Best Frequencies for FT8 and JS8?

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by KZ4TN, Feb 15, 2020.

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  1. KZ4TN

    KZ4TN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I’m planning on building Dave Benson’s Phaser Digital Mode SSB Transceiver kit and need to order it for a particular band. I searched back through this forum to 2016 without success. I’ve operated PSK31 and RTTY in the past but not FT8/JS8. As FT8 has exploded I have read some of the comments on poor operating practices and crowded frequencies. I’m looking to operate DX and domestic. I like to operate portable so my inclination is to go with the mid to higher bands as higher freqs mean easier antennas to set up. I am thinking of 30 meters but 20 is also possible. Any suggestions?


    Steve, KZ4TN
  2. KG7FIU

    KG7FIU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, depends on time-of-day. Under bad propagation cond, 20 can sometimes be dead -- even for FT-8. 30 might be a bit better. If you're going portable, your antenna may not be too hot -- so that's something to consider. I would try both bands out with your setup on a few different days, and then at different times during the day -- and see which band lets you make more contacts...
  3. KC9YGN

    KC9YGN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm not sure why but most JS8 activity seems to be concentrated on 40 meters, with some on 30 and 20. FT8 on 30 meters is generally pretty darn good. It seems less crowded than 20. Me, personally, I'd go for 40 meters, with 30 as an alternative.
  4. KJ4TX

    KJ4TX Ham Member QRZ Page

    JS8 is on the upper bands but the stations are clustered in tight groups. If you want to find out where these modes are, go to PSKReporter and set the mode to the one you want to check and select All Bands or just go through each band one at a time. This will give you an idea of how many stations are listening although not all stations will show up that are out there for that band. PSKReporter is a handy tool to use to see how far you are getting out on digital modes as well.

    N5ILQ likes this.
  5. KZ4TN

    KZ4TN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for turning me on to PSK Reporter! That's just what I needed.
    Best 73,
  6. W0KDT

    W0KDT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Steve, here is a suggestion for using PSK Reporter:

    If you simply look at everything heard by everyone, you will see a lot of stuff that is irrelevant to you. DX talking to DX in Europe or Asia, for example.

    The way I use it is to look for a report from a QTH that is as near as possible to me, then display stations heard by that call sign or stations hearing him. Do this as different times of day. That will give you a more real-world picture of that band fro your location.

    Even better, many of us have described our antennas in WSJT-X and that information is sent to PSK Reporter. So for frosting on the cake, try to pick a local station with an antenna similar to your antenna(s).
  7. KJ4TX

    KJ4TX Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are welcome, Steve. And W0KDT is right about finding ways to use it that really help understand how the band is working when you are on. I like to set it to look for my call sign that is received and has received a call so I can tell how far I'm getting out (as long as there is a station monitoring out there) and from how far I'm receiving. The two may not be the same. Be sure and check out the different options on it to get it so it's the most useful for you.

  8. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. W4HWD

    W4HWD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yep - those are problems, especially on 80 and 40 meters. Since you are looking at 30 or 20, I’d pick 30. Theres a power limit, it’s more tame and there’s plenty of DX. I vote 30 meters.

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