Tuesday, 4 November 2008

FT-950 Back On The Air

It's been a few months since I've fired up the FT-950. Got it dusted off and moved back to the shack. The last time it was used was at the MARG Field Day at the Long Island Marina in Kars. It's hard to forget how great the receiver is in the 950.

Late this afternoon I worked TK5IH in Corsica and ZP8AE in Paraguay, on PSK, with 589 and 599 reports using 20 watts to the Cushcraft R6000. Earlier in the day using the 'old' FT-100, I worked Maria, SA2YLM on 20 meters. 17 meters opened just after lunch for a short time and managed to snag a few Europeans with great 5NN reports.

The nice 'width' feature of the FT-950 allows me to narrow down the passband and get rid of high powered stations close to the DX that I want to work. The HRD* waterfall below shows the passband with many signals.

The HRD* waterfall below shows no signals, on either side of the received psk track. This eliminates desensing of the receiver by narrowing the passband so strong signals on either side of the track being decoded dissapear. The FT-950 can also notch out a signal on either side of the decoded signal.

I use Ham Radio Deluxe as control software and Digital Master 780 for digital modes. I find it is one of the most intuitive ham software suites. It keeps track of my logs and can be used for just about any digital mode now current on the amateur bands. There's an excellent satellite tracking module included. Simon Brown, HB9DRV, is continually adding features and tweaking the software. The Ham Radio Deluxe forums are a repository of information pertaining to any subject about digital modes and how to connect Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood, and just about any transceiver to sound card interfaces and to your shack computer. HRD works with Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Some PSK tips:
In PSK modes use UPPER CASE characters sparingly. Lower case text in PSK31 varicode transmits fewer bits of data. You'll increase transmit speed and improve the likelihood of proper decoding on the other end by using lower case text as much as possible. (For example, the difference between a lowercase “e” (11) and an uppercase “E” (1110111) is three times more bits.)

*Ham Radio Deluxe


VA3MPM said...

Hi Bob. Nice Blog!

Thanks for the AWH link.

I've Just purchached the ft-2000 and

the AWH works well.

VE3MPG - Bob Baillargeon said...

Thanks Mike for the comments. Can't wait to see what the author is going to do with AWH in the coming months - should be very interesting.