My Thoughts On FT8

If you have not been living under a rock and look now and again at internet forums or other social media, you will have come across many discussions about how FT8 is going to be the death of Amateur Radio and that DXCC is now worthless because someone can do it automatically with a bot and get dxcc in a week.

Now having played with the mode for a few weeks and sat here at the desk for a few hours watching paint dry while i click the buttons to make WSJT work, I have come to the conclusion that this easy mode dxcc in a week is not only kind of bullshit, it is actually bullshit. Let me explain.

Most of us have very modest stations. A couple of dipoles and run low power. The above map is where I was being heard last night on 40m running 10w into a dipole. Yes, 10w. The max power my license allows in digital modes is 30w. The main thing you will notice about that map is that there are not 100 countries that are hearing me. More like 15. And then you have to get passed the wall of Japan.

I was being heard by equal numbers of US and JA stations, but that does not mean I am going to work WAS in a week either. I made 4 contacts with the USA and 30 with Japan. I am fresh meat and the JA’s are big on working everyone and sending out QSL cards. The same goes for Indonesia.

So maybe if you are in the EU or North America and have a Kw station, FT8 might be an easier path to DCXX, its not like that for everyone. In fact, most people are not running high power or have big antennas and for those of us like that means that we can work some DX during the bottom of the cycle which keeps us interested.

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