Playing with FT8 Digital Mode

I decided to play with some digital modes on the HF bands. This was interesting and very different from the things I have done before. While most people think of Ham radio as just voice and a bunch of noise, FT8 proves them wrong.

FT8 is great when the bands are in bad condition or you are running low power. The main point of this mode is to make DX contacts in horrible conditions. At this is shines above just about all else I have used.

FT8 does have its downsides. It is not really made for conversations or passing information. It seems best suited for those that are wanting to fill a log book. But it should not be overlooked how easy this is for new people who often struggle with getting started an need that little bit of extra motivation. While it is helping new HAMs get their feet wet it also teaches about band propagation. All this without being punishing.

There is another thing that makes this mode really fun and easy for new Hams. If you use WSJT-X and connect it to your radio. You can make the connections, almost, automated. Then you will need to be able to log those connections. I use JTAlert to log the connections and that is also automated. Pretty simple to setup and work.

Just to give you an example of how good this is. I don’t have much room in the attic to put an antenna and I cant put one outside because of HOA. That means I have a hard time getting out and receiving. FT8 cuts right through and allows me to make DX contacts.

If you are new to Ham radio HF and digital you should give FT8 try. It is really rewarding and fun. It is also much faster than other communication on the HF bands. I am going to put up a tutorial on how to connect this to your radio soon. So keep an eye out for that.



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