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.


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


About logging

So I had someone send an email regarding logging.  So I’ll outline my complete steps.

  1. QSOs are entered into N1MM+ logger as they are made.  I do not keep paper logs.
  2. As the QSOs are entered, they get automatically uploaded to Clublog. You can see the log in real time. (Unless I forget to start up the program that transfers directly, which sometimes happens)
  3. At the end of the night, or sometimes if I take a break, I export to an ADIF file.
  4. I use TQSL to upload the ADIF to LoTW.
  5. After giving LoTW a few minutes to process the file, I use to download directly from LoTW and update my logbook there.

I do not upload to or any other site.  I have found that their interface is just too clunky and time consuming, whereas LoTW and QRZ are relatively easy.

I do like physical cards from everyone, but of course I also appreciate having the logs electronically verified.  The instant satisfaction of seeing a rare or new DX country or state marked as verified is nice.  For everyone who has done so, I appreciate it.


Alan 9X0TA / KE4TA

Thank you to everyone on 15m tonight

Thanks to everyone on 15m tonight.  I sincerely appreciate everyone getting quiet to let me work a few difficult stations out there.  I’m sure they appreciate it as well.

15m seems to be a great band for the time being, lots of room for everyone to spread out, so I can hear individual stations.  Helps keep ‘the wall’ from forming.

I did see a few dupes in the log.  Please if I’ve worked you, let me get to other stations.  If you’re worried that you might not be in the log, I upload to club log the instant the QSO is over, so you can always check to make sure you’re properly logged.  If there’s an issue with time or freq, please send me an email and we’ll work out corrections.

Alan 9X0TA / KE4TA

So, if I can’t complete the QSO

So, if I can’t complete the QSO because people are being rude, and jumping over the next guy, I can’t complete the next QSO, or the next, or the next.  It frustrates you, it frustrates me.  Fortunately for me, I have a motorcycle, a bicycle, running shoes, language lessons, and a million other things I could be doing with my time, including sleeping as of right now.  So be nice, let the other station finish a QSO before screaming your callsign at the top of your lungs.  If its not fun for me, I’ll spend my evenings with another one of my hobbies.