How to work DX on FT8

So pileups can be frustrating, for both the DX and the DE stations.  Heres how to work a DX station on FT8.

First, my three major rules about FT8:

  1. I always send 73 at the end, it confirms the end of the QSO, and gives me a few seconds to find the next station I’m going to work
  2. I try to work the weakest stations first, so drop your power.
  3. I deliberately avoid stations transmitting on the same frequency I’m transmitting on, or the freq that my current QSO is transmitting.

So, to the 2nd point, my experience, is that 30W is more than enough for most DX work in Rwanda.  Combine that with a good antenna, and your signal will get thru.  Theres no need for QRO here.

To the 3rd point.  As per my previous post, if you’re all transmitting on the same frequency, I hear nothing.  I will continue to finish my current QSO until my finals blow out.  Heres how to fix it.  First, go into your WSJT settings, and uncheck this box.  Unlock your TX from your RX.  When you’re answering me, I can hear you, I’m always watching the Band Activity window to see who is out there.  And I’m looking at your frequency.  If you’re right on top of me, I will ignore you.  500hz makes all the difference between a QSO that takes 1 minute, and a QSO that takes 5 minutes.

QSX or QRT my friends.

73,

Alan, 9X0TA

About FT8

Just like a pileup on SSB, if other stations are stepping over a current QSO, I’m not going to suddenly drop a QSO in progress to work you just because you’re loud or rude.  Wait until I finish with the QSO in progress.  I can work more stations at a higher rate of speed, which makes everyone happy in the end.

Alan, 9X0TA

The antenna is up

WOW, so the antenna is up.  And 15 feet makes an amazing difference in how my signal is getting out there.  It did help with noise somewhat, but its still around S5 on most bands.  It seems that the higher bands seem to have lower noise.

I enjoyed a great night on 15m last night, and I do sincerely appreciate all of you who laid off the TX key to let me work a weak station.

I’ll be back on 15 and then 20m later tonight.  We’ve got a good rainstorm testing out my anchoring system for the antenna (basically its paint cans at the ends of the antenna keeping it upright).

Alan, 9X0TA