PSK is up and running….for real this time!!

1st PSK QSO with K5ZG
I want to thank all those who posted comments and emailed me direct to help my PSK journey along the road to success. Today I sat down and read all the comments and considered the feedback which helped me  get a plan going so I could be on the air with PSK. So what was wrong....well the good old Elecraft K3 was for some reason not set up the way I thought it was. I went back into the manual to see what the recommended settings were. The K3 when in DATA A mode (which is the mode that is recommended for PSK) the Line out to the Tigertronics Signalink is not taken from the MIC but the rear LINE OUT on the K3. That was the first problem it was not. I am sure I selected LINE OUT rear panel....but the menu does not lie!!! it was set to
fldigi and KI4BIY
something else. So that was changed and I gave some PSKing a go.... but still nothing!!! So it was back to the K3 settings again, this time I had to check to make sure DATA A was set to DATA A.  I thought it had to be as  the LED readout on the K3 reads "DATA A". I checked and DATA A was set to PSK D what ever that is  so I set DATA A to DATA A. It was then that things seemed to be looking up. I saw a station (K5ZG) calling CQ on the waterfall, I gave him a call and he came back to me!!! SUCCESS I made my first QSO on PSk but the QSO was not complete as QRM and the band conditions were changing and he faded away before the QSO was completed. I then closed down DM780 and opened up Fldigi to see how that worked. It was about 20 min's or so later I made contact
My PSK reports with 5 watts
with KI4BIY. The problem here was not the band conditions or the contact but I was using Fldigi and had NO macros setup. So it was live PSKing but I  was able to have a very nice QSO. This gave me the confidence the program was now working. There is one question I still have, when I transmit my output power can start off at 5 watts but as the transmission progress the output can climb as high as 12 watts before leveling out. I can readjust the output and get it to stay at a steady 5 watts but it takes some adjusting and readjusting of the Signalink TX. Any thoughts on this.....is it normal or are there more adjustments to be made??
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “PSK is up and running….for real this time!!”

  • Cliff Fox KU4GW:

    The most important thing to remember on any digital mode to maintain a good clean signal is to make sure there is no deflection of the ALC meter when transmitting. Adjust your mic gain accordingly.

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good evening Cliff, thanks for stopping by the blog and taking the time for giving your input. I have decided to give up with the Signalink and go with the onboard PC to rig hookup that the K3 offers. I did that and adjusted the ALC according to Elecraft. I gave it a go on PSK31 and with the PSK reporter I was getting out and doing great. Thanks for the advice Cliff.

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