CEPT and FT8 - operating procedure

Hello everybody,
this is my first attempt to post here, so I hope I have done everything correctly…
I am plannnig two activations in Devon and Cornwall in May during our holidays, CW first and then FT8, which I have not done from a summit yet. Equipment is up and running, and with the newest version of WSJT-X 2.0.1 I did test QSOs dummyload to dummyload.
I have read everything I could find on operating procedures for FT8 and have run into a new challenge caused by the use of my CEPT callsign.
Since my call will be “M/DF6XP/P” according to CEPT rules, it will be hashed, and I will not be able to call “CQ SOTA M/DF6XP/P”, but “CQ M/DF6XP/P”.
Also, I cannot send a report or RR73 with the SOTA reference.
So, what I have planned to do is call CQ conducting the QSOs (if I get responses, hi) in auto sequencing mode and AFTER the QSO send a free text message “G-DC001 DF6XP” which uses the maximum of 13 characters. Also, I will omit the slash “/” as I understand it can cause decoding problems.
The holidays are planned from May 11th until May 25th, the activations will happen according to wx condx, and I will announce and spot the activities.
I am very interested in your feedback and hints - thank you in advance!
Vy 73


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Hi Joe

That’s what I do - normal auto sequenced WSJT-X FT8 QSO using M1EYP/P call sign, then after the other station’s 73 message. I send the reference as a free text message eg “G/SP-015”. No problems with the /.

Then go back to sending CQ again, leading to more auto sequenced QSOs.

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Well Done Joe.
I do hope read you on the screen.


Thank you very much, Tom and Roger! So that is how I will try to operate. My thoughts on sending my call in the free text, instead of “SOTA”, were intended so that the sender could be identified. Chasers, I presume, recognize the summit reference as SOTA anyhow. Again, I appreciate your comments! Hope to hear/work you from G/DC and best 73!

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As an addendum to your helpful hints: I went up High Willhays during our holidays in May and everything worked just fine. (Short report on my blog). I think, that after working the chasers in CW, FT8 was a good opportunity for those who could not hear my signals.
As proof for that I had the pleasure of working you both in FT8, Tom and Roger, on 7th and 24th of June respectively.
In Tom’s case I could hear your CQ in CW, but since there was slow QSB, I could not hear you any more after I called, that is, if you heard me. So after you changed to FT8 we had our QSO at an reception level of -8 dB on my side.
In Roger’s case: I only heard and worked you in FT8 at -09 dB and received your “SOTA F/CR-142” afterwards.
This, to me, is a strong argument to take the additional trouble to take FT8 up to the summits in order to work chasers who, like me, are located in the proverbial valley with only a short piece of wire.
Vy 73s and looking forward to our next contacts,

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Could not get the free text section on WSJT-X to accept and stick with “W2/NJ-009 N2YTF”. Is there a secret or some special tweak?

Also, is there some way to have the CQ be “W2/NJ-009 N2YTF” ? My setup would only allow “SOTA N2YTF”

Tom, N2YTF


The User Guide helps: Section 7.2 in particular says:
" 7.2. Free-Text Messages
Users often add some friendly chit-chat at the end of a QSO. Free-format messages such as “TNX ROBERT 73” or “5W VERT 73 GL” are supported, up to a maximum of 13 characters, including spaces. In general you should avoid the character / in free-text messages, as the program may then try to interpret your construction as part of a compound callsign. It should be obvious that the JT4, JT9, and JT65 protocols are not designed or well suited for extensive conversations or rag-chewing."

Your message exceeds the 13 character limit!

My suggestion would be to simply stay on the same transmit frequency and send the summit reference without your callsign, as can be seen in the screen shot sent above from Roger F5LKW. The person at the other end should be able to see your message and put it all together.

Good luck!

Peter VK3PF

I agree with Peter. Roger F5LKW and I have been using the formats in the screenshot above with good success for many activations now. I have experimented with other variations to the approach, but the one above is definitely best, and most of not all people seem to understand what is going on.

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Just a little addon: if you in your own country you can edit the last line in WSJT-X to
but outside of your country