A NEW FT8 with QSO and Rag Chew capabilities called FT8CALL

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by NN2X, Aug 12, 2018.

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  1. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Meh... until we get out of the minimum, and comms become easier, I predict FT8Call is going to absolutely kill everything else for DX. It's just turned a great many modes into a novelty.
  2. WH6FQE

    WH6FQE Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I attempted to log one as FT8 in QRZ and the other person rejected it, so I'm not logging any more of the FT8CALL QSO's until the logbooks have FT8CALL as an option.
  3. WH6FQE

    WH6FQE Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    How did you log yours as FT8CALL in QRZ? I do not see that option and when I logged it as FT8 the other operator rejected it so I erased the entry and stopped logging them at all.
  4. WH6FQE

    WH6FQE Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am noticing the same thing here in Hawaii, I am seeing some real possibilities for serious EmComm work using FT8CALL to pass traffic in situations where less than perfect antennas and poor propagation are the only things we have to work with. By being able to use low power to get the message out, it will be perfect for off-grid battery backup situations.
    LB9YH, KN4CRD and W0FW like this.
  5. WH6FQE

    WH6FQE Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Exactly. I have not been able to make a single digital contact all year from Hawaii other than with FT8 and FT8CALL. With the way propagation is right now, FT8 and derivatives of it are the wave of the foreseeable future.
  6. W0FW

    W0FW Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is EXACTLY the point of FT8Call. ^^^^^^^^^ It was not intended to be "FT8 with ragchew" like it's being called in recent articles and YouTube videos.
    WH6FQE likes this.
  7. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm in Korea (HL1ZIX), and work people on SSB to Hawaii, this year. I'd have to think we could make a digital non-FT8Call contact with Olivia or at worst DominoExMicro or Thor Micro, should you wish to try 20m. Mail sent.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
    WH6FQE likes this.
  8. WH6FQE

    WH6FQE Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the THOR QSO, first time I was able to get a contact with that, even with the lousy conditions tonight.
  9. N0AN

    N0AN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    A very interesting derivative mode. I've played with it a bit and have a few observations:

    If the goal was to have a conversational tool while maintaining high performance in terms of SNR, the software meets it goal sort of. Why "sort of" ?

    The throughput is so very low, that I don't know how anyone could define what takes place as "an actual"conversation". When it takes 4 to 6 or more consecutive 15 sec. sequences to send a single short sentence, calling that even half of a conversation is a bit generous, don't you think? Therein lies the problem. It seems that one cannot have the throughput required for a "real" conversation at the low SNRs that software is trying to handle. You can't have both, without one or the other suffering. In this case, it's throughput.

    I call what happens at the speed of PSK31 or RTTY, "conversation". What happens with FT8CALL, would be accurately described as "tedious" at best. If you want to DX, (but not chat), FT8 as it is, works much better. If you want to chat, PSK31 if far superior.

    If you want both....well....you can' t get there from here with FT8CALL

    I'm confused. If you can't carry on a "conversation" at more than sloth speed, then what's the point in "talking"? The rate of information exchange would test the patience of Job. One could argue that at least it's not a machine talking to a machine, but that is hardly a fitting definition of "conversation" between people.

    What is the real purpose of this mode? It can't be timely information exchange, and if it's DX, there are other existing modes (FT8 et al) that do a far better job.

    What I see as a bottom line for this mode as currently configured:

    To achieve the longest distance with the weakest signal, (without regard to throughput) that maintains free form text capability (loosely called a conversation)

    We get long distances (as it retains FT8 SNR), we get free form exchange, which FT8 can't easily provide. Yet, to call it a "conversational" tool, strains credulity, unless

    1. one cannot type or;
    2. one can only hunt and peck or;
    3. has only one hand or;
    4. is otherwise impaired.

    So, one could argue that the design goals are being met, but the mode is not for me, because of my impatience.

    On the positive side:

    The feature set of the mode is impressive, and I'm sure will get even better. The front end is well designed. Installation is simple and the layout keeps a healthy amount of the WSJT-X Suite look. SNR performance is quite good. If one doesn't mind slow, really slow, throughput, it could be a perfect fit.


    It does what it says or claims, but so slowly as to potentially defeat what appears to be the purpose of the mode. (an "actual" conversation)

    I'll leave it installed, and continue to play now and then, as well as watch its development.

    It is a curious mode that attempts to reconcile low SNR performance and "Conversational" capabilities. From here, it looks like that is going to be a real struggle, as actual throughput appears to severely limit meaningful information exchange.

    Have fun and good luck with the project!

    73, Hasan, N0AN
    VK3AMA likes this.
  10. LA6VQ

    LA6VQ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, if it was an FT8CALL QSO you probably should not log it as FT8, because it wasn't. And you should not be surprised that your QSO partners rejected the wrong mode. If your logging software allows registration of new modes (like HRD Logbook), you could register the FT8CALL QSOs with the new mode code. However, you should not upload anything anywhere until a formal ADIF definition has been approved and the various web-based logbooks (LoTW, QRZ.com, eQSL.cc, HRDLog, etc.) has updated their software to understand what the new mode code is telling them. Until then you will either receive no matches, or you will get a match for the incorrect mode you and your QSO partners upload, which is obviously not OK.

    If you guessed wrong when you defined the new mode for your logging software, you will have to edit your logged mode code in your log to the approved ADIF code before you upload anywhere.

    You should just keep working FT8CALL, and you can log the new mode any way you like, but there is no reason to hurry any uploads, as ADIF is used by "all" logging software and web-based logbooks, and nobody will receive any matches until the ADIF code is formally defined and in use. That will probably not happen until some time after the general release of FT8CALL, if last year's process for defining FT8 as the ADIF code is typical. Be patient, and get it right from the beginning.

    73 Frode LA6VQ
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018

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