For some reason, I tend to avoid trying out 15 meters, but yesterday I decided to give it a shot, and it went quite well. I began by experimenting with my 39.5-meter random wire antenna in the garden. It has excellent reception, and I could hear approximately 20 Japanese stations. However, when it came to transmitting, it didn’t perform as well as expected. I thought that the higher frequency of 15 meters might compensate for its low height, but according to pskreporter, it seemed that no one was receiving my signals. While I believe I managed to make a few QSOs, I eventually wanted to move indoors. The random wire is just a temporary setup, and I have to sit outside to use it.
I switched back to using my EFHW (End-Fed Half-Wave) antenna, which still provided good reception. Being positioned at about 8 meters in height, it was much more effective for transmitting. My radio is currently set up in the kitchen, and I sit on the floor with a beanbag while operating it. I’m currently (or at least I like to think I am) in the process of designing a new workbench or shack in the garage. I’ve also been contemplating the idea of remote operation. I wanted to continue designing my garage setup, but at the same time, I was making numerous FT8 contacts with desirable DX countries. Given that I’m using a Windows laptop with the radio, an obvious solution is the Remote Desktop Connection application. I’m not sure why I didn’t try it earlier. The only thing I needed to check was the audio settings, as the default settings would route the remote computer’s audio to me, causing WSJT-X to lose access to the soundcard. However, it’s a simple fix in the options to prevent this.
With that sorted out, WSJT-X and Grid Tracker could occupy one screen while I worked on the other comfortably from my desk. WSJT-X doesn’t have all the CAT commands required, so if I needed to adjust more settings on the radio, I’d have to use another program. I’m also unsure if CAT can control everything on the FT-DX10, such as the preset option I use for digital modes. For the time being, that’s acceptable since it’s just across the house.
Last night, 15 meters, with occasional forays into 17 meters, turned out to be quite successful for me. There were instances of signal fading, and sometimes it took a while to receive a “RR73” reply from the other station, so whether or not everyone will log the QSOs depends on their perspective. Nonetheless, from my standpoint, we successfully exchanged signal reports.
I also found pskreporter not very reliable, as it would often show only two stations hearing me when I’d then get multiple replies to my CQ.