call him but he was right on the edge of my passband and started working someone else. I retuned my radio and when he finished that QSO I called him, not expecting a reply. My transmission consisted of:
VK6BN G6NHU JO01
Up came the tones of a reply. JT65-HF consists of periods of transmission of 47 seconds long and you have no idea what they contain until the transmission period is over and the software decodes it. Those 47 seconds seemed like a lifetime as I watched the trace go down the screen.
On my screen I saw:
G6NHU VK6BN -18
He’d heard me and replied with a -18 signal report. Not too strong but far from the weakest I’ve had back.
I quickly hit the button to select my text:
VK6BN G6NHU -12
Once that was sent there was another 47 second wait – Had he received my transmission or would I get his signal report back again to indicate that he didn’t receive me?
G6NHU VK6BN 73
He’d got it! The QSO was complete. All that remained was for me to sign off in the same way.
VK6BN G6NHU 73
Despite having had WSPR signals go as far as Australia recently, I’ve never managed two way communication before. It’s not voice but it’s a meaningful exchange of callsigns, locators and signal reports. It’s a QSO.
I’ve done some calculation and since getting my licence it’s taken 28 years, 4 months and 22 days for me to work into Australia. Of course, I wasn’t active on HF until last summer so it’s only been 6 months and 6 days since my first HF QSO using the long wire.
To say I’m pleased would be an understatement!