FT8 QRM'ing CW QSOs

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by AA4OO, Jan 12, 2020.

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  1. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've found myself complaining about FT8 without having tried it... Specifically, what's been bothering me is hearing FT8 signals come in on top of CW QSOs that are in progress. Why does that seem to happen more from FT8 than PSK or RTTY?

    So, I downloaded the WSJT-X software last night, and found an audio cable to connect the computer to my KX3 mic input.

    After playing with the WSJT-X software for a while I can see why it's difficult for an FT8 operator to know they are transmitting on top of a CW QSO. The WSJT-X software waterfall isn't like FLDigi showing PSK. Because FT8 is so narrow, CW can look a lot like it in the waterfall. Plus, the chopped up time-divisions make it difficult to make out what your seeing.

    An FT8 operator needs to monitor the 3k of audio to listen before calling CQ outside of the standard FT8 watering holes, otherwise they could be transmitting in the blind over the top of a CW or other digital mode QSO. There is an option in the software to send your call in CW as an ID. I've not heard ops doing that but that would be helpful in contacting them.

    FLDIGI running PSK makes it easier to see CW in the waterfall.

    I'm wondering how new FT8 ops who don't have previous experience operating digital (or CW) the data portions of the band can learn to listen?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    With regard to my first use of FT8 (yeah, yeah I know this is a CW Enthusiasts forum)...

    My very first FT8 contact was made on 30m using my indoor-attic doublet, to:
    5T5PA [​IMG] Mauritania

    Okay, maybe that was a fluke. I switched to 15m, using my 80m OCF. 15m should be dead, right? My WSJT-X software had a chat with ZD7JC's WSJT-X software:
    ZD7JC [​IMG] St Helena Island

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Okay. I can understand the interest in using FT8 for logging DX contacts, or if your a number's chaser, or if you just want to test out QRPp propagation (actually I prefer using Reverse Beacon network for that).

    Double click on a station calling CQ and the software does the rest. Other than learning how to connect your computer to your transceiver and managing your ALC I don't see that there's any operator skill or input involved in making the contact.

    The FT8 mode and the WSJT-X software has been well implemented, but operators should audibly monitor when they move outside the FT8 watering holes to make sure they are not causing QRM.

    I don't have a problem with the popularity of the mode. If pulls new people into the hobby or gets them to try HF operation, they'll probably eventually get bored with clicking their mouse and get into other aspects of ham radio.
     
    N8AFT and W8IXI like this.
  2. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    By the same concept, are you saying that all CW ops should stay 3 KC away from other CW ops?


    BTW, an FT8 station can plainly hear (assuming the audio is passed to a speaker) CW in his passband, they don't need to see it in the WF.
     
  3. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ummm, no

    The point is that the FT8 software might transmit anywhere in that 3kHz window

    Yes they can listen, but it seems that they often do not. That's what I said in the OP
     
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  4. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    As more and more ops try FT8, the population is getting crowded on the usual operating frequencies so they are getting into the busy CW parts of the bands. I have heard them come right up to the usual SKCC range of freqs on 40 M, especially ! I can use all the filters on my rig and do some feather tuning and get rid of most of a strong DIGI signal and hear my QSO partner throught most of the racket !
    FT8 is touted as a DX mode for QRP , but why are the ones I hear so doggon strong in my receiver ???
     
  5. K5UNX

    K5UNX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    FT8 ops don't necessarily run low (QRP) power. Some do but others don't.
     
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  6. WG7X

    WG7X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's not that its a QRP mode, rather it's a weak signal mode which are not necessarily the same thing. Yeah, a lot of the operators use relatively low power, but its not a requirement. Some of the folks run varying power levels any where from QRP to full legal.

    Having said that, it is a good mode for compromised stations. I like to call them LPCA stations: (Low Power Crummy Antennas). I did not invent that saying... I just heard it somewhere.
     
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  7. AA8NN

    AA8NN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've had this happen to me on the 40 meter band also. It used to be far and few between. These days it seems that it happens half the time if you are close to the watering holes. The other day arrl code practice had ft8 sig blasting right through it. I think it happens too often to be a mistake anymore.
     
    N7BKV likes this.
  8. N8AFT

    N8AFT Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info Richard!
    I've always wondered whether or not I or anyone else CW was being heard by the FT8 users...
    Good explanation!
    If only the FT8 folks would regard a bandplan for the segregation of CW and Digi users.
     
  9. W0AEW

    W0AEW Ham Member QRZ Page

    FT8 ops heard that cw always gets thru when nothing else can.
     
  10. N8AFT

    N8AFT Subscriber QRZ Page

    Poor Excuse...
     
    N7BKV likes this.

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