Top Ten FT8 Advantages For Slackers

We just got back from a very enjoyable trip to Roatan Island that included 8 friends vacationing together. The snorkeling and beach time were lots of fun. We stayed at the Seaside Inn, highly recommended.

Bob working SSB on Roatan Island as K0NR/HR9

Of course, I took along some ham radio gear and made radio contacts from the island using the Slacker DXpedition method. The station was a Yaesu FT-991 driving an end-fed half wave wire antenna, cut for either 20m or 40m. I operating as K0NR/HR9 and my co-slacker Denny was on the air as KB9DPF/HR9. (Reciprocal licensing info is available from the Radio Club De Honduras.) We started out on SSB but that was tough going with poor propagation, so we soon found that FT8 was more effective.

Screen shot of WSJT-X running FT8 mode.

We were pleasantly surprised with how well FT8 worked out for us as it was very compatible with the Slacker DXpedition philosophy. Here are the Top Ten Reasons to Use FT8 for Island Time DX:

  • You can listen to your “island time” playlist while working DX.
  • You don’t annoy your fellow vacationers by screaming into the microphone.
  • You don’t have to worry about remembering proper phonetics.
  • You can read the other station’s QRZ page while the computer completes the contact.
  • You have time to visit the restroom without missing any contacts.
  • You can upload your log to LoTW while operating.
  • You have time to mix up a rum punch while making QSOs.
  • It doesn’t matter if you slur your speech a bit due to that extra rum punch.
  • If the run rate is really slow, the pc screensaver will kick in to entertain you.
  • You can actually make contacts when propagation sucks.

The post Top Ten FT8 Advantages For Slackers appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “Top Ten FT8 Advantages For Slackers”

  • Gary - KBØKDX:

    Sounds like a fun trip! I was licensed in 1992 and as such SSB Phone and CW were and are still my main modes of operation. During the nearly 10 years I was off the air the digital modes really developed. I have to admit I swore I’d never run FT-8. To me, running FT-8 is like kissing the wall compared to kissing your hot girlfriend…lol! Returning to the hobby in February 2018 I found myself in an HOA antenna restricted home. Due to my severely compromised antennas and terrible propagation, phone contacts were few and far between. FT-8 and the other digital modes soon caught my interest rather then just letting my expensive HAM gear take up desk space. So I am now enjoying FT-8 and other digital modes on the days SSB phone contacts are scarce. The “Top 10” list says it all. 73!

  • VK3BBW:

    Totally agree FT8 certainly gets through. But my frustration is inability to hold a conversation. PSK31 provided that to a good extent, but PSK31 seems rare these days. I assist in the VK3 QSL Inwards, and am amazed that around 75% of the recent QSLs are for FT8, and I sense the QSL Bureaus might be getting a bit overwhelmed with the volume! My 1st callsign in 1958 ws VK3ZHD (50 MHz and up) and then full licence in 1970 – lots of really good DX on HF! A few cards come through for RTTY, but even more for CW. Maybe “back to the future” using CW (without computer!)? Any comments for “conversational” modes – Olivia etc? 73’s everyone.

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