Today I went to the Sandy Creek CP and operated a digital portable station from inside the park. I found a great parking spot right next to a place to set up the squidpole and an EFHW on 30m. Once I worked out a few technical issues I was up and going an made two PSK31 contacts at 0720ut to VK2 and ZL! It works! I fumbled a little with my keyboard skills, but got there in the end! And thank you to those two for giving me some leeway to make mistakes! Little did the ZL station know that he is my first official ZL contact!! At this stage I got a bit excited and decided to make the leap to 40m to try for Europe.

I then put up the 40m EFHW element (at QRP I want my antenna to resonate as much as possible) and put out a few calls, but no response, even spotted myself. So after about 30 minutes calling in the middle of a contest in EA, I decided that I wan’t getting out ant went back to 30m.

And then while trying to work out why JT65 wasn’t working I noticed my earlier technical fault where the audio from the laptop wasn’t being transmitted had kicked back in, and was probably why I wasn’t heard on 40m, d’oh! I also tried a different tuning config with the L-match, which also looked like it didn’t work as I had no more contacts; about 0915ut I packed up.

What did I learn? I had a lot more fun doing digital contacts than voice. The DATA port on my FT817 is another on the list of faults with the radio. The EFHW L-match might tell the radio it had low SWR, but I don’t think that is always the case.

[img[]] //Laptop and FT-817 making up my digital station//