I’ve run all three variants of FT8 ans have to say rc3 is definitely the best. Reading the release notes is highly recommended. I have no problems working “:simplex” or “split” whenever I choose and don’t understand why some find it hard. Maybe my brain is wired differently.
Most problems are operator error or operators expecting a different response to the buttons (same thing really).
The “zoo” develops because we have such a good piece of software that any fool can work DX and is there trying. The rush for rare stations causes the worst behaviour. I admit to having raised my power level to 75 W in order to complete a few contacts when the band started to fade. Except for an occasional flash from the sun, propagation is dismal, except for those using FT8.
Yesterday I ran FT8 with 3.5 W in a QRP contest. Three contacts in 1 hr. The VK’s and ZL’s mostly deemed me not worth working - not DX. ie within 3,000 km.
For SOTA JT8 may not be the best choice for sitting and calling if you are not DX. Alerting and spotting are essential. Clear channels are easier to find here below 500 Hz or above 2 kHz.
I think Ed’s idea of a radio with a powerful computer running applications. A daylight screen is the key to portable use.