En Modo Digital
Bill got his ticket back in the day when every ham wanted to run a kilowatt into a hefty beam hoisted up at least 100 feet. Hey, it's still a wonderful dream - but for Bill and those hams like him, who live in "the suburbs" it is ONLY a dream.
So: how has Bill found happiness setting down to business with a little 100 watt transceiver, and his tiny stub of an antenna?
The answer, my friends, is that he has discovered the new DIGITAL modes. Any ham who reads, with an SSB transceiver and a computer, can run them. Bill ordered out a Tigertronics SignaLink USB interface, and was making psk31 contacts the same day that it arrived!
Digital modes are the great equalizer in today's ham radio. You don't need a KW of power to be heard - 25 watts is plenty. Big antennas are still great, but whatever you happen to have will let you play. It is just ASTOUNDING how digital modes will cut through QRM and QSB, just like - even better than - CW. They will let a "little pistol" station stand right alongside the "big guns" of the hobby, and still enjoy the experience.
Diving into the RF pool with your 25 watts and coming up with a new state or country is good for the soul!
Bill still uses an old copy of MixW, but you might as well download a copy of free Airlink Express ( and start with psk31), for a painless introduction into the digital modes.
Activity does seems to shift from band to band - so just check around and see which watering hole the group is using at the moment. It's a friendly community, and you will be welcomed into it.
Digital is real ham radio - just like CW and phone. I know that if you check it out, you will find that it is in the best tradition of the hobby, and that it will grow on you.