In recent months my ability to work DX on the HF bands has been utterly transformed thanks to some exciting new software for the JT65/JT9 weak signal data modes.
I have a very modest HF station now due to living in a Conservation area with antenna restrictions and can only use a ‘stealth’ antenna comprising of an ex-Army camouflaged 280′ dipole at only 2m AGL height, hidden on top of my garden fence and in bushes and trees.
Not only is my HF antenna far from ideal, but I also never use more than 50W output power to avoid any potential TVI/RFI issues with neighbours.
Needless to say that competing against other stations to work DX with my setup was difficult.
However my recent discovery of the following three complementary amateur radio software products has significantly improved my capabilities, so much so that my logbook is full of pages of US and Australian stations that I have worked daily.
The new software, all free, is:
WSJT-X by Joe Taylor K1JT. This is the primary software for simultaneous JT65/JT9 reception and transmission, CAT control etc.
JTAlert by Laurie VK3AMA. This seamlessly integrates with WSJT-X to track and monitor all your wanted DXCC, WAS, callsigns, Zones etc. and alert you to only what you want to see.
DXkeeper is a fully fledged logging programme that works with the above to manage all your QSL requirements whether they be by card, eQSL or LOTW and track your award status too.
The three software programmes together work like a dream. In the image above you can see my shack computer screen used for JT65/JT9 QSOs. All JT9 frequencies are now exactly 2 kHz higher than their JT65 cousins so on 20m the frequency pair is 14.076 MHz and 14.078 MHz.
My Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver is able to receive signals over a 4 kHz bandwidth which fully covers both of the JT65/JT9 frequencies, if you have a radio with less Rx coverage than this you can either select a single JT65 or JT9 mode or cover a smaller part of each allocation.
HF data modes and working DX easily doesn’t get any better than this.
73 de Philip G0ISW