FT8: "Magic radio"?

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FT8: "Magic radio"?

wayne burdick
Administrator
Overheard yesterday on 40 meter SSB, in reference to FT8:  “Given the level of automation and whatnot, maybe they should call it ‘magic radio’ instead of ‘ham radio’.”

New contest category?

Wayne
N6KR


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Re: [KX3] FT8: "Magic radio"?

MIKE W1SRR
I had a QSO with a buddy of mine who was using his FT-817 on 5 watts.
Where as I couldn't hear him on 40m SSB (phone), meanwhile I had him at -13
FT8.  I'm 1,200 miles due south of him. I was -01 with 20w.  While I don't
think its magical I do think its a nice feature with poor conditions..

On Tue, Jul 3, 2018 at 3:36 PM, Wayne Burdick [hidden email] [KX3] <
[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> Overheard yesterday on 40 meter SSB, in reference to FT8: “Given the level
> of automation and whatnot, maybe they should call it ‘magic radio’ instead
> of ‘ham radio’.”
>
> New contest category?
>
> Wayne
> N6KR
>
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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

k6dgw
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
The last Q in the FAQ at the end of Dr. Joe Taylor's instructions for
use of the DXpedition ["Fox and Hound"] mode of FT8 is:

"Are you trying to kill CW?"

If he is trying to kill CW, listening on 14023 and up suggests that he
is failing.

73,

Fred ["Skip"] K6DGW
Sparks NV DM09dn
Washoe County

On 7/3/2018 12:36 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
> Overheard yesterday on 40 meter SSB, in reference to FT8:  “Given the level of automation and whatnot, maybe they should call it ‘magic radio’ instead of ‘ham radio’.”
>
> New contest category?
>
> Wayne
> N6KR
>

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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

wayne burdick
Administrator
Sure was a lot of CW activity on Sunday. Great fun....

Wayne


> On Jul 3, 2018, at 12:48 PM, Fred Jensen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> The last Q in the FAQ at the end of Dr. Joe Taylor's instructions for use of the DXpedition ["Fox and Hound"] mode of FT8 is:
>
> "Are you trying to kill CW?"
>
> If he is trying to kill CW, listening on 14023 and up suggests that he is failing.
>
> 73,
>
> Fred ["Skip"] K6DGW
> Sparks NV DM09dn
> Washoe County
>
> On 7/3/2018 12:36 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
>> Overheard yesterday on 40 meter SSB, in reference to FT8:  “Given the level of automation and whatnot, maybe they should call it ‘magic radio’ instead of ‘ham radio’.”
>>
>> New contest category?
>>
>> Wayne
>> N6KR
>>
>
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Re: [KX3] FT8: "Magic radio"?

Grant Youngman-2
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
I think so.  

I still have a beating heart for my first “personal computer”.  For it’s time  (late 50’s to early 60’s) it was a very smart and very fast, fully asynchronous, about 1 Mhz, machine with around 1000+ vacuum tubes, and one of the earliest machines (if not THE earliest) with dynamic memory allocation.  I’m sure the Apple watch could easily outdo it now, just to display the time.

I’d bet there will at some point be a version of the  “Teensy” that will be more than capable of running a contest without operator intervention, maybe with a link to Watson .. or not.

There certainly ought to be a separate category.  At least for the few of us old and getting older curmudgeons left that still use pen and paper logging and a sideswiper key (or heaven forbid — AM).  And that actually use the knobs on our radios to tune … :-) :-)

One of these days I’m  going to get my Digital Group Z-80 out  of the box, replace the one missing chip on the CPU board, and threaten everyone :-)
 
Grant NQ5T
K3 #2091, KX3 #8342
SKCC #18434

> On Jul 3, 2018, at 3:36 PM, Wayne Burdick [hidden email] [KX3] <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Overheard yesterday on 40 meter SSB, in reference to FT8: “Given the level of automation and whatnot, maybe they should call it ‘magic radio’ instead of ‘ham radio’.”
>
> New contest category?
>
>

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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

Carl-N8VZ
In reply to this post by k6dgw
After being a ham since 1981, and passing the CW test only because I was good at test-taking and it was a multiple choice test, I’m now learning CW all over again via LCWO.net and the Koch Method.  I’m now about halfway through and I’m doing better than I could have ever imagined.  I’m not going to ever be a very fast CW operator, and sending will be a whole new challenge, as my manual dexterity and sense of rhythm are not very good, but I do see the light at the end of the CW tunnel, which for me has been a real challenge.  And, I also do FT8.  In fact, I got WAS with FT8 in only about one month.  I wasn’t planning on an FT8 WAS endorsement, but when I noticed that I had 35 states without even trying, I thought I might was well go for it.  So, in my case, FT8 has killed CW interest at all, in fact, it might have played a small part in increasing my interest.  Maybe one day, I can get WAS CW endorsement.  That would be a real accomplishment for me.

73,

Carl
N8VZ

Sent from my iPad

> On Jul 3, 2018, at 3:48 PM, Fred Jensen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> The last Q in the FAQ at the end of Dr. Joe Taylor's instructions for use of the DXpedition ["Fox and Hound"] mode of FT8 is:
>
> "Are you trying to kill CW?"
>
> If he is trying to kill CW, listening on 14023 and up suggests that he is failing.
>
> 73,
>
> Fred ["Skip"] K6DGW
> Sparks NV DM09dn
> Washoe County
>
>> On 7/3/2018 12:36 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
>> Overheard yesterday on 40 meter SSB, in reference to FT8:  “Given the level of automation and whatnot, maybe they should call it ‘magic radio’ instead of ‘ham radio’.”
>>
>> New contest category?
>>
>> Wayne
>> N6KR
>>
>
> ______________________________________________________________
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> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
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>
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> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]

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FT8: "Magic radio"?

ANDY DURBIN
In reply to this post by k6dgw
I have been using WSJT-X since before version 1.0 was made available.  I was also an early adopter of JT9 and FT8.  I have enjoyed using JT65, JT9, and FT8 for HF and 6 m QSO.  Using DXpedition mode to work KH1 was a different experience.  I felt that the operator had been taken much too far "out of the loop".   I'm glad I made more KH1 QSO using CW than with FT8 and I found them much more satisfying.

FT8 DXPedition mode is certainly not for everyone but if it was the only way I could make a QSO with KH1 I'd have been glad to have it in my log.    KH1 was DX 200 worked CW in 4 years.  That was nice and only the magic of propagation was involved.

73,
Andy k3wyc

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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

w0mu
How is it any different than the RTTY setups used for DXpeditions that
would do essentially the same thing, listen over a wide range and stack
the calls heard?  FT8 just allows them to complete 1 to 5 contacts at
one time.  That to me is pretty amazing!    There is still plenty of
skill in working FT8 if the goal is to get in and get out quick just
like any more.  Hey if you have all day to work someone chances are you
will get them sooner or later.

The cool part about this and the most important part is this mode is
allowing people with really marginally poor stations to be able to
actually get on Ham Radio and work people and work DX!  It has to be
exciting for them!

Try to put yourself in their shoes.  It is a whole new world!  We need
more activity, more active hams and maybe FT8 will be a building block
to get more people in.  I would hope this is a good thing!

W0MU


On 7/3/2018 2:10 PM, ANDY DURBIN wrote:

> I have been using WSJT-X since before version 1.0 was made available.  I was also an early adopter of JT9 and FT8.  I have enjoyed using JT65, JT9, and FT8 for HF and 6 m QSO.  Using DXpedition mode to work KH1 was a different experience.  I felt that the operator had been taken much too far "out of the loop".   I'm glad I made more KH1 QSO using CW than with FT8 and I found them much more satisfying.
>
> FT8 DXPedition mode is certainly not for everyone but if it was the only way I could make a QSO with KH1 I'd have been glad to have it in my log.    KH1 was DX 200 worked CW in 4 years.  That was nice and only the magic of propagation was involved.
>
> 73,
> Andy k3wyc
>
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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

Carl Yaffey
In reply to this post by ANDY DURBIN
If you haven’t tried FT8, you might be surprised at the skill you’ll need to use if effectively. It is NOT just automatic.
73, K8NU


Carl Yaffey  K8NU
Recording studio.
[hidden email]
614 268 6353, Columbus OH
http://www.carl-yaffey.com
http://www.grassahol.com
http://www.bluesswing.com

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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

Rick WA6NHC-2
In reply to this post by w0mu
Actually if conditions allow, FT8 (Fox) can 'converse' with ten stations
at once (5 audio streams at a cost of lower signal strength) raising the
Q rate and efficiency of the opening(s).  The primary differences from
RTTY is that it's narrower, better utilizing the band space; it can
easily work below the noise floor (not a dream of a chance with RTTY)
and that FT8 is simpler for most folks than RTTY (point, click, connect).

I score it as semi-automatic since an operator must still manage it; the
signal strengths are more accurate (meaning honest) than the eternal
'599' (after ten retries) and the largest bonus is that it keeps
interest alive in the bottom of the cycle AND allows meager stations to
have an improved shot at improving their DX standings.  It's a breath of
fresh air to reinvigorate ham radio at some level.

Rick nhc


On 7/3/2018 1:24 PM, W0MU Mike Fatchett wrote:

> How is it any different than the RTTY setups used for DXpeditions that
> would do essentially the same thing, listen over a wide range and
> stack the calls heard?  FT8 just allows them to complete 1 to 5
> contacts at one time.  That to me is pretty amazing!    There is still
> plenty of skill in working FT8 if the goal is to get in and get out
> quick just like any more.  Hey if you have all day to work someone
> chances are you will get them sooner or later.
>
> The cool part about this and the most important part is this mode is
> allowing people with really marginally poor stations to be able to
> actually get on Ham Radio and work people and work DX!  It has to be
> exciting for them!
>
> Try to put yourself in their shoes.  It is a whole new world!  We need
> more activity, more active hams and maybe FT8 will be a building block
> to get more people in.  I would hope this is a good thing!
>
> W0MU
>
>
> On 7/3/2018 2:10 PM, ANDY DURBIN wrote:
>> I have been using WSJT-X since before version 1.0 was made
>> available.  I was also an early adopter of JT9 and FT8.  I have
>> enjoyed using JT65, JT9, and FT8 for HF and 6 m QSO.  Using
>> DXpedition mode to work KH1 was a different experience.  I felt that
>> the operator had been taken much too far "out of the loop".   I'm
>> glad I made more KH1 QSO using CW than with FT8 and I found them much
>> more satisfying.
>>
>> FT8 DXPedition mode is certainly not for everyone but if it was the
>> only way I could make a QSO with KH1 I'd have been glad to have it in
>> my log.    KH1 was DX 200 worked CW in 4 years.  That was nice and
>> only the magic of propagation was involved.
>>
>> 73,
>> Andy k3wyc
>>
>> ______________________________________________________________
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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

k6mkf
In reply to this post by w0mu
I agree.  

We have a Club member who lives in a townhouse and who became a ham because their Dad was a ham.

This ham literally has 100W and a wire dipole, only half of which is outside - and is in the log at KH1/KH7Z with a 20M FT8 QSO.

Amateur Radio is a technological pursuit.   The convergence of radio, computer and software technologies to create the digi-modes was probably inevitable.  

If FT8 helps interest more young people in Amateur Radio, I’m all for it.

-- Mike Flowers, K6MKF, NCDXC - "It's about DX!"

> On Jul 3, 2018, at 1:24 PM, W0MU Mike Fatchett <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How is it any different than the RTTY setups used for DXpeditions that would do essentially the same thing, listen over a wide range and stack the calls heard?  FT8 just allows them to complete 1 to 5 contacts at one time.  That to me is pretty amazing!    There is still plenty of skill in working FT8 if the goal is to get in and get out quick just like any more.  Hey if you have all day to work someone chances are you will get them sooner or later.
>
> The cool part about this and the most important part is this mode is allowing people with really marginally poor stations to be able to actually get on Ham Radio and work people and work DX!  It has to be exciting for them!
>
> Try to put yourself in their shoes.  It is a whole new world!  We need more activity, more active hams and maybe FT8 will be a building block to get more people in.  I would hope this is a good thing!
>
> W0MU
>
>
>> On 7/3/2018 2:10 PM, ANDY DURBIN wrote:
>> I have been using WSJT-X since before version 1.0 was made available.  I was also an early adopter of JT9 and FT8.  I have enjoyed using JT65, JT9, and FT8 for HF and 6 m QSO.  Using DXpedition mode to work KH1 was a different experience.  I felt that the operator had been taken much too far "out of the loop".   I'm glad I made more KH1 QSO using CW than with FT8 and I found them much more satisfying.
>>
>> FT8 DXPedition mode is certainly not for everyone but if it was the only way I could make a QSO with KH1 I'd have been glad to have it in my log.    KH1 was DX 200 worked CW in 4 years.  That was nice and only the magic of propagation was involved.
>>
>> 73,
>> Andy k3wyc
>>
>> ______________________________________________________________
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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

Grant Youngman-2
In reply to this post by ANDY DURBIN
FT8 is great technology.   Maybe the Fox/Hound mode is, too.  Personally, I got bored with it after about a week and moved on.  Certainly, it’s the cat’s meow if all you care about is logging someone, somewhere, without doing any work, other than making sure you have the right Windows drivers installed and the right boxes checked, and don’t care to find out what the other guy’s name is or what he/she does when they aren’t punching at their own keyboard (well, you don’t even have to do THAT very often).   Other than that, and reading all the issues people have with it and their machines/software they know nothing about (while blaming their radio) on the lists — meh.

You can use your radio as just one more peripheral if you want.  Good for you.  Enjoy.  I’ll be elsewhere on the bands.
 
I’m old, going on 60 years licensed … and have a curmudgeonly point of view, no doubt.  But …  I spent my entire working life doing many innovative things with computers and software and automation in general.  I’ve never used my radio as just one more Windows peripheral … and won’t.  It isn’t that hard to avoid it … and it’s a whole lot more fun.

Grant NQ5T
K3 #2091, KX3 #8342

> On Jul 3, 2018, at 4:10 PM, ANDY DURBIN <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I have been using WSJT-X since before version 1.0 was made available.  I was also an early adopter of JT9 and FT8.  I have enjoyed using JT65, JT9, and FT8 for HF and 6 m QSO.  Using DXpedition mode to work KH1 was a different experience.  I felt that the operator had been taken much too far "out of the loop".   I'm glad I made more KH1 QSO using CW than with FT8 and I found them much more satisfying.
>
> FT8 DXPedition mode is certainly not for everyone but if it was the only way I could make a QSO with KH1 I'd have been glad to have it in my log.    KH1 was DX 200 worked CW in 4 years.  That was nice and only the magic of propagation was involved.

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FT8: "Magic radio"?

ANDY DURBIN
In reply to this post by ANDY DURBIN
"How is it any different than the RTTY setups used for DXpeditions that  would do essentially the same thing, listen over a wide range and stack  the calls heard?"

The, in my opinion huge, difference is that FT8 DXpedition mode does not even require the operator to be in the shack to complete the QSO.  All it takes is to start auto TX of your grid and then walk away.  As long as your call gets on the stack before your watchdog times out (assuming you have not defeated it) then the rest is automatic, including waking up your TX Enable if it had timed out.

Two of my KH1 FT8 QSO were completed after I had given up and turned off TX Enable.  Although I was still in the shack I had no involvement in completing the QSO.  I was just a spectator.  That is very different from the level of interaction required to complete a QSO in CW, Phone, or RTTY.

I have no opinion on the experience of the DXpedition operator.  Never been one and not likely to be one.

73,
Andy k3wyc


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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

wayne burdick
Administrator

> On Jul 3, 2018, at 1:59 PM, ANDY DURBIN <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> "How is it any different than the RTTY setups used for DXpeditions that  would do essentially the same thing, listen over a wide range and stack  the calls heard?"
>
> The, in my opinion huge, difference is that FT8 DXpedition mode does not even require the operator to be in the shack to complete the QSO.  All it takes is to start auto TX of your grid and then walk away.  As long as your call gets on the stack before your watchdog times out (assuming you have not defeated it) then the rest is automatic, including waking up your TX Enable if it had timed out.
>
> Two of my KH1 FT8 QSO were completed after I had given up and turned off TX Enable.  Although I was still in the shack I had no involvement in completing the QSO.  I was just a spectator.  That is very different from the level of interaction required to complete a QSO in CW, Phone, or RTTY.


I believe that’s what led to the “magic” comment in the overheard discussion. That, in fact, this sort of operation is in a class of its own.

Wayne


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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

w0mu
In reply to this post by ANDY DURBIN
That is FT8.  There is no involvement once the contact starts. That is
the beauty of it.    The automation is no legal in the USA and many
other places but I doubt it will be addressed much like excessive
power.  It is never addressed.  Do it right.  Don't worry about others. 
Have fun.

The RTTY difference is that they come back to me and I moved, they can't
find me, they waste more time sending w0mu 599 over and over and over
again.  That is not better in my book.  If have not left.  I push one
other button to make a contact.  Seems pretty similar to me.

To each their own.

W0MU


On 7/3/2018 2:59 PM, ANDY DURBIN wrote:

> "How is it any different than the RTTY setups used for DXpeditions that  would do essentially the same thing, listen over a wide range and stack  the calls heard?"
>
> The, in my opinion huge, difference is that FT8 DXpedition mode does not even require the operator to be in the shack to complete the QSO.  All it takes is to start auto TX of your grid and then walk away.  As long as your call gets on the stack before your watchdog times out (assuming you have not defeated it) then the rest is automatic, including waking up your TX Enable if it had timed out.
>
> Two of my KH1 FT8 QSO were completed after I had given up and turned off TX Enable.  Although I was still in the shack I had no involvement in completing the QSO.  I was just a spectator.  That is very different from the level of interaction required to complete a QSO in CW, Phone, or RTTY.
>
> I have no opinion on the experience of the DXpedition operator.  Never been one and not likely to be one.
>
> 73,
> Andy k3wyc
>
>
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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

Bill Frantz
In reply to this post by Carl-N8VZ
I can't resist.

My accomplishments: I have a DXCC with 150+ LotW confirmed
entities. I have over 100 entities on both digital and CW, less
on voice. I have a triple play WAS. I have 5 contacts with
KH1/KH7Z in their log, 2 CW, 2 FT8, and 1 SSB. (I'm missing
RTTY.) I'm active in ARES/RACES, and like to rag chew, either on
the local repeaters, or with PSK31. I'm trying to be a well
rounded ham.

I look at FT8 as another step in station automation.

Back when I started, in the early 1960s, it was normal to have
separate transmitters and receivers. Frequently people would
have to manually switch the antenna between the two. Now we have
full break in with CW. That's an advance in station automation.

We used to keep logs on paper, now many of us keep them on a
computer reducing the chance for error in details like frequency
and time. FT8 carries it a step further by building a log entry
which includes the call, grid and signal reports. That's an
advance in station automation.

We used to scan the bands by turning the big knob to locate
other stations. Now we have spotting networks and panadapters.
That's an advance in station automation.

When one station wanted to call another, it had to transmit for
a long enough time so the other station could find him. CQs were
long for the same reason. Now we can change to his listening
frequency and make a call. Many people use this technique for
working DX pileups. FT8 makes it even more automatic by
highlighting all messages that include your call sign. That's an
advance in station automation.

Where do I come down in all of this? I'm all over the place. In
CW contests, I operate unassisted because I want to improve my
CW skills, and getting the calls from a spot or decoder doesn't
help me toward this goal. When working as part of a contest
team, I'm happy using everything that is legal for our entry
category. When trying to work rare DX, I'm quite happy running
power. I just want to put out a clean signal and not be too
obnoxious to other hams.

I've heard a lot of comment about various contest rules being
too automated or requiring facilities that are not available to
everyone. For example contests that provide real-time score
tracking. Here I think we should let 1000 flowers bloom. Sure,
enjoy Straight Key Night (SKN) and bring out your boat anchor
and old paper log book. But also have contests where contesters
and an audience can keep track of the scores in real time. Some
people can't do CW and sit SKN out. Others may not have the
Internet connectivity needed for the real-time contest. In the
old days, many hams did not have a Teletype machine for RTTY
contests and had to forgo RTTY contacts.

Do what you enjoy. Ham radio is a very big tent.

73 Bill AE6JV

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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

Jim Brown-10
In reply to this post by ANDY DURBIN
On 7/3/2018 1:59 PM, ANDY DURBIN wrote:
> wo of my KH1 FT8 QSO were completed after I had given up and turned off TX Enable.  Although I was still in the shack I had no involvement in completing the QSO.  I was just a spectator.  That is very different from the level of interaction required to complete a QSO in CW, Phone, or RTTY.

Let's not forget that ham radio is a TECHNICAL hobby. While I've worked
hard to improve my operating skills, transmitter, antenna, feedline,
understanding propagation, working to find and kill receive noise are
also part of it. And don't discount operator skill with WSJT modes --
knowing when to call, where to place yourself in the frequency window,
all are things we need to learn.

If I can work expeditions with FT8, I'll find better things to do with
my time than sitting in a pileup for hours with guys tuning up or
calling on top of the DX, which then brings out the childish "cops"
cursing them and "yelling UP idiot."

73, Jim K9YC

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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

Wes Stewart-2
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
In a message to this group back in February I wrote:

    Quoting G4WJS: "For FT8 the net effect is that
    up to about 5 seconds of a message may be missing yet still
    be decoded. The amount missing can be either a truncation or
    parts of the message below the decoding threshold. The FT8
    message is structured with sync symbols at the start, middle
    and end so missing the start or end may have less impact
    than missing other parts since mostly sync symbols may be
    lost and they contain no message information."

Hence, I dubbed the mode, "Imaginary"  since it hears things that aren't there.

Wes  N7WS

On 7/3/2018 12:36 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:

> Overheard yesterday on 40 meter SSB, in reference to FT8:  “Given the level of automation and whatnot, maybe they should call it ‘magic radio’ instead of ‘ham radio’.”
>
> New contest category?
>
> Wayne
> N6KR
>
>
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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

Jim Brown-10
In reply to this post by w0mu
On 7/3/2018 2:06 PM, W0MU Mike Fatchett wrote:
> The RTTY difference is that they come back

In my experience, RTTY in a DX pileup is a pretty slow and frustrating
process for both the DX and the caller. It takes a very skilled op to
average 60 Qs/hour; a good CW op can at least double that. And I suspect
FT8 has much better immunityto noise and QRM.

73, Jim K9YC

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Re: FT8: "Magic radio"?

ANDY DURBIN
In reply to this post by ANDY DURBIN
"That is FT8.  There is no involvement once the contact starts."

That is only true is you choose to make it true.  In basic FT8 mode "auto sequence" and "Call 1st" are operator options which I sometimes choose to disable.  I also sometimes change my TX frequency in the middle of a QSO if I sense that I may not be being decoded because of QRM.

Except for the selection of the initial TX frequency I felt completely out of the loop in DXpedition mode.  I'm not saying it's a bad mode.  I'm not saying it shouldn't be used.  All I'm doing, as an experienced JT65, JT9 and FT8 operator, is commenting on my experience.

73,
Andy k3wyc


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