One thing I like about ham radio is the variety. There are new modes to try and new things to learn all the time.
Most recently, I’ve been playing with the low power, weak signal JS8Call mode. JS8Call takes the weak signal characteristics of the JT8 mode that has taken the ham world by storm, but enables actual ragchew-style QSOs. This means that with low power, modest antennas, and poor propagation conditions, hams can have actual conversations with one another.
Last night, my friend Mike (N3LI) and I made our first-ever CW QSOs. In ham-speak, that means we chatted using Morse code.
It wasn’t fast, and we didn’t copy each other completely. But we exchanged meaningful information using a classic communication mode that is no longer a requirement for licensing but is still going strong. It was great fun, and we plan to keep practicing and plan to meet-up again next week.