Wednesday, October 24, 2018
VP6D's amazing performance
I anticipate long CQ's in a week or so as they search for stations who've not yet worked them. And thanks to FT8, DXers with compromise antennas, poor locations or a lack of CW skill can join the fray and put a rare entity into their logs.
Yesterday, in a light rain, I reconfigured my 80m dipole as a top-loaded vertical for 160 meters. The RF ground consists of one elevated radial about 60 meters long and eventually connected to the chain link fence that runs across my back yard. Another short wire connects the ground at the feed point to my cold water piping.
This was sufficient to hear VP6D on 160m at an honest 599 and for me to work them on the first call with 550 watts being squirted into the antenna from the Flex/KPA-500 pile-up busting combo.
For CW, I only lack them now on 10 and 30 meters.
FT8's DX mode is fun in a very different way than CW. Working VP8D on CW gives me fulfillment that FT8 does not. If I've worked VP6D on CW, I do feel as if I've worked them. If I only worked them with FT8, I personally wouldn't claim to have that entity "worked" even though the powers that be (ARRL, LoTW, ClubLog, etc) would allow it.
FT8 is like eating a snack and calling it a meal. It satisfies in the short term but is an abbreviation of the real thing.
Nevertheless, I appreciate the technology behind it and enjoy the mechanization of the fox/hound mode, ie seeing my transmit frequency move in response to being addressed by the DX. The very thing others criticize is what fascinates me the most. My life story in summary...