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. N0AN

    N0AN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just be sure to consider that the bandwidth in question is NOT always the IF filter bandwidth. It depends on the digital mode in question.

    What you are saying about bandwidth filtering has merit if you are talking about the bandwidth of the radio IF only....however, many digital modes, including MSK144 and FT8 and JT65, JT9 work MUCH BETTER if the IF filters are set wide open..up to 5 Khz. the actual filtering is VERY, VERY narrow and is done in the software.

    It is not safe to generalize about SNR and IF Bandwidth when discussing digital modes. PSK31 benefits dramatically from IF filter narrowing. So does RTTY. FT8...not at all. JT65, JT9...not at all. In fact, performance can be worse with narrowing IF filters. Just something to keep in mind. 300 baud packet cam also benefit greatly from IF filter narrowing.

    Real issue, to me, is that each mode has its potential uses. FT8CALL is quite impressive in several areas and will certainly gain some popularity...and besides, it can be fun!

    However, the persistent over-hyping and cheer-leading that takes place is not doing this new mode any favors. It is NOT taking over the world. It is not the be all and end all of HF digital modes. PSKr counts that reflect beacons and interrogations (not actual communication from one person to another) are highly distorted and should not be used to compare popularity with FT8, which is (machine aided) person to person communication.

    ....and if I were guessing, FT8CALL will never approach the popularity of FT8...but who cares. If it floats your boat, enjoy! This isn't a race...

    FT8CALL will rise and fall on its own merits, not drum beating about "who's ahead", "whose gaining", etc. The mode has real merits. I'm comfortable appreciating them and the effort that is going into it.

    There is no "one stop shop" winner in the digital mode world. There's a lot of good stuff out there, and people will use whatever they find useful and enjoy. More power to them!

    ...and congrats to Jordan, there's some really nice work going on!

    73, N0aN
    VK3AMA, NO2Y and K2NCC like this.
  2. NN2X

    NN2X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For Hasan

    FYI, FT8CALL is in second place look below (Second most active of all the digital modes, please note it is not formally released, I can only imagine it will be that much better), meanwhile I show this technology to the National Guard, they will use it for the emergency network..Not bad for not being formally relaeased

    FT8 1153500
    FT8CALL 10296
    CW 4757
    PSK31 931
    JT9 376
    JT65 347
    PSK63 302
    SIM31 229
    PSK 80
    MSK144 61
    ROS 34
    PI4 23
    RTTY 23
    OPERA 20
    OLIVIA 10
    PSK125 7
    JT65B 4
    HELL 3
    SSTV 2
    THOR 1
    THOR11 1
    THRB 1
    MFSK16 1
    OLIVIA-8 1
  3. NO2Y

    NO2Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    What he is saying is that is PSK reporter is not an accurate indicator of usage. If one signal is reported by 20 people, does it show up as 1 or 20? From what I understand, it would show up as 20 reports. Now, if you're using software that defaults to spot to pskreporter, then you obviously get a huge number of reports....whereas if you use software like fldigi for your mode, it doesn't spot by default. So, those modes will show less activity.
    VK3AMA and K2NCC like this.
  4. NN2X

    NN2X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For NO2Y...PSK reporter, is a relative measurement, it show up when you are calling CQ, that is when it reports. WHat could happen if some is using a mode and does not call CQ, but in most cases Hams call CQ.

    Try it yourself, (If you haven't already), open up the PSK reporter, and call CQ, In any mode, and see it being recorded,


  5. NO2Y

    NO2Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's not magic. First, someone has to be listening on the frequency and reporting spots. Obviously, modes that have very defined frequencies are going to be over-represented there. Second, if the software for a mode out-of-the-box reports spots to pskreporter, then you are going to be over-represented. Third, again, if 20 people report the same cq, you have 20 reports.

    Then, let's go into the fact that, even using FLDIGI, even if you see other modes you don't decode them. You have to switch to that mode in order to decode it. It doesn't matter if he's calling CQ or not, you don't know it because you're in another mode. Again, this over-represents the JT modes.

    Remember, the spotters for all the modes are the people. It's ludicrous to believe that FT8CALL is somehow more popular than CW. But, CW is spread out over the entire digital passband and they're not using software. They can't spot each other.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  6. K2NCC

    K2NCC Ham Member QRZ Page

    They do. And can. Not most, and not at the numbers or ease of other modes, but it's definitely used.
    Attached is a screenshot of me decoding and reporting 100s of Morse code signals per hour (cwskimmer).
    With an 80k passband, which puts most typical 3k USB rigs at a disadvantage.

    Point being, I don't think there's any way to accurately tell if FT8CALL is more popular than CW. It might be. Might not (yet). FT8 certainly is.

    Listening to the radio at the moment.... dialing up and down for the last 20 minutes or so, I noticed at most 4 CW stations on 20M, anywhere on the band.
    I see at least a dozen FT8 stations all huddled in their very fine sandbox.
    Digital modes are definitely king of the airwaves, regardless of which flavor you prefer.

    Checking online logs stats, I find digi-mode users upload more often than voice or Morse code users.
    Which makes sense, as digi is already sitting at a computer and arguably more tech-savvy.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  7. NO2Y

    NO2Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think you misunderstand . First, cwskimmer is barely used. I just checked pskreporter and it's been used a whopping total of 10 times in the last week to upload spots. At least one of those times was you.


    Second, they're not using software, so they're not spotting each other. This cuts down greatly on the number of spots pskreporter gets for cw. You counted 4 CW transmissions? Scroll slower. I don't even use cw, but I guarantee you I run across at least 20 every time I scroll the passband.

    Fldigi doesn't upload spots by default. I don't know about HRD, but I assume it doesn't either. The JT modes do, so every person who is listening on the FT8 frequency is A. Hearing all the FT8 transmissions on that band and B. Reporting a spot for every single one he hears.

    So, if you call CQ on 20m and there are 20 people doing ft8, you get 20 spots. You don't get that on the other modes....so pskreporter overinflates the JT modes because of this

    Baker Island DXpedition used FT8. CW beat it out. It's debatable that FT8 is more popular it's laughable to pretend ft8call is
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  8. K2NCC

    K2NCC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nope, that screenshot was during a contest last year. But my point wasn't to declare it's popularity as much to assure users about your earlier statement that no one can/does, isn't accurate.

    Semantics. I installed the software, I enabled and setup reporting, so I am spotting, albeit with assistance.

    Comparing each other isn't valid, since we're not running identical stations. Me, just a simple wire. And I live in a terrestrial "bowl". (etc etc)
    But compare that 20 CW ops you hear to the packed FT8 window. I'd wager you'll pull up more calls in the latter any time outside a contest or special event.

    Which means the numbers are likely larger than PSKR says. I doubt it's substantial.
    I also assume most who can setup HRD can check a box along the way to report.

    I'm uneducated on that event, but were both modes used the same amount of time, number of ops, etc.?
    They might take advantage of the new-ish DXpedition Mode.

    I wouldn't bet on the first sentence. Later, I wouldn't bet on the 2nd either. Look how fast FT8 took over JT65's dominance.
    I'd wager any day of the week (again, outside of contests, etc.), there's more users on FT8 than CW and Phone combined.
    I can work 100+ people a day on FT8. I'd be hard-pressed to do so in other modes.

    Although it's not about FT8CALL, an interesting, slightly OT article from earlier this year:

    "... 2017 shows a dramatic increase in mid-2017 in the percentage of FT8 contact relative to other modes, by year’s end overtaking CW and SSB usage ..."

    FT8CALL is the answer to all the FT8 users that wanted more than a simple exchange.
    Considering how fast it's grown so far, I think it's not ludicrous at all to assume it'll grow even more.
    IMO, won't take much more usage to out-do Phone and Morse code.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  9. NO2Y

    NO2Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is accurate that they're not using software to communicate in CW. It simply is.

    Can they run software to spot? Of course. But, is it necessary to operate CW? Not at all. Only 10 people uploaded spots with Cwskimmer in the last week to pskreporter.

    So, it still stands: cw users aren't spotting each other by default. They're not even running software to communicate.

    That skews the numbers because, by default, the JT modes upload spots. It's not by default on other modes. It's especially not by default for CW because they're not running software at all in order to communicate.

    All of that is true.

    As far as Baker Island, FT8 DXpedition mode was finished up for them. Look at the docs and you see their callsign in the examples. I personally contacted them twice on FT8 and once on SSB.

    You can see their stats and see that CW dominated when compared to FT8:


    As far as FT8 trouncing CW on the bands, I would say they're reasonably close to each other....in NO way would I say that FT8 is dominating CW like the pskreporter stats would have you believe.

    Again, if all those 10 people are running CW skimmer at the time you call CQ, you get spotted 10 times. If less or none are running, you don't get spotted. However, every single FT8 user is also a spotter.

    If you call CQ on CW and get 2 spots, but call cq on ft8 and get 20 spots, that's a difference of 10 times, but it's only 1 cq
  10. K2NCC

    K2NCC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm not relying entirely on PSKR. I'm aware of (at least some of) it's faults.
    However, since responding about an hour ago, I've been monitoring FT8 and CW on 20M.
    Scanning up and down the band at the same time I'm decoding FT8, I couldn't get a dozen Morse code signals. (I'm using CW skimmer, to make up for what my ears lack.)
    FT8 however, has had about 100 unique calls heard by me in that time. From Japan to Europe and at least 20 US states.

    So, I'm also going by my own experiences. JT65 was the same way. King of the modes at the time.
    FT8 is now reigning, but FT8CALL could easily take that spot.

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