Category Archives: FT8

FT8 and QSL Cards

When a QSO is pretty impersonal, fleeting in time, and distilled down to the absolute basics to qualify as a QSO, what level of courtesy does that QSO deserve in memorializing the communication in a QSL Card?

Many operators log their FT8 QSOs using Log Book of the World, eQSL, QRZ Log, and others, but a few take the time to send out proper QSL cards.

Some operators request return QSL cards as well.

Does an FT8 QSO deserve a QSL card?

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One way of handling logs from several different WSJTX instances

Andy KU7T had asked in reference to my write up on background FT8 QSOs:

“How do you combine your QSOs with your master log? Or do you just import the ADIF later? Then how do you know what is an ATNO?”

Breaking his questions down:

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Background FT8 Remote via SmartLink and SmartSDR for Windows

Background FT8 Remote via SmartLink and SmartSDR for Windows

If you spend long hours desk-bound like I do, your thoughts may also wander to the question “Could I make some QSOs during work?

Back in SmartSDR v1 days I started with a Raspberry Pi VPN using a Maestro during lunch hours. Those phone (SSB) QSOs were pretty few.  Fist I had limited time and then if staff knew I was in the building they had things to bring to my attention, which is hard to manage when you are also in QSO!

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For Contesting will FT8 give way to a new contest mode (FT4)?

Just as FT8 is an evolutionary mode considering the large amount of experience from JT9 and JT65, it looks that FT8 (for the purposes for of contesting) may be displaced a new mode.

Joe (K1JT), Steve (K9AN), and Bill (G4WJS) are moving their latest development to a larger group of testers, aiming for widespread testing by the end of April.

Though bits of information have come my way from a couple sources, I do not think the development team was making a general public announcement, so I’m going to apologize for a teaser post until they give a green light for wider PR efforts.

I am quite grateful that the FT8 continues to advance digital mode amateur radio with efforts on many fronts.

Check in at for any announcements.

— Update — just learned that the FT4 mode was made at least semi-public in recent presentations, and the mode is intended to challenge the QSO rate of RTTY contesting.

—- Update I added more in eth comments, but the pdf the development team released has a lot of information with the proposed test mock-contests!



K9ZW Upgrades to FlexRadio Systems SmartSDR version 3.0 with multiFlex

K9ZW Upgrades to FlexRadio Systems SmartSDR version 3.0 with multiFlex

This week FRS released SmartSDR v3.0 adding multiFlex to the Flex-6000 working environment.

I’ve updated all four K9ZW radios. Actually the Two Flex-6700s were updated as part of the FRS Alpha Testing program, where invited testers were allowed to buy their upgrades early in the process as part of the QA (Quality Assurance) and testing process.

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Some Further FT8 Thoughts

Okay what is FT8 like after a bunch of QSOs?

Personally I cannot see FT8 being “my radio experience” by itself. The QSOs are fairly soulless and while technically fulfilling every aspect of a recordable QSO they lack the gravitas of a human-to-human QSO.

As we all use some aids to our radio efforts, whether Spots, Keyers, Memories, Macros and other QSO-flow-aids there is no point in getting self righteous about the highly automated FT8 QSO experience.

The hobby and regulatory consensus of what is a “true QSO” is easily met by FT8.

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