Ok FT8, what good is it?

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by K3LI, Oct 22, 2017.

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  1. K3LI

    K3LI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tried it and it seems fairly useless. CQ, 59 73 next. Cant have a conversation with it. Just seems like a useless mode for real comms. Just constant contest mode it seems. Hmm, maybe slower than SSB contesting. You can make a ton of "contest style" contacts in 30 seconds.

    Or is there a way to actually carry on a conversation?
    K2CQW likes this.
  2. K2CQW

    K2CQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's for meteor scatter on vhf & uhf. Work ssb if you can find anybody. The masses have flocked to ft8.
  3. W4KJG

    W4KJG Subscriber QRZ Page

    FT8 isn't designed for conversations. But, there is so much more ... :)

    PSK31 and PSK65, and a few other digital modes, provide great performance for chatting. I stole this from the ARRL site:

    "PSK31 is a digital communications mode which is intended for live keyboard-to-keyboard conversations, similar to radioteletype. Its data rate is 31.25 bauds (about 50 word-per-minute), and its narrow bandwidth (approximately 60 Hz at -26 dB) reduces its susceptibility to noise."

    It works great with similar low power requirements, and less than perfect antennas, when compared with other modern digital type signals.

    PSK31 and PSK65 are very similar to operating RTTY, but using significantly less bandwidth and lots of error correction. Thus, solid QSOs can be had with less power and/or with much worse antennas that many HOA operators are facing these days. For RTTY, a 60-66 WPM signal requires approximatgely 300 Hz of bandwidth. A 100 WPM RTTY signals requires approximately a 400 Hz bandwidth. Also, the digital signals can generally co-mingle without disturbing each other on nearly the same frequency.

    If you are an ARRL member, check out this old article about "PSK--Has RTTY's Replacement Arrived?"

    For me, I'm mostly interested in antenna testing, antenna comparisons, and real-time HF propagation. FT8, JT65, and JT9, used in conjunction with PSK Reporter are like a dream come true for antenna comparisons and real-time propagation. Similarly, I also love WSPR used in conjunction with WSPR Net.

    I can do all of this with between about 0.10 Watts and 3 Watts -- while I'm not even really in danger of QRMing anybody. The new digital signals are so narrow, and so forward looking for errors, one heck of a lot of them can fit in less than the space of a a single SSB QSO, and very many can even fit within the bandwidth of an RTTY signal. -- and that is with 100% copy on both ends.

    Don't give up on digital.:D

    K2NCC, AF7XI and WJ4U like this.
  4. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Think of it as ham radio speed dating :rolleyes:

    KA3CTQ, K6TEP, KC5RR and 7 others like this.
  5. W9FTV

    W9FTV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I spend all day on the phone. Sometimes, point n' click is just what I need :D
    K2CQW and N8XTH like this.
  6. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you feel the same about SSTV too?

    ... and don't forget beacons .......... they are really difficult to have a conversation with too.
    WQ4G and KJ3N like this.
  7. W3ATV

    W3ATV XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    If it is like ham radio speed dating it must be a very frightening mode! :D:p:)
  8. KJ3N

    KJ3N Ham Member QRZ Page

    Use a mode that's meant for conversation in the first place. :rolleyes:

    Would you use a Prius to do off-roading in the mountains? :rolleyes:

    Bye, Felicia...
    K3XR, WU8Y, K5TRI and 1 other person like this.
  9. W9FTV

    W9FTV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I tried something like that once with a toyota tercel POS.
    I was underwhelmed ;)
  10. WG7X

    WG7X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    None of the "JT-X" modes are for casual conversation. As already mentioned, the original JT-65 was developed for EME (Earth-Moon-Earth). As such, the contacts would necessarily be fleeting and only the most basic of info would be passed. Just a signal report and callsigns. Nothing else.

    Then, the JT-65HF mode came along, which is basically the same as the original, only adapted to HF and HF type radios. Low power and low bandwidth ruled the roost. Then in the search for even narrower bandwidth, JT-9 came along. One thing the two modes had in common was low power and narrow bandwidth. This enables contacts to be made in the worst of conditions even when the signals were almost below the noise floor and completely inaudible to the human ear. The trade off was that these modes took a long time to pass even the minimal data of signal report and call sign.

    So, now we have FT-8. A mode very similar to the originals, but with a couple of significant differences, those being mostly a much shorter exchange time, which requires a bit more power to complete in the shorter time. Because of the very short intervals, it is also almost completely automated. It weird at first, I'll admit, but like moss, it kind of grows on you, if you let it.

    None of these modes were designed for casual chatting. If that is what you want, try any of the PSK modes or RTTY. Maybe even the original digital mode... CW!

    Ft-8 does bear a strong resemblance to a DX or contest mode, but again, that is by design.

    73 Gary
    W9FTV likes this.

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