First Digital-Mode QSO!

Tonight I made my first digital-mode contact! Using PSK-31, I worked special event station VE3FRST (“UN International Year of Forests”) on 40 meters. Michael, VE3NOO, kindly emailed me this screenshot of the moment:

A few things had me fumbling around, but over the next few contacts I started to get the hang of it. After VE3FRST I went on to work another station in Ontario, one in Alabama, and one in France with PSK-31 before retreating to my key and working Costa Rica with CW.

I highly recommend the DigiMaster PRO PLUS! It comes with a USB soundcard and was very easy to hook up and get going with Ham Radio Deluxe/Digital Master 780. It performs both as a CAT interface and as a data interface, and works great.

I learned the hard way that not all CAT cables are worth buying. Buy cheap, and you’ll buy twice like I did. My first one was a cheap cable from “affordableradio” on ebay. It uses the Prolific chipset for the serial-to-USB interface. Stay away from Prolific! The only thing prolific about it was the prolific number of spontaneous disconnections and “Blue Screen of Death” crashes. I tried everything — every driver I could get my hands on, I/O buffer adjustments, etc. but it was junk. I couldn’t bring myself to sell it to another ham, so I returned it. No refund yet, but here’s hoping.



Filed under Digital Modes

4 responses to “First Digital-Mode QSO!

  1. Richard

    It was good to see you on the waterfall (I was your 2nd digital QSO) and that you are having fun with the new modes. It seems rather ironic but I’m going in the opposite direction as I’m interested in learning CW and am on the hunt for a good straight key.
    73, Richard VA3VDP

    • Todd Mitchell

      Dear Richard,

      Thanks for the comment, and for the QSO! I’m glad to hear you are pursuing CW. It is well worth the effort! Keys are a matter of taste, I know, but I sure like the Nye Viking Speed-X.



  2. Richard

    I asked around some hams in the Kingston area if they had a straight key and coincidently Bill VE3CLQ gave me a Chrome Speed-X (rectangular base) to learn on. He must have read your comment HI HI.

  3. Todd Mitchell

    Excellent, Richard! Here’s hoping I hear you on the air with that key. If you ever want to set up a sked, just let me know.


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