I’ve been celebrating putting up a new antenna at the home QTH by giving 60m FT8 a go…
Things pretty quiet this afternoon, but managed to work a few UK and continental stations
Did note however that there are still UK stations transmitting out of band so just a quick reminder:
When transmitting on 5.357 MHz USB make sure that your transmit frequency offset is below 950Hz to ensure your transmissions are below the UK bandlet upper edge of 5.358MHz
Make sure that you have checked the “Hold Tx Freq” box so that your transmit offset doesn’t automatically set itself to the frequency of the station you’re calling, which could be out of band if it’s a continental station working within the WRC15 allocation.
I know I’m teaching egg-sucking to most on here but might be useful to anyone thinking of giving 60m FT8 a try for the first time (do - it’s great fun!)
Is 5366 - 5366.5 available within the UK bandlets on 60m - Channel 8? If so - that is the area foreseen in the IARU bandplan for the WRC15 60m band for narrow mode digital transmissions, which I think FT8/FT4 is right?
Would that avoid accidentally working out of band-let for UK Ops? Or is 5366 - 5366.5 allocated to something else in the RSGB bandlets plan?
5366 - 5366.5 is within the UK bandlet at 5362 - 5374.5 and the RSGB bandplan for that segment says:
“All modes. USB 5363kHz, 5371.5kHz. WRC-15 band to 5366.5kHz. Weak signal 5366.0 – 5366.5kHz”
So UK operators could use 5366kHz for FT8, but with the upper edge of the WRC15 band being at 5366.5 continental operators wanting to contact them would be restricted to offsets up to 450Hz. And TBH I’m not sure that I’d class FT8 as a weak signal mode. Also don’t forget that although any individual signal is no more than 25Hz wide, the mode itself can occupy a band up to about 2600Hz above the carrier frequency.
The “de facto” carrier frequency for 60m FT8 is 5357kHz, I’ve not found any operation away from there so we in the UK are stuck with being careful
OK, understood - I had thought UK channel 8 is wider, so from a UK operator’s side there was less chance of him (or her) operating out of band.
FT8 is indeed a weak signal mode as far as I understand the term - OK on the band in which the WSJT-x program operates not being neccessarily an especially narrow bandwidth though.
As you note, most people will use the pre-set frequency in the WSJTx software and assume it is OK without even thinking that they can change it or that they could operate out of bandlet. I guess the WSJT-x frequency was chosen for the WRC15 60m band and US Channel 3 without neccessarily considering the UK and how close in USB it can be to the edge of UK bandlet 7.
I activated on 60m for the first time in a very long time today. It’s never been a band I’ve particularly enjoyed for some reason, and long gone are the days when it was the prominent HF band for UK SOTA activators.
Anyway, I may now have significantly more interest in this band. There seemed to be much more CW activity on 5MHz than I recalled, plus the FT8 frequency was busy. Conversely, SSB was very disappointing and yielded just a single contact despite lots of calling and self-spotting.
It was cold and breezy on Cloud summit, so I set up on the north-eastern ledge, using the small cave as shelter. It was soon apparent that I had put the wrong pole onto my rucksack for it folded in half during set-up! I managed to improvise a solution to get the 60m dipole in the air.
It’s a pity Tom that you thought that about 60m but am glad you are warming to it [again?].
Yes, activity is still low but the more that we SOTA activators use it, the more chasers we are likely to attract [or sadly, vice versa]. It’s my second favourite band [after 30m] and I always try to alert for 60m CW if doing an HF activation. I particularly like it for its NVIS property and get a kick out of working a mixture of local, national and continental stations on the same band.
I added 60m extensions to my SOTAbeams 40/30/20 linked dipole which works great but find my 40/30/20 EFHW works almost as well [using the internal ATU in my KX2].
Tomorrow morning’s activation will be 12m, 10m and 2m. I’ll probably start out on 12m/10m looking for any early openings. I’ll switch to 2m around 0715 and see if I can RX the SSTV image from the ISS at 0757. After that I may check for FT8 activity on 2 before returning to 10 and 12, where there have been good DX openings around 0900 recently.
There are quite a few UK activators still using the traditional Fox frequencies, Tom, mainly FE and FM, my impression is more than are using the WRC band, which is understandable because there are in effect just two WRC frequencies that we can use for SSB and they are often multi-occupied. Sorry I missed you today, I was still off the air with a major re-organisation fitting in between Xmas activities, though this will have changed by the end of the evening.
I’ll look out for you in the morning Tom on 10/12m FT8. This morning on 10m I was decoding a ZL for some minutes (called but not worked) and on Xmas day I worked 3B8CW on the FT8 mode. Thanks also for the reminder about the 2m/6m MGM contest on Tuesday. I’ll take a look at that as well.
I’ve cancelled. I was amazed to emerge from my QTH to heavy snow falling and plenty on the ground. i drove out anyway, though it was seriously dicey in places with seemingly none of the main roads having been salted, and obviously not the minor ones.
I tried two approaches to Cloudside, but both foiled when my car could no longer make progress on a section of uphill slippery road. After that, I lost heart to try a third route, and came home.
So I’ve brought the 817 into the shack, connected it to my PC onto which I’ve just installed MMSSTV, and I’ll see if I can RX anything from the ISS in the next ten minutes. Kettle’s just boiled, coffee time…
Despite Paul’s warning (at the top of this thread) to UK ops not to transmit FT8 above the upper limit of the 5354-5358 UK 60m subband, using my 60Hz CW filter, I can hear 5/9+40 FT8 signals around 5358.9 and 5359.2
I can’t tell (without having FT8 mode) whether they are UK or WRC15 amateurs.
I’ve just had a quick peek and found there is a surprising amount of 60m FT8 going on at this time of night.
I could only see one UK station (the rest were EA, F or DL) who, if I understand the information on the WSJT-X window correctly was transmitting out of band at around 5.5359MHz. My dial frequency was 5.537MHz and it was showing their frequency was 1980 which I assume means approximately 2KHz above 5.537MHz.
I fear trying to police this will be an uphill struggle unless somehow WSJT-X could be modified to prevent UK users operating out of band, based on either their callsign or grid.
Probably nothing will happen unless a UK primary user complained to Ofcom about interference which is unlikely. But it would be a great pity if any existing allocation were taken away especially as the total bandwidth allocated on this excellent band is much more generous than what WRC15 users have.
As a complete aside I was receiving the FT8 signals with only half an antenna. I have a doublet antenna at my home QTH but it is only erected when needed. Tonight, half of the dipole is only about 2m above ground but the other half, the ground side, is coiled up and hanging from a fence.
It still works for reception, not sure i would risk transmitting although the tuner says it finds a match.
Yes, you are right, blame my dyslexia. 5.357 plus in this case 2KHz making I think 5.359.
But my copy of WSJT-X, which is, hopefully, the latest, does not offer a programmed 60m option so you have to manually tune to the FT8 activity, which was very obvious on the waterfall and easy to find.