I have been busy setting-up
Just a brief update on what has kept me from writing here. After receiving the Amateur Radio licence from the authorities the next step was to buy radio equipment. I opted for the Elecraft KX3 transceiver with the optional PX3 panadapter. When this equipment finally arrived the next phase was to set-up the radio station. The antenna had already been installed on the roof so nothing more to do externally. The work was mostly cables and menu settings, options on the radio and transmission tests.
After the initial radio station set-up then came the added configuration for digital modes. What equipment is not connected to a computer these days? No exception here, the radio is connected to the laptop and using software for Amateur Radio Weak-Signal Communication; Ham Radio Deluxe for rig control and logging as well as WSJT-X and JTAlert for transmitting and receiving in various digital modes such as FT8. In the past years when I was operating there were no computers apart from decoding peripherals for RTTY (radio teletype) or AMTOR (amateur telex over radio). Today there is a huge choice in compatible software for various modes. Getting familiar with the new digital ways of working has been interesting and sometimes frustrating due to the complexities of options and configurations. However, I finally got things working ok in digital FT8 mode and managed some regional contacts and some a little farther away. Interesting to note that these contacts were achieved with low power transmitting 10 Watts only; South Africa, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, USA, just to name a few. Using low power in digital mode is challenging it requires patience. Well, as my wife would say it keeps me off the streets and my neurons working especially as there is still a considerable learning curve to this. Lots more fun to be had with this hobby.