Thursday, September 27, 2018

FT8 (v2) test contest

I spent about 20 minutes in the 1-hour "mock contest" last night, an event set up to test the feasibility of using FT8 to send and receive contest exchanges.

The event used the ARRL RTTY Roundup exchange which, for NA participants, was "RST State/Province".

Upon selecting the RTTY Roundup in WSJT's menu the user is prompted to enter their exchange info. I inputted an arbitrary signal strength and entered "599 TX" into the field. I should not have entered the 599 or any signal report - I learned during the contest that the software will generate a signal report based on the received station's dB level.

While my Message Field looked erroneous (with two signal reports inserted), the actual transmissions sent were correctly.

In addition to correcting my error, the software worked without any hiccups and it was nice to see the state/province of the received station being displayed.

Although I have never participated in a RTTY contest and have no interest in doing do, this method of operating a RTTY-like mode does appeal and I'm looking forward to operating FT8 in an upcoming compatible contest.


  1. Well John, the time of this contest was a lyyle early in the morning here. I need my sleep ;-). Anyway it looks interesting. Hopefully FT8 will replace the power consuming, slow and antique RTTY contests. 73, Bas

  2. Agree with you Bas 73 de SV1GRN

  3. Yes, it was late for EU. There will probably be more of these since WSJT-X is due to have monthly updates until at least December. I know CW has been affected by the popularity of FT8 - has RTTY as well? I'd be surprised if not.

    73 - John


  4. While I am not pleased that FT8 is honing in on my favorite contest mode, I do have a constructive comment. A station should be allowed to work another station once per mode per band. One mode pure RTTY and the other digital with digital being PSK, Olivia, FT8 etc. Maybe even allow 2 points for RTTY and one point for digital.

    Also, the ARRL VHF contests should allow CW, SSB and digital each per band.

    Bottom line, want more points, work more than just FT8. Just want to see a more level playing field than FT8 being the only game in town.

    BTW I do operate FT8 and am even counting grid squares.

    de KW7WP

    1. I think that's a good idea too - it would certainly add more participating stations to the event overall. If the ARRL did this for the RTTY RU, other contest organizers might make the same changes as well.

      I have mixed feelings on FT8's impact on CW. For 40 years, I've been a mostly CW operator and now the CW sub-bands are starting to look like a ghost town unless there's a contest or DXpedition going on. FT8 is only a part of the reason for that. So I'm sorry to see CW becoming less and less used although I do enjoy FT8.

      73 and thanks for the comment (have you considered suggesting it to the contest coordinator for the RTTY RU?).

    2. Yup, already did!

      73 de KW7WP