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Datamode - FT8


It takes two to make an argument. I am merely reporting my own observations, in the hope that they will be of interest and use to other readers. It seems, however, that certain people have vested interests and resent input from anyone with an alternative point of view.

Please indicate where I have contravened the acceptable use policy? I am not aware that I have made any ad hominem remarks, but others have.



It wasn’t aimed particularly at you, Walt, just a generalised warning that the thread was in danger of running headlong into the AUP, over-argumentative!

I don’t have a dog in this race as keyboard modes make me yawn, when a digital phone mode arrives that outclasses SSB I will adopt it joyfully, but I reckon that FT8 is an unfamiliar Yaesu rig!:wink:


Hi Ed,

My Telstra branded Smart Phone has a more sensitive rx - purchased because of that but you are right in that a lower performance phone is common. The problem I see with using a phone for a PDA and any keyboard operation is the on screen keyboard is too small. I bought a pocket sized PDA from Hewlett Packard around 1980. The screen wasn’t very bright but otherwise it was brilliant. 15 years ago Nokia brought out a clam shell design of phone. Opened up to reveal a larger screen and a keyboard. Good phone, very good PDA. Modern designs are biased toward light weigh and slim cases. If the case were a little over twice as thick a very usable keyboard could be fitted. Much more use to me than a forward facing camera.

Oh gosh, I’m whinging and I’m a VK.



Hi Andy,
Good comments. When trendiness forbids having a proper keyboard there will be problems for programmers and users. My gripe is that the poke and swear keyboard is really better suited to a toy than a professional accessory. As in my comment to Ed, it’s not as if there haven’t been some excellent solutions to this in the past.

FT8 is written to be used on a laptop or larger computer. Joe and his team have other fish to fry so different GUI’s and smart phone applications are for others to do. Some people are running it on Raspberry Pies but they had to cook their own.

FT8 rc3 reflects the decisions made by the writers after a lot of feedback from users around the world… There are at least two Yahoo based discussion groups where people can ask for features, changes to button operations etc and perhaps more importantly, ask for help in getting it working.

The new release of FT8 will be in a non-beta package and is due out any day now.

The wise will update to that and learn how to use it. Those who do not update may find that they are not decoded as well and do not decode others as well when signals are weak or there is interference.



This is probably a dumb question, but if a SOTA FT8 activator spotted themselves on SOTAwatch, is there any reason they couldn’t transmit on 14.065 (if it was clear) to make it easy for chasers to find him?

73, Barry N1EU


How do you know? The new release has not come out yet, so you are only guessing about its performance potential.
I really think it is time for you to get off this hobby-horse and heed the advice of the moderator. People have the freedom to choose the version they feel happiest with, and do not need to be accused of being “silly”, “argumentative” or “unwise”.

Walt (G3NYY)


Hi Barry,

I can only speak for IARU Region 1, which includes Europe. Legally, there is no reason that people couldn’t do as you suggest. However, the voluntary IARU Bandplan states that 14.000 to 14.070 is for CW (telegraphy) only, so you would be in breach of the Bandplan. The frequencies around 14.060 - 14.065 are used mainly for QRP CW, so you would probably be unwelcome if you opened up on data modes there.

Walt (G3NYY)


Hi Walt,
while different RC versions suit different people’s way of operating, the generally accepted rule in software development is that all Alpha, Beta and Release Candidate versions of a program are removed and replaced by the full version once it is released.

So we’ll need to wait and see what WSJT-x v 1.80 (non RC) is like. We can always ask for changes in version 1.81 or 1.90 whichever is the next one.

73 Ed.


Yes, Ed, but that does not mean there is any compulsion for individual users to update to the newest version, unless they choose to do so. For example, I and hundreds of thousands of other end users have chosen to stick with Windows 7, even though it has been superseded by Windows 8 and Windows 10 for years.

As you say … “wait and see”. That is my point exactly.

Walt (G3NYY)


Which I discovered last night during the Scandinavian 50MHz contest when many stations were using JT6M - which does not exist in WSJT-X so I had to revert to WSJT vanilla version to operate (similarly FSK441 and the JT65 variants have gone and we are left with just a single JT65 / JT9 version - but I believe the WSJT-X software is clever enough to know what’s what with JT65!).

Using the very latest bell & whistle equipped version may not be all that sensible as things stand right now.


worked F4HTQ FT8 30m on a SOTA summit today - my first - but have not got a clue which summit!




Wow! I hadn’t noticed that FSK441 has gone. (MSK144 is still there, though). I’m glad I have retained the installation files for all the earlier versions!

I have given .rc3 another chance this evening. Once I have come to accept the need to constantly be holding down the Ctrl key, it’s OK - I suppose. It does not seem to dig any deeper for weak signals than .rc2. (The minimum signal level on both seems to be -24 dB). However, I think it may be slightly better at decoding signals through QRM. Hard to tell … the difference is marginal if there is any at all. It is certainly no worse.

As you say, things are very much in a state of flux at the moment. Use what works best for you!

Walt (G3NYY)


So you need something to distort the signal. That excellent chap Dave Freese W1HKJ, the author of fldigi, has a program you can use to simulate ionospheric effects.

Download these files from http://www.w1hkj.com/files/test_suite/ (Win/Linux/Mac)


Save your FT8 signal as a wav file. Then feed it through linsim to distort. Then play the wav back and see if FT8 can decode it. Simples.


Can you tell from the Grid Square sent (or is that too large an area?).

Did he not send the SOTA reference in the free text message?

These are the kinds of things that we need to work out if we want to use FT-8 from a summit.

73 Ed.


From the LoTW confirmation I have just received, I got the location as JN25UE. However that is his home location according to QRZ.

The easiest way to record the SOTA summit would be using the comments field in the WSJT-X logbook - which of course can be uploaded to eQSL/QRZ logbooks. - however I assume that not everyone uses these




He should set up a new location in LoTW for each SOTA summit.
How many people are uploading SOTA contacts to LoTW?


Here’s a proposed message sequence when activating, with ref ID sent at the end as shown. Is this workable or too non-standard? Other option is to omit xmsn of the SOTA ref and just send standard 73.

“SOTA” msg won’t work for 3 character associations since there will be 14 chars, perhaps “REF W4V/BR020”, but that’s less understandable, especially to non-SOTA callers. Maybe we just drop sending the ref.

tx: CQ N1EU FN32
rx: N1EU SP5DL KO02
tx: SP5DL N1EU -15
rx: N1EU SP5DL R-20
rx: N1EU SP5DL 73
tx:SOTA W2/GC010
rx: (listen for potential new chaser calling)
tx:CQ N1EU FN32



If something is just my opinion I qualify it as such. Other information is from reliable sources, in this case from a member of the development group.

Oh and please stop assuming I am having a personal whack at you.



Getting back on topic a bit, how much interest is there in an Android variant of WSJT-X?

I posted a similar query with an offer to undertake it on wsjt-devel about a week ago and heard… crickets(actually I did get one direct reply from someone who said there wouldn’t be any interest, he was right).

I’m a software engineer by trade with a background in native android development so I’ve got a reasonable idea of what’s involved. The actual algorithms are written in Fortran which makes things pretty tricky but my initial investigation is that it should be do-able. Most android devices support the needed hardware or support USB OTG cables for using compact audio devices.

However to do this right it’s going to be at least a few months of effort. I’m willing to put in the time if there’s a community around it but it’s hard to tell how much interest there actually is out there. This would be something that’s mobile-operation oriented, potentially even with a SOTA mode(since the activator is the only one needing to call out the summit).

Anyway, if there’s enough interest I can start digging into it, otherwise I’m happy to keep playing with my new KX3 :).



If there was an android app I would use it on my Samsung Note 8.0 because it would be convenient. Otherwise I’ll just keep using my W10 notebook. There not being an Android app doesnt stop me using FT 8 when I want to on a summit.