Working VK for the first time – For real

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:


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:


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:


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?


He’d got it!  The QSO was complete.  All that remained was for me to sign off in the same way.


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!



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  1. Congratulations, what a excitement! It was my first to Australia as well with JT65A.
    73, Bas

  2. I was bouncing off the walls for hours afterwards, Bas 🙂

  3. Congratulations on the VK contact – great stuff.


  4. Good stuff. I managed into VK9 Lord Howe about 6? years ago one morning when still a 2E on 50W into a G5RV full sized – lovely qso for about 5 mins. Still shake the head over that one, just always shows the wonder of HF.

  5. Hi I really like your site, its excellent. But I just noticed above that technically this is not a complete contact as no one has confirmed that the signal reports were received, with an R or RRR transmission ? I could give you a contact on 10m JT65 later if you were interested.

    1. Hi Leigh,

      The blog entry was done by memory, all the details were passed correctly during the QSO – In fact it’s not possible to send the exchange I mentioned, the “VK6BN G6NHU -12” because it’s more than the 13 characters allowed in the freeform text field so I had to have sent R-12 using the macro keys and I know there was an RRR there because I remember seeing it and it was at that point I started doing cartwheels around the room!

      If you look at the QSO screenshot in the post here you’ll see I worked Alan again.

      I’d love a 10m JT65 sked sometime.


  6. Great fun. I well remember my one and only two way to VK back in 1984. I did it with a dubious doublet on 20 metres, tube only rig (Yaesu FT200), on the morse key. My counterpart, a guy called ‘Adolf’ sent me back a 599. He was probably giving me a contest style 5nn, but I don’t care, he heard my call in a pile up and confirmed he had my call, report and qth. I was overjoyed. That was my only ever report into VK until last night when I installed WSPR, which brought me THREE reports in an hour and a half with two watts to a mobile whip stuck in a tree at the new house. Amazing.

    The only other contact to give me such excitement was when I received a confirmation from a morse robot on a Russian satellite, RS7, way back about 1990. That was an achievement too.

    73s de Tony G0BZB

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