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Oh dear, FT8

Posted: 15 Jun 2018, 14:24
by pete_uk
Seems FT8 is a bit of a Marmite mode. You ether love it or think its the end of amateur radio. I think its good, allows a quick QSO with little fuss. A few people I know hate it!

One of the arguments I have heard in America and now in the July RadCom is that its of no use in an emergency.
Really? Neither is SSTV but thats fine. Maybe that's because its not as popular.

We keep hearing about technical advancement in amateur radio but when a Nobel physics winning radio amateur (who also brought us WSPR, JT69 etc) comes up with a new mode which allows very weak signals to get through a small group have a moan!

{bnghd}

Re: Oh dear, FT8

Posted: 15 Jun 2018, 14:46
by ch25
Personally I stay away from FT8.
Some folks could have fun with it, no doubt, but I stick to get Honour Roll on SSB.
Chris

Re: Oh dear, FT8

Posted: 23 Jun 2018, 17:36
by GaryWilson
We had a demonstration of FT8 at the radio club recently, it's quite an impressive mode but I'm not sure it's for me.

The QSO's are in a fixed format and setting up and getting computer clock timings spot on seemed a bit of a faff to me.

73 Gary.

Re: Oh dear, FT8

Posted: 25 Jun 2018, 11:40
by Kaliphan
GaryWilson wrote:
23 Jun 2018, 17:36
We had a demonstration of FT8 at the radio club recently, it's quite an impressive mode but I'm not sure it's for me.

The QSO's are in a fixed format and setting up and getting computer clock timings spot on seemed a bit of a faff to me.

73 Gary.
Getting the clock right is a doddle, no need to faff around with the command line, setting up Windows NTP etc. etc. just install Dimension4, select the nearest NTP server to you on the dropdown list and you're good to go, check your time is accurate using time.is

You don't *have* to follow the fixed QSO format but most stations do and are looking for the signal report and the RRR to log the contact, it's kinda like 5/9 contesting. There's a bunch of tips and things in the official FAQ

I find it fun seeing just how far QRP watt levels can be spotted with PSKReporter even if you don't get a contact, on less than 5W I've managed ZL, VK and a few rare ones including Indonesia on 40m using a random length of wire thrown up into a tree.

I'd like a verbose mode where short chat was possible though.

Re: Oh dear, FT8

Posted: 25 Jun 2018, 21:01
by GaryWilson
Kaliphan wrote:
25 Jun 2018, 11:40
GaryWilson wrote:
23 Jun 2018, 17:36
We had a demonstration of FT8 at the radio club recently, it's quite an impressive mode but I'm not sure it's for me.

The QSO's are in a fixed format and setting up and getting computer clock timings spot on seemed a bit of a faff to me.

73 Gary.
Getting the clock right is a doddle, no need to faff around with the command line, setting up Windows NTP etc. etc. just install Dimension4, select the nearest NTP server to you on the dropdown list and you're good to go, check your time is accurate using time.is

You don't *have* to follow the fixed QSO format but most stations do and are looking for the signal report and the RRR to log the contact, it's kinda like 5/9 contesting. There's a bunch of tips and things in the official FAQ

I find it fun seeing just how far QRP watt levels can be spotted with PSKReporter even if you don't get a contact, on less than 5W I've managed ZL, VK and a few rare ones including Indonesia on 40m using a random length of wire thrown up into a tree.

I'd like a verbose mode where short chat was possible though.
Thanks for the heads up I'm sure at some point I will give it a go, all the best,

73 Gary.

Re: Oh dear, FT8

Posted: 17 Oct 2018, 11:15
by ChipButty
I use and like FT8. I also like WSPR and on occasions, PSK... As with any part of the "hobby" - If you do not like it, then there is no need to use it.

What I do like with FT8 over PSK is the fact it works very well as a Weak Signal mode which I do struggle with PSK, especially with QRP. It is obvious - especially with the CQ/Country calls that some are running quite a bit of juice!

Some complain about the automation aspect of FT8 - Have you taken time to look at many of the PSK conversations? Just a couple of Function buttons.. Only difference to FT8 - a little more verbose. - Also, what about the many machine generated morse stations??

I am interested that with FT8 there are a number of UK stations listening and working on VHF vertical... It really helps with identifying propagation conditions. I know WSPR is supposed to do this but it seems there are more active stations on FT8 on VHF. The beauty is that even if a station chooses not to reply if you are heard, at least a log to PSK reported is sent over. It is amazing how far vertical VHF signals can carry!

What I do have beef with though is "network radio". Sorry if I am tainting this thread with this! Had reason to load Zello and did get to listen on a couple of HAM "channels" and on two separate conversations the subject of "why is VHF and UHF so quiet nowadays"? Skype/Slack anyone?

One comment that comes up quite often is that FT8 is not flexible with its messaging and is why FT8Call has been developed. FT8 is quite able to allow general (if very short) messages to be sent. I fact I have a regular conversation with a local station via VHF vertical and FT8... Just amend the field and send. Simple(s)!

Re: Oh dear, FT8

Posted: 23 Nov 2018, 18:09
by theEarwigger
Exactly, I was big on PSK-31 a few years back but had few proper conversations on the keyboard.

I can type faster than PSK31 can keep up with but apparently few other can. In particular I never found anyone non-UK or USA that did anything but macro QSOs. FT8Call will probably not be used much.

But the real enemy as you say is 'network radio'. A phrase worthy of the Ministry of truth (1984) IMO.

-Rob