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Why I run FT-8

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by K2ENF, May 23, 2021.

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  1. K2ENF

    K2ENF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah, OK, I know…. You’d rather be having an extended chat with your DX contacts. Well, sorry, but that’s not always going to happen. Particularly when you’re a tech, who is still learning code.

    (And I swear, If I hear “That’s not ham radio” one more time….. )

    On recognizing that my minimal setup (An FT-991 my home built desktop computer(s), and a handful of antennas, no amplifiers, etc) and a tech level license wasn’t going to get me much in the way of DX contacts on 10m…. which is the only place I can run any DX at all, really…. As I say, I’m still learning code yet. And so my digital and voice activities are limited to 10m.

    So, what’s left? When 10m is open, I’m glad of it, and can occasionally get phone contacts. But for so much of the time, there’s a total dearth of any contacts at all…. At least on voice. There’s RTTY, of course, but in the last year I’ve only made one…. Count your nose, ONE contact via RTTY and that was by per-arrangement on one of the local 2m machines. PSK31? Apparently the bloom is off the rose for that one. I’ve yet to hear anyone running any PSK, Olivia, or for that matter any of the other modes offered by FLDIGI… and Lord knows I’ve tried.

    So, that leaves Joe Taylor’s monster, FT-8. Particularly with the sunspots being questionable if they existed at all. We’re on the leading edge of the sunspot cycle as this is written, and so good DX isn’t east to get with the band closed.

    And so it was… Closed, that is. I noted hardly any voice contacts over that period at all, despite wasting several hours calling CQ at or around 28.400, every time I sat down. And the more established DIGI stuff was pretty much the same. … But running Joe Taylor’s version of NBFSK, I’ve managed to rack up some rather impressive totals: At this writing, some 540 Qso's (247 confirmed) in 33 states and 23 countries. And I should also say in fairness to me, that I run a 10m net on 28.405 every Saturday night... (1930 eastern) and that's downright fun.

    So, when you ask me why I like to run FT-8, that’s my answer. Do I like to rag chew? Certainly… when the opportunity presents itself. But I also like to experiment with Antennas (My IMAX2000 seems to work pretty well, my EFHW, somewhat less so) and I’m learning quite a bit about maximizing my 100w signal.

    OK,Having a chance to chat with my DX contacts would be a decided plus. But in a choice between making DX contacts or not making them at all, which way do you figure I’ll go?

    So til 10 opens and/or I manage to up my ticket...(in the works, now) you’ll hear me playing bagpipes pretty frequently.
    2E0HVK, PY2RAF, MW0IHW and 5 others like this.
  2. W5TTP

    W5TTP Ham Member QRZ Page

    You gotta do what you gotta do. Good for you for finding an alternative to screaming "CQ" into an expensive radio setup on a seemingly dead band. There is always a way.
    W4JHU, 2E0HVK, W9FL and 2 others like this.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Looks like you're up in the town named after Jack Benny's housekeeper.

    If RARA is still active (I have no idea, but was once a member a long time ago), they can probably help you step up to's only 35 more questions and you already answered 35 to get your current license.:)

    10m can be great fun, but 17m and 20m is where the SSB DX is (a lot), sometimes 15m/12m, and through the night, 40m.
    DD5RK, WQ4G and K2ENF like this.
  4. KK9W

    KK9W Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you aren't making contacts on 10M SSB right now you aren't making the most of seasonal conditions.
    N8ZL, WQ4G, VK6APZ and 2 others like this.
  5. KY4GD

    KY4GD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Excellent personal writeup! FT-8 is a solid mode for some things. I have been listening from my location for months, and can count on my fingers the number of phone conversations that I have even heard on any band. My antenna situation is that bad. I thought it might be the radio, but I took it up to the mountains a few weeks ago and set up the same antenna, and I couldn't touch the dial without running into a conversation. I was blown away by how much I was missing at home. Until we leave this brick and metal RF black hole, FT-8 is the one thing that works from here.

    It is also handy for learning. You can tinker with something, then call CQ and watch where you are heard on PSKReporter.
    2E0HVK, N1AOA, W9FL and 1 other person like this.
  6. K2ENF

    K2ENF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, that's why the IMAX2000. It loads on 10 12 15 and with sopme help, 17
  7. K2ENF

    K2ENF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Oh, I've made a few., mostly the last few weeks.
    Mostly to the midwest, and one during one of my 10m nets in Oregon.
  8. K2ENF

    K2ENF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you, sir.

    Yeah, I hear ya.

    Indeed, and so I am. I've found that my IMAX does a fair job of covering the western hemisphere, and in the US just about everything east of OK. EU is a bit of a stretch as is the west coast, without running the grey line for example.
  9. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    KA2FIR likes this.
  10. K2ENF

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