You might have read about a new digital mode in QST this month. Apparently it was part of a pre-release version of WSJT-X, but it is already in wide use. If you saw our program on JT65 last fall, or have used JT65, this is very similar. In JT65 each exchange is 1 minute, and a full QSO takes 5 minutes. In FT8, an exchange is 15 seconds, and a QSO takes about 1 minute and 15 seconds or 1 1/2 minutes.
JT65 obviously allows contacts with weaker stations, but FT8 is substantially quicker to complete a QSO.
Because of the minimal time allowed between decoding a transmission a the start of the next one (2 seconds), FT8 usually requires auto-sequencing of the standard exchanges. This makes the QSO almost automated (except for choosing the station to contact or calling CQ).
This might make FT8 more fun, or less fun, depending on your point-of-view.
If JT65 was boring for you because of the length of each transmission, FT8 is a mode you might want to try.
Search WSJT-X, and download the latest version (currently a version 1.8 Release candidate. The released version doesn’t have FT8)
Here are some of my favorite channels:
Mr. Carlson’s Lab
Mr. Carlson is VE7ZWZ. He has an amazing shop full of test equipment. It seems like his videos are intended for a wide audience, so depending on your point of view, it may be too basic or too advanced. But most people will probably learn something.
Terry Dayton N6TLU specializes in tube equipment, either vintage guitar amplifiers or ham equipment. Good info on restoring and troubleshooting.
I’m s sorry I don’t know who this is. His videos are mostly repair of ham radio gear. He sounds German, or from that area of Europe. His English is very good. The videos are fairly slow paced but quite thorough. His explanations of his troubleshooting strategies is excellent.
A wide variety of topics. Repair, tutorials, test equipment. Some great stuff.
The Radio Shop
Another channel with a bunch of ham radio repair videos.
Not really any ham radio content, but vintage electronics stuff. Mostly guitar and audio tube amplifiers.
Lots of general electronics stuff for a hobbyist.
Who knew there was so much to know about solder?
I’m not sure how huge a bug this is, as people are successfully having digital QSOs, but thought it might be worth linking to. I’m going to check mine setup –
This looks interesting. 2m, 220, and 440 capability.
Arduino Based Transceiver
I’ve had a personal weather station running at my QTH for about 6 years. For the last 5 or so it has been feeding the data to a Linux PC running various version of Ubuntu, and using a software package “Wview” to process the information. It created HTML pages, FTP’ed the files to my website, submitted data to the CWOP “Citizen Weather Observer Program”, and also submitted info the Weather Underground. A few of years ago I added a webcam to the system.
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