My thoughts on FT8

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  • Updated 2 months ago
I have never been a blogger but I guess it is never too late in life to become one in the Internet age.  As most of you know, FT8 has exploded on all the bands at a rate I don't recall anytime in my ham radio lifetime.  I wrote a blog about my thoughts on the subject (IMHO) that I hope you will enjoy.  

You can find it at:

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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Posted 1 year ago

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Well put Gerald.  I have a few other thoughts.

I'm not a fan of FT8, but I certainly do not think the mode will kill the hobby; rather it's just a nitche for some people.  The large migration to this mode seems to indicate that, at least for some hams, making a fast call sign and signal report exchange is more appealing than than actually meeting and talking to other hams. 

And FT8 certainly permits hams to obtain awards faster, but I wonder if making these goals too easy, is actually counter productive?  After FT8'ers all end up with all their awards hanging on their walls, then what?  Personally I like looking at my awards and remembering some of the hams I talked to that made that award possible, and the friends I made in the process.  But hey, that's just me.

I also think FT8 proves we are just a short hop to fully automatic QSO's, where no operator is actually needed at all.  But we have self-driving cars now, so why not self-filling logbooks? 

Thankfully we have many modes to choose from.  Each to their own.

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I love FT8

I set a goal of 100 countries in a year but did that so quickly that I upped the goal to 200 countries in a year. Hit 198 in 6 months 199, 200 and 201 took the rest of a year- 173 confirmed via LOTW.. (its the 21st Century.. no QSL Cards).

About 150 countries were worked from SOCAL when I was remote in the E.U.. {No I do not care if they officially count for DXCC because I worked them remote from another country - yet another stupid outdated rule}

Thought I was a Hot operator until I saw my neighbor John NA6L with over 300 countries on FT8

The mode is definitely saving ham radio from boredom when no sunspots.
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Gene - K3GC

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Don't knock it if you haven't tried it. (many seem to expect you to be an instant convert the instant you do try it.)  

I tried CW to the point where I achieved a fairly sloppy 20wpm  -yes, I benefitted from no code extra. I could never learn to like it. So back to SSB.

I tried FT8, read all I could find about, got it all set up, made a bunch of contacts, and was bored silly. So back to SSB.  Propagation sucks so I have to work harder - two ATNOs this year - 303 and counting.

For me if there ain't two voices involved it just ain't radio.  That's me.  My ultimate goal is to reach honor role exclusively with SSB.  I am also disinterested in a piece of paper.  I know who I talked to and logged and that's all i need. 

enough soap box. 

If you haven't done it, try it.  If you don't like it do something else.  If nothing works for you try needle point - it's a lot cheaper and it wont piss of the neighbors.

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Dave - W6OVP

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The day they outlawed spark transmission was the beginning of the end for Ham Radio. Just look what has happened since then. Oh, wait... </s> <g>.
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Nick Cloyes

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I would like to comment on your statement “What will kill amateur radio is if we cease to innovate, become old and grumpy, and no longer bring new blood into the hobby.”

Being 75 years old and a ham for 53 years, I agree with you completely!  My first question before becoming a ham was “What do hams do?” and I was told that hams are experimenters.  I think SDR, computers, internet access, and digital modes have enriched the hobby.  I think we should never stop learning and experimenting at any age!

Nick – N4CL