Category Archives: FT8

Hard not to be excited about the new Tennadyne T-12Log Periodic Antenna

Tennadyne T-12 Antenna up at 76 ft on Skyneedle at K9ZW Main QTH

The Tennadyne T-12 is up at about 76 ft (23m) but I don’t have the rotator controller set up yet, so it is essential fixed.

Yet the performance already has me enthused!

First day running FT8 in the background (I was pretty busy, so I missed a lot of DX opportunities) netting a bunch of DX – over 40 DXCC entities in 165 QSOs!

In no particular order:

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What Time is it? Can you hear me? FT8 Timing Issues – Part 2

Spent some time just watching FT8 waterfalls, where it is obvious that some stations are off timing.

What is telling that quite a few seem to be on the same “off” together, suggesting that there may be a computer clock induced issue.

Ragged Finish to an FT8 Cycle

Ragged Start to an FT8 Cycle

My theory is that many stations experienced the same NTP issue simultaneously moves their time sync off in-mass.

If the cumulative offset is too much, decoding stops and the operator will look for a fix, otherwise they will continue on.

There are specifications to all this, but as I mentioned upgrading my NTP service to the latest sorted out my PCs.



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What Time is it? Can you hear me? FT8 Timing/Sound Woes and Corrections

Time is important to do Digital Modes

One of the workstations I remotely use to run my stations is under enterprise update control, resulting in less say when patches and updates get applied.

Seems the latest round of updates messed with two things – time and sound. Kind of the two most important parts to run a timed digital mode like FT8!

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A bit of Island (WI-001L) Operations

Been out operating FT8 from our Washington Island (Wisconsin) QTH. Antenna is a DX Engineering Hexbeam at 6 ft (yes just six feet).

“Armstrong rotator” to manually point the antenna the way I’d like it, Flex-6700 running barefoot, controlled by the little HP EliteDesk computer with the latest SmartSDR 3.2.39 software release.

I am cleaning the basement radio room, so FT8 is kind of nice as I only have to poke at the keyboard here and there. That lets me get some cleaning done at the same time as doing QSOs.

During 2020 we were seldom at our Island QTH – most just visited to do chores and left once the chores were complete.

This year we are hoping for a bit more “island time” in the mix. Having a son doing his remote grad school work from our main QTH makes leaving that QTH behind easier. If something needs rebooting he is all over it for us.

Station upgrades are in the works, with some serious antenna improvements a priority.



FT8SP FT8 & FT4 Polish Award Program

Much like a US State QSO party, the FT8SP FT8 & FT4 Polish Award Program is about making QSOs to Poland’s Provinces.

Today’s Poland has 16 provinces, which is a number that differs when my Prussian ancestors came stateside from Poland in the early 1800’s. The number of provinces has greatly varied from a historic low similar to the present 16 to 49 provinces up to 1998.

Poland’s Provinces (Current)

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Is FT8 really better than No Radio at All?

First a disclaimer – as I type this post my station is running a single instance of WSJX FT8 on the other monitor. I’ve made 6 QSOs on 160m and 3 QSOs on 80m for the day so far. Missed some opportunities as I was reading which cost me the possible pounce-for-QSO opportunities while focused elsewhere.

Is FT8 really better than No Radio at All?

Had a long phone call with a ham who is setting up a new station with his brand new Flex-6400 yesterday, where we touched on the types of QSOs. Neither of us are focused on CW and while I have done a significant amount of digital HF my buddy has not. He has been voice all the way, though on the UHF/VHF end he has an interest in digitized voice.

For this post’s purposes I’ll discuss HF.

The modes of HF operation range from Transactional-QSO to Conversational-QSO as the main axis of differentiation.

Digital as a technique divides into Transactional-QSO to Conversational-QSO in the same way as Voice (Phone) or CW.
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