FT8 6m DX

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FT8 6m DX

Postby VK3OE » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:58 pm

Since the introduction of this mode it has generated a substantial surge in 6m digital activity and many long haul contacts. The most notable recent signals heard were in June from EU and central Asia from VK3 and VK5, but as far as I know no contacts were completed. Contacts were completed from VK8 but as far as I know nothing from VK2,4,6 or 7. This raises the issue of the station capability at this end as well as the big question "if we had used JT65 would we have had more success"?

I look forward to more long haul DX on 6m in the coming summer and next winter, as well as upgrading my remote station.

Then there is also the possibility of DX to S Africa.

The extra gain of the digital modes has mede a great difference as well as the single frequency operation means we do not have to go searching the band. This comes with a down side in that our VK signals can easily get lost in a single crowded segment so we need to look to being able to shift frequency from 313 when it gets exciting.

Good luck.
Andrew
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK4WTN » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:48 am

hi Andrew, nice to see the forum back. Paul VK4MA had several completed qsos this winter and Brian VK5BC worked some.
Exciting times ahead on 6M
cheers Wayne
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK6OX » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:57 pm

On 7th July, received 3 EU stations...OE6MDF, OE6ANG and S51DI. Sigs ranged from -16 to -20 over a 3 minute period. No 2-ways, unfortunately.
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK5PJ » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:41 pm

50 MHz signals into VK5 during June/July were there over a LONG period of time and had fast fading some days, I know one of the completed contacts was on JT65A as I was on there calling at the time when the contact was made. The EU stations either run a lot of power or have a high noise floor, I suspect it is a bit of both :crazy:

Not sure if there were any successful two ways on FT8 during that time (maybe in vk3? ) as it has a lower sensitivity compared to JT65 and it would seem we need every extra dB we can scrape together to be heard in EU.
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK5BC » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:16 pm

On several days in Late June I decoded several EU stations on FT8, the best being on the 27th June, summary below:

VK5BC Gawler Grid PF95JJ
FT8 6M EU OPENING 27TH JUNE 2018

Calllsign, UTC 1st Decode, Number Decodes, Best Signal, Grid, Distance Kms

IZ4AIK 053500 1 -16 JN63hv 15349
IK4DRY 053700 15 -11 JN64bl 15398 WORKED
IK4ISR 053800 3 -16 JN54qq 15456
I4EAT 053900 7 -14 JN54wh 15414
S57RR 053900 3 -15 JN65um 15282
I4GAD 054230 1 -22 JN54nl 15476
IZ5DKJ 054730 7 -15 JN53gu 15515 REPORTED ME -18
I6WJB 055400 5 -17 JN72ck 15201
IK0FTA 061500 1 -20 JN61gv 15332
DK2EA 063600 2 -17 JO50uf 15448

TOTAL DECODES 45
A contact was completed with IK4DRY with -11 sent and -21 received.

1ST DECODE 053500 UTC
LAST DECODE 063630 UTC

Then on the 29th June again EU FT8 signals decoded including S57RR who went to JT65 where I completed a JT65 contact, see below;

20180629_065104 Transmitting 50.276 MHz JT65: S57RR VK5BC -16
0652 -15 -0.1 768 # VK5BC S57RR R-18 Slovenia
20180629_065300 Transmitting 50.276 MHz JT65: S57RR VK5BC RR73
0654 -15 -0.1 768 # VK5BC S57RR 73 Slovenia
0656 -19 0.1 768 # CQ DX S57RR JN65 Slovenia
0658 -25 0.1 767 # CQ DX S57RR JN65 Slovenia

Signals were easily seen on the waterfall but at times very weak, biggest trouble QRM at there end with many stations calling, you needed to be in the even block as they were all calling in odd block.

It seems the vk4/8 openings were earlier in June and later in the month down south, several VK3's also reported EU FT8 decodes, including VK3WE, VK3OE and VK3BD.

73's Brian
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK1JA » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:21 am

HI Brian,

Very impressive!

Were these decodes via long path or short path?

Cheers

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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK3MEG » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:03 pm

great results guys hence my reasoning for the upgrade i am now vk3ktt
there has been talk and use of 50.323 as an alternative dx frequency mainly push from the ja side in ft8. this is the reference article https://www.dxmaps.com/dxcalendard.php?Lan=&Cod=2020
the main focus appears to be ja to eu and us no mention of OC we need to let people know where we are listening. do we move our local freq also a suggestion to peopel to set a over run setting so people don't leave their ft8 txing for 10 20 mins my personal one is set @ 4 mins not the default 6 mins.


jt65 has appeared to fade from use although a better dx option
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK5PJ » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:17 pm

Hello Steve,
Congrats on the new call.. from what little I understood it was the USA stations that started 50.323 for 'dx only' as the big boys were annoyed by all the weekend warriors with 5 watts and a vertical antenna. I guess you need to decide on what is your personal reason to be on 50 MHz digital, maybe its the social aspect or maybe the search for a new country, each person will have a different answer to that eternal question.

VK3MEG wrote: i am now vk3ktt
there has been talk and use of 50.323 as an alternative dx frequency mainly push from the ja side in ft8. this is the reference article
https://www.dxmaps.com/dxcalendard.php?Lan=&Cod=2020


Hmm,, 3KTT that means you have Advanced Theory and regs from what I remember, so that makes you an Advanced license holder?
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK3ZAZ » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:21 am

Well done MEG
Onwards and upwards

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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK1JA » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:41 am

Big congrats Steve, well done!

Just on the subject of running FT8, one feature which would be nice is to have it transmit once every say 10mins, rather than the standard of every 15 seconds. You may miss the very short openings, but at least it would be more appropriate to run in the background while working on projects on the bench, maybe? Saying that, I suppose that multiple stations can use FT8 at the same time, but I'm just conscious not leave FT8 running for too long.
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Re: FT8 JT modes

Postby VK3ZAZ » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:21 am

summer is here
prep needed
protocol needed
what mode for trans polar
stay alert dont clag up the dx timing period by calling out of sequence s9+++
develope a situational awareness dont stuff it up like last summer please.
maybe we need fox and hounds god forbid.
certainly split frequency and maybe any frequency to avoid qrmining each other.
this is too important to stuff up.
and if signals get to +1 for gods sake jump to another mode like cw and make qso in ten seconds flat dont stuff around watching grass growing sequences.
if you can hear the flaming tones you can work in cw.
go down on hf check your timing, your rf feedback, your alc and get experience.
dont call on the dx channel he is using unlock tx and rx.
soap box away.
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK3ZAZ » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:28 am

VK1JA wrote:Big congrats Steve, well done!

Just on the subject of running FT8, one feature which would be nice is to have it transmit once every say 10mins, rather than the standard of every 15 seconds. You may miss the very short openings, but at least it would be more appropriate to run in the background while working on projects on the bench, maybe? Saying that, I suppose that multiple stations can use FT8 at the same time, but I'm just conscious not leave FT8 running for too long.


catch 22
you have to decode it to work it and set the sequence up.
so do you tx and if so what percent.
last summer called cq got 4 countries answering at once.
jt65 too long but great ears.
wspr perfect but then you have to get off wspr or be content to see n3izn for three summers swl only.
ft8 jury is out too fast too furious too risky.
time will tell if sensitive enough for the fleeting transpolar stuff
dont second guess it and watch the sequences who is ODD who is EVEN.
if in doubt LISTEN.
too many alligators last summer.
then
cw qso with lu took ten seconds
dont forget there are always options.
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK6SIX » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:48 am

VK3ZAZ


"cw qso with lu took ten seconds"

I taught you well... 10 seconds has got me many new ones.

tnx

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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK7HH » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:41 am

I see a few VK6's have commented on this post.

Jayson mentioned the ability to leave unattended.
Has everyone forgotten about WSPR? "Oh but it's not a real contact"..... correct. But... it allows everyone else to see when the band is open, thus leading to people moving to FT8 to make contacts. I keep reading far more often here of people working FT8 contacts over long distances, but they seem to be the only ones, because nobody else knows the band is open?

Perhaps if we could get more people to leave their dials on WSPR to report back when propagation is open, it may increase activity on FT8.
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK2CSW » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:17 pm

You could use WSPR, I guess. Or use the coalesced data from the reporting functions of other modes all at the same time here:

https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html

Enter the following parameters:
On: (whatever band you want but I would surmise 6m)
Show: Signals, Sent By, Anyone, (Blank)
Using: All Modes
Over the last: 15 Minutes
Click Go.

Worth a look.
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK7HH » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:04 pm

Thanks Colin.
I’ve tried using PSKReporter before without much success, in fact I think if uploading to PSKReporter is ticked in WSJT it does not upload WSPR spots, I think it does FT8.

Also PSKReporter function is buried in the menus so it relies on operators actually turning on that function.
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK6OX » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:25 pm

FT8 has shown that openings can be very brief. Unless you run WSPR at 50% or more, I can't see the point.
I used to run WSPR before the advent of FT8 and it was effective, but not so much now in my view.

Not sure why you picked out VK6s in your earlier post Hayden....there were only two posts, one of which did NOT relate to FT8! :crazy:
73
Andy VK6OX

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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK7HH » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:30 pm

Hi Andy,
I picked out VK6’s because I noticed a few had commented on this thread, and being a lack of VK6’s on WSPR I wanted to get your attention.

You are correct, Sporadic E openings can be very brief, however how does one actually use FT8 to view if the band is open? I’m assuming not running FT8 24/7 as rigs would get very hot?

I’ve run WSPR on 6m and 2m for many years and it’s shown many paths that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. Not bagging FT8, just trying to find the most efficient method of probing when the propagation is open, then move to voice or FT8 :)
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Re: FT8 6m DX

Postby VK3MEG » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:13 am

i'm pretty adaptive and use any mode to get the dx ft jt 65 what ever but please remember there is ssb and cw the other day the band was working a little in and out massive qsb but i managed to work 2 station in sideband vk4ti whos antenna was 3 meters off the ground and vk2upr who was mobile running 50 watts in pt macquarie not dx for sure but when there has been so few opening its something. there are still quite a few hams who dont use digital modes so be aware. its too easy to sit near your computer desk and watch the screen if the signals are +08 or better its worth grabbing the mic and having a shout.
Hayden ft8 is a better tool for E's is some respects i use both wspr and ft8 to test and probe there are reporting sites to find out who heard you on ft8 if the people have the button checked.
cheers
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