I’ve read up on the various digital modes over the past few months. This is outside RTTY, which at least to me doesn’t seem like a digital mode due to my original experience with actual teletype machines and my homebrew decoder. I’ve also tried a few different digital mode software applications in my Windows-based ham shack. However, until this weekend I hadn’t been successful in any modes outside PSK and RTTY.

This time I saw that the Feld-Hell Sprint was happening, set up the software, sought out the 20 meter frequencies and not only successfully decoded a few signals but made my first QSO! It’s a fascinating mode, having begun in 1927, and still being used today. There were a number of very low level signals that I could just barely decipher on the screen. I used MixW as the software. My one and only QSO was with VE7HBS and I received a 595. Not sure if that last 5 was due to some overdrive on the transmission or what. But it was a successful QSO!

I will try this mode again. However, even during the 24-hours of the contest there weren’t too many signals on the air. Even so, it was fun to try a different and historic mode.

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Freelance writer and active Scouting volunteer. Retired publishing and communication executive who writes for fun and to finance his hobby, amateur radio.

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