I'm now 709km away from my ham radio buddies in Sydney. Propagation is not great and my antenna, for the next few weeks, is a very poor end fed hanging out the window.
Stephen, VK2BLQ, is humouring me and we've been trying to establish digital radio communications via 40m.
We can hear each other on WSPR, best reception was -6dB. We tried Olivia 8/250, Stephen could decode me but alas, I can't decode him. Presumably the noise floor here is too high.
Now we're trying JS8call
and we had two-way communication for a short time this afternoon. The software was already in the Ubuntu software library so installation was a breeze.
The software's user interface is rather mystifying at first but after filling in your call and grid square, the trick is to wait for a call to appear on the right, click on them, enter text in the middle box (it says "TYPE YOUR OUTGOING..." and then press the Send button.
There's also a bunch of common messages in the "Directed to..." popup button.
Also, of course, you can call CQ and happily there is some activity here (unlike PSK which seems to have died).
Thanks VK2BLQ for your help with this. JS8 is more interesting to me that FT8 as you can at least have a bit of a chat with it.