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FT8 Activation


#1

Earlier today I saw the moderator’s announcement on the FT8 sarcasm.

I have to confess that I did most of my QSOs with FT8 when activating. I actually use FT8 to secure 4 QSOs first, so that the activation would be eligible for counting points, before switching to SSB for phone.

Some of the SOTA people or “hard core” hams might consider this is cheating to so degree, but please allow me to share some of my perspectives.

Some of my fellow hams in Taiwan still has misconception that FT8 communication is carried out via internet, but it’s not. Internet is for time synchronization, the signal is transmitted “in the air” entirely. In fact, I use GPS to sync my Raspberry Pi’s clock instead of internet, since I don’t always get cellphone reception when activating. That being said, I think we should still recognize FT8 as legitimate QSO method. FT8 allows contacts to be made with even weaker signal than CW does.

I know and respect that CW is kind of “Jedi Art” in amateur radio. I am a patient of Parkinson ‘s disease, so for me it is more difficult to master CW, but I am working on it, hopefully I will be able to do CW QSO before the end this summer.

Anyway, I hope I will see you on the air on CW, FT8 and SSB soon!

De BU2EQ


#2

Willis,

FT8 is a valid mode - just ignore the naysayers!

I was looking for you yesterday and saw a couple of decodes from you. When I started calling, your signal disappeared, so no contact - such is life. The prediction charts were suggesting 17 m might have been better at the time. Nothing heard on SSB.

Keep at it. Have fun with radio in the outdoors, as you obviously enjoy it. Perhaps one day we will make a contact, even S2S…

Peter VK3PF


#3

Peter,

I did hear your call yesterday at -21 db. I tried to response but no luck either, maybe next time!

Sincerely,

Willis


#4

, I use GPS to sync my Raspberry Pi’s clock instead of internet

Hat tip for using a Pi in the field! I couldn’t quite convince myself that my RP3 was fast enough to cope with WSJT-X where it was decoding more than about five signals at once, I ended up a whole period behind by the time it decoded and I selected the CQ to answer, but good for you!

we should still recognize FT8 as legitimate QSO method. FT8 allows contacts to be made with even weaker signal than CW does

I can see the attraction of the man melding with the machine side of things with CW, but I have never understood why CW gets so much more love than digital modes that can work even further into the noise. Having to wrangle a computer in the field is tiresome, but learning Morse is no great fun IMO


#5

Wrangling with a computer in the field is indeed highly tiresome - but rewarding once you get it all working smoothly.

CW is fun. Both the operating with it - and learning of it (if you adopt a decent approach) - are very rewarding.


#6

I think RP3 is fast enough for WSJT-X. At home base station I use one (RP3 model B) with my IC-7300, no problem even with 20+ simultaneous decodes. My SOTA go-box is equipped with a model B+, which is slightly faster.

I agree with @M1EYP that learning CW is fun, that’s why I am still getting to it. I think I will be ready for CW activation in June or July, I would be appreciated if there are patient chasers, I mean 10 wpm patience.


#7

Yes, there are.

I did my first CW SOTA activation at 10wpm and worked loads of chasers, all of whom were great.


#8

Hi Willis,
I too heard/saw you on FT8 but antenna issues (now fixed) prevented me from calling back.

Do not be discouraged by the criticizing people. If they had their way we would all still be using candles for home lighting.

I will keep an eye on SotaWatch for your next FT8 outing.

73
Ron
VK3AFW


#9

With my Pi3, it’s not so much that it can’t do it at all, it is latency. It seems I can’t hit reply and get out on the cycle after decoding. Say you TX on FT8 even cycle 0, on my main PC I can see a CQ and click it, most of the time I go out on cycle 1 (when the station is listening). With my Pi set to fast decode, I still tend to miss cycle 1, so I have to also miss cycle 2, and can only go out on cycle 3. I can hear from the signal audio pattern that the Pi is slower to actually decode.

May be different for an activator originating the signal, so what if you miss the chaser on cycle 1 for you to TX on cycle 2, they will probably still be listening on cycle 4. I’d be interested to know if you can get back to people in the cycle immediately after detecting a CQ or answer, perhaps I have something set wrong


#10

I haven’t have any issue like you do, do you have a model B?


#11

I just put up an alert for this afternoon. Majority of my actvations have been using ssb on 20 meters, but lately I have been bringing the computer with me because I have found ft8 ( and jt65 beofore that) to be more reliable, when propacgation is poor or cell phone data connction is marginal. The clock in my laptop is sufficiently stable so that I do not have to sync it on the summit. I am using Acer spin laptop running Ubuntu 18.4.


#12

Willis,

I am an FT8 Sota Chaser and looking forward to the day I see you on my screen and make contact. I use FT8 mainly for 144mhz 50mhz & Sota when I can see an FT8 spot. I occasionally use CW but mainly SSB these days. Looking forward to working you one day.

73’ Don GW0PLP IO72


#13

Sarcastic comments on FT8 will lead to a ban from the Reflector.
However, sarcastic comments on people who do not use FT8 seem all right.
That’s confusing.


#15

Hi Pom,

Please read my post again, carefully. I don’t see how you could think I was being sarcastic towards people who do not use FT8. I was being disparaging of people who attack others who try something new.

73
Ron
VK3AFW


#16

Simple philosophy. “Do what you want to do”

Any form of ham radio is fine, its ham radio and it probably keeps the hobby alive. Easy to slag off other ops which is the norm for society these days.

I’m a mainly HF ssb op but accept there are many modes we can use. Each unto their own!


#17

I love digital data. Ever since I was 15 and tried getting a Commodore VIC 20 tape to load up across two CB radios across my bedroom. It didnt work!. But 37 years later I still get excited when I can send a small number of text character’s a couple of miles down the road using a using a raspberry pi and a baofeng hand held with a few resistors transformers and a transistor in between. I want to build a raspberry pi FT8 transciver using the pins and a pass filter. Doing SOTA with 0.1 watts would be great fun. Might not work but that never stopped me before! !!!


#18

I will attempt a FT8 activation this morning on 30m.


#19

The band is open to VK.


#20

Yep. What is good for the Goose is not good for the Gander…apparently.

Pete
WA7JTM


#21

What frequency?
I’ll chase ya