a 93-year young Amateur on FT8. Antenna restrictions make digital modes only real option for him to active & stay on the air.
You need a spry mind to keep up with FT8 QSOs because it's like a continuous contest or "sprint" because of the
fast two-way QSOs & trying to keep up with properly logging contacts because the eQSL card request rates are crazy high for
the new mode.
16 October 2017
Added the last of year 2016 revised & reissued releases of my past columns (ATD024, 025
and 026) plus support files to the All Things Digital section.
13 October 2017
Added new HamAlert web widgets to top
of this page. Found out about this great & free service via an FT8 contact looking up their QRZ listing.
HamAlert supports many different messaging ways to receive your own or other station DX spots in real-time.
08 October 2017
adventures continue! Worked Iceland station & UN World Bank Group ARC in Washington, DC (bankers gotta have fun, too!). Using
the mode to test various antenna designs due to its fast turn around rate. I can see how signals vary, in real-time, across the
world in FT8 monitor mode & use PSKReporter to show my station's results collected by its automatic logbook. Twenty metres
is just crazy full of DX & U.S. signals, but Canuck stations are rare enough that I get quite a few "double strikes" when
calling "CQ" & FT8 is "smart" enough to sort things out for you on the fly. My eQSL request rate is nearly 50% of all
my contacts so proper logkeeping (electronic/paper) is a must. The much older JT modes faded away (literally overnight)
from HF use because of FT8!
24 September 2017
Got to work K1JT via FT8 on 20 m today! Saw his CQ & got him on the first
try. Not too often you get to hook up with a Nobel Laureate & the "father" of WSPR, JT modes & "co-father" of FT8. My
station has streamed 8193 spots to PSKReporter from 68 different countries including Easter Island, Galapagos Islands & the
17 September 2017
Spent part of Sunday afternoon
using the newest, fastest growing & hottest Amateur Radio
digital mode FT8 with my FT-857 & old XP laptop. In just a few hours, worked 25 U.S. stations & 1 Italian & spotted
252 others (total 278) from over 9 different countries. For some reason, there was a "pipeline" to the U.S. southwest where
my 25 watt signal was peaking between +5 to +7 dB (SNR) with my homemade multiband vertical. The PSKReporter site supports
the new mode (plus others) & collects data from stations worldwide. I could graphically display FT8 data automatically
streamed to the site from my station & others & downloaded a custom logbook it created for me. It's a fast &
furious & fun mode profiled in the October & November issues of QST. There are some few cool features provided by
the WSJT-X software to go with the of data modes it supports.
06 September 2017
Reycled an old WRT-54G router left over
from a BBHN mesh project & reflashed it with awesome DD-WRT Linux firmware & reprogrammed it as a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
repeater & access point (AP). A way was needed to get the signal from my basement radio shack to the far backyard where a
new Bloomsky 5-in-1 Wi-Fi weather station could connect for remote access to its UV sensor & wide-angle sky
shot camera. This method was used because current consumer Wi-Fi "plug-in wall socket" repeaters & APs can't be reflashed
or connected to hidden networks & I didn't want to make my network visible to the public, but you can with
a DD-WRT reflashed router & security settings customized, as required. You can also remove & replace the WRT-54's
two stock antennas with high gain 2.4 GHz verticals (which I did) or use high gain beams to really extend the range. I love it!
The DD-WRT website was a bit confusing to me, but a Google search found the information for the WRT series and explained
things in simple, small steps for non-networking/server people like myself (still took me three tries to get it right).
Testing new v3 RTL-SDR USB
dongle with improvements from earlier versions, including HF receive ability which is very good & better than using a separate
upconverter. The ability to turn its built-in 5 VDC bias-T circuit on/off under software control is a major plus over the older v2's.
power splitter to my external horizontal delta loop & feeding my KiwiSDR & RTL-SDR v3 dongle separately with it. Can
now receive & live stream four separate WSPR bands (usually 160, 80, 40 and 30 m), one QRSS band (30 m) plus
one SSTV band (20 m).