Ready to give up on FT8

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by WB9QVY, Jun 30, 2019.

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  1. WB9QVY

    WB9QVY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Returning to ham radio after a 15 year absence many things have changed. New things to try. Some old things still around.

    One of the new things was FT8. On the surface this seemed like a godsend for those with modest stations.
    Setting it up and seeing all the stations I could decode seemed to bear this out.

    Once I got an antenna up and began to actually try to make contacts things were much different. While I have
    made some contacts they are far and few between.

    I get almost zero results answering a CQ. On their frequency or off doesnt matter.

    The few successes have largely been from my CQs. However what happens 90% of the time is I get
    an answer to my CQ and then thats it. The QSO doesnt progress beyond that point. I keep sending my
    response 3 or 4 or whatever times and then give up. Sometimes the other station keeps sending their initial
    response to my CQ but we cant seem to sync.

    Does this make sense? Im sure Im not using proper terminology here.

    I know the first answer to this will be to "check your time". Done that. Run a linux based system with NTP. The DTs I see are mostly 0.1 or 0.2.

    I know my signal is getting out from all the spots on pskreporter.

    Just wondering if Im missing some obscure setting in WSJT-X or making some procedural error.

  2. AB2YC

    AB2YC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Do you have the Auto Seq Box checked?
  3. WB9QVY

    WB9QVY Ham Member QRZ Page

  4. AB2YC

    AB2YC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Make sure you are not over driving your signal. I use to confirm my time is correct.

    If you have a second radio (or a local ham) you can try to see if your signal can be copied reliably.

    Don't be afraid to turn up the power. FT8 is a weak signal mode not a QRP mode.
    NA1S likes this.
  5. K7GQ

    K7GQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    My first thought is that your signal is not as good as you would hope it to be. Have you checked your "received" signal reports using PSK Reporter? Do only a few stations report copying your signal, or are there numerous stations copying? The PSK Report may take as long as 5 minutes or so to receive the reports from other stations - so don't panic if nothing shows up immediately.

    My second thought is that you are calling relatively weak stations who may not hear you at all. I have been operating portable from Europe for the last few months, and with my weak signal, I only call stations that are stronger than -4 db - they will not answer as they simply do not hear me. Basically, I only call the loudest stations and am able to make contact with most of those.
    KC1OCA likes this.
  6. WB9QVY

    WB9QVY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have confirmed the time is correct.
    I have listened to my transmitted signal with my Drake C line and the signal SOUNDS OK.
    I run about 60 watts. Thats about all my old Yaesu is good for.

    BTW...same setup does fine on PK31 but not that many on that mode anymore.

    I HAVE made some FT8 QSOs. About 40. But the failures far out number the successes and its odd the QSOs get hung up at the same point everytime.

    To maybe illustrate better...I CQ...Station answers sending their grid square. I answer back with signal report. Other station
    keeps sending their grid square...My station keeping sending the report. So they are stuck on TX1 , Im stuck on TX2. Until one or the other gives up.

    BTW...I have RTFM... and about everything else Ive found online.
    Just checking I havnt missed something before I give up and move to another mode.

  7. AB2YC

    AB2YC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It sounds like for whatever reason the sequences are not progressing properly.
    KK5JY likes this.
  8. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    try COMPLETLY deleting WSJT, re down load and install it.
  9. WB9QVY

    WB9QVY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Easy enough to try but it didnt change anything.

    Please note I AM completing some QSOs. Just not very many.
  10. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    You may want to experiment with turning your sound card input DOWN, Often , less is best.

    Good Luck
    VE1LG likes this.

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