A nice FT8 afternoon.

I was on the radio this afternoon and decided to give FT8 a try on 20 meters. I made some contacts in the U.S., France, Germany and Spain. Then out of the blue, I had a station from Japan call me and I did not notice any J stations I was decoding but I was very pleased regarding the contact. Then once again out of nowhere another J is calling me and I made my second contact. I took a look at PSK reporter to see where my FT8 signal was being spotted. I was shocked to see not only Japan but also Hawaii. A very nice time on the radio today.  

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “A nice FT8 afternoon.”

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    Sounds like you are having fun with FT8 like most of us do. The more I use FT8 and WSPR the more I realize I really don’t understand propagation. I have experienced making a contact in Alaska, followed by one in the Virgin Islands and Cuba, follow by Japan then New Zealand all with in minutes of each other. It blows my mind. Then, like you, I go to PSK reporter and find my signals all over the planet. This just adds to the fun.

    A bit of update from here:
    * My MFJ-1786 is now totally dead. It took a hard fall during a horrible wind storm and hit the ground hard. Very hard. It broke the tuning cap shaft to the motor and broke the motor. It is now in my bone yard for future projects. After 15 yrs of on and off use, I will miss it.
    * For travel and experimentation I purchased a MFJ-9232 QRP loop to play with. It is good for 25 watts. I Plan on using it with my Xeigu G90 at about 10-15 watts. FT8 and WSPR checking should be fun and interesting. I also am pulling the AMP module out of my K3/100 and adding a factory jumper and making it a K3/10 for more fun and games.
    * While researching Loop antenna designs I discovered ALL low in low power loops antennas that cost $300 to $450 can be made for less then $50.. A lot less. Sooooo I will be making one shortly. Should be interesting and fun to build and use.
    * To be honest my CW, especially with a straight key sucks. Character timing is all over the place. So when I saw CW-Elmer in QST I had to build it. My first wall to making it was the display. It turned out the writer of the article had one in is junk box. It also turned out to be hard to find and very expensive. The 1602, serial 2 line display is cheap…Very cheap so I wrote to him about changing the code for it. Turns out lots of others already asked before me and he sent me a updated version of the code. I just built it and getting ready to package it. I will be using it in line with the key to TX to display what I think I sent and have it help me send perfect straight key code.

    Since you like to have fun with FT8 and WSPR get a MFJ-9232 and go QRP inside the house when the weather is bad and see if that will add a new level of excitement to you radio fun. I suspect it will..

    Take care. 73 to you and yours and thank you for sharing once again

    Harry K7ZOV

  • Elwood Downey, WB0OEW:

    Hello gentlemen,

    Yes, these low SNR modes can make for some fun and interesting operating sessions. They show how the ionosphere is very dynamic, not captured at all by the models that are based solely on long-term trends such as VOACAP. Recently I was working some CONUS stations when all sudden I was called by a station in Antarctica — how cool is that?

    Enjoy, and 73, Elwood, WB0OEW

  • Mike Weir:

    Good afternoon Harry very nice to hear from you, yes PSK reporter is very nice and I also use ham spots as well. That program does not offer the map that PSK has but sometimes you can get some different spot info there. Well getting 15 years from the loop is amazing and it had to be a wind storm that did it in if not for the wind I imagine you would have had many more years of use. Mine has been sold as you know as I really had nowhere for it here at the new location. I guess it’s no longer a new location as we have almost been here for 2 years now.
    I have never heard of the MFJ 9232 and after looking it up to my surprise there were many good reviews. Yes, loops are not cheap at all and this MFJ unit even though low power levels can only be used it’s a great bargain for sure.
    Take care Harry and stay well

  • Mike Weir:

    Good afternoon Elwood, yes it can turn out to be a very interesting time whenever the rig is turned on for sure. You just never know what is going to happen. Oh and I visited your QRZ page and a very nice hamclock project.
    73 and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment,

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