FT8 mode is the latest shiny and shiny object in the digital amateur radio world

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08/01/2017

It’s still in beta testing, but FT8 – the latest digital trinket to capture the imagination of the amateur radio community – has attracted many who already use the popular JT65 “weak signal” mode. FT8 is included in a beta version of WSJT-X, version 1.8.0-rc1. One of its main advantages is a shorter transmit-receive cycle, which means faster contacts. the Remarks for the “candidate” version, say that FT8 offers “sensitivity down to -20dB on the AWGN channel”. Contacts are four times faster than with JT65 or JT9, and a full FT8 contact can take place in about 1 minute.

The new mode is named after its developers, Steven Franke, K9AN, and Joe Taylor, K1JT. The number denotes the mode’s 8-frequency shift manipulation format. The tones are spaced 6.25Hz apart, and an FT8 signal occupies only 50Hz. Unlike JT65 or JT9, the transmit and receive cycles in FT8 each last approximately 15 seconds. Like JT65, FT8 requires precise time synchronization. An automatic sequencing feature provides the ability to automatically respond to the first decoded response to your QC.

“FT8 is an excellent mode for HF DXing and for situations such as 6-meter multi-hop Es, where a deep QSB may make rapid and reliable completion of QSOs desirable,” Taylor release notes state. .

The beta was released just days before the July VHF CQ contest and has proven to be a boon for many operators who took advantage of the FT8 over 6 meters. During a limited output for VHF QC, Frank Donovan, W3LPL, made 22 FT8 contacts over 6 meters, “during which the FT8 software reported SNRs from my receiver of less than –10 dB (measured in high bandwidth 2,500 Hz). Some of the 22 QSOs may have been difficult to complete on The CW.

Fans will have to wait a bit longer for Logbook of The World (LoTW) to accept FT8 contacts like FT8 contacts. Because FT8 is still in beta, it has not yet been added to ADIF tables. Configuration TQSL Automatically mapping FT8 contacts to “DATA” will allow users to download FT8 contacts now, and confirmations will be valid for DXCC Digital, VUCC, WAS Digital and WPX Digital rewards. A new TQSL The configuration will be released once the new mode has been accepted by ADIF, which could happen in a week.

The operational documentation for FT8 has not yet been finalized. “We know that the advent of the new FT8 mode means that new materials are required for the ManualTaylor told Yahoo Meteor scattering group and weak signals this week. “We will be working on this in the near future. “

A new Facebook group was established for FT8 experimenters.


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