FT-8


KFF Coordinator
 

I've been asked about working FT-8 from the parks. I know the exchange is very short and you are limited on characters. How would you recommend the exchange go when using FT-8 from a park? My knowledge of FT-8 is very limited so I really cannot comment on this.


Detrick Merz
 

I believe I was the one with thoughts on FT8. As a low power operator (I use a KX3), I've often had trouble making even 10 QSOs, under the old rules. It's great to say, "just go back to the park again," but many of the parks I've worked from aren't near my home state (I did 3 in WA, and live in VA). For my last activation, in FL, I decided to haul a laptop in and try FT8. It really saved the day, getting me half my contacts before the laptop battery started getting low.

But I have a general concern: it's hard for people to tell I'm in a park. This results in a few other concerns:

1) I'm less likely to get spotted - spots are super important to a low power op.

2) I'm not doing a good job of promoting WWFF.

3) After a little while, I'm going to show up as "already worked" for most people. They have no reason to work me a second time if they don't know I'm in a park.

I did a little testing with a friend across some dummy loads. My hope was that I could generate a "free message" CQ, replacing the grid square with "WWFF" (CQ K4IZ WWFF). Unfortunately, while this transmitted and received perfectly, on the receive side double clicking on my CQ would do *nothing*, making it difficult for someone to work me.

The FT8 message format does allow for directed CQs, things like CQ DX or CQ WY. Any two letters can be used, but not digits. My thought, to solve most of my concern, is to use CQ FF. Hopefully this would be clear enough. But I also think we should come to a concensus, so everyone uses the same format. Maybe there are better ideas!

There's also the matter of (ideally) exchanging the park identifier. The only solution I've come up with is to send it in the last message, as a free message: 73 KFF-0000. The other person has already been prompted to log by the time the activator sends this message, so it's less than ideal, but I can't see where else it might fit.

-detrick
K4IZ


On Jan 15, 2018 4:39 PM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
I've been asked about working FT-8 from the parks. I know the exchange is very short and you are limited on characters. How would you recommend the exchange go when using FT-8 from a park? My knowledge of FT-8 is very limited so I really cannot comment on this.


KFF Coordinator
 

Can you use CQ 44? That is one of the recommended ways WWFF gives for calling CQ. 


On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 5:18 PM Detrick Merz <detrick@...> wrote:
I believe I was the one with thoughts on FT8. As a low power operator (I use a KX3), I've often had trouble making even 10 QSOs, under the old rules. It's great to say, "just go back to the park again," but many of the parks I've worked from aren't near my home state (I did 3 in WA, and live in VA). For my last activation, in FL, I decided to haul a laptop in and try FT8. It really saved the day, getting me half my contacts before the laptop battery started getting low.

But I have a general concern: it's hard for people to tell I'm in a park. This results in a few other concerns:

1) I'm less likely to get spotted - spots are super important to a low power op.

2) I'm not doing a good job of promoting WWFF.

3) After a little while, I'm going to show up as "already worked" for most people. They have no reason to work me a second time if they don't know I'm in a park.

I did a little testing with a friend across some dummy loads. My hope was that I could generate a "free message" CQ, replacing the grid square with "WWFF" (CQ K4IZ WWFF). Unfortunately, while this transmitted and received perfectly, on the receive side double clicking on my CQ would do *nothing*, making it difficult for someone to work me.

The FT8 message format does allow for directed CQs, things like CQ DX or CQ WY. Any two letters can be used, but not digits. My thought, to solve most of my concern, is to use CQ FF. Hopefully this would be clear enough. But I also think we should come to a concensus, so everyone uses the same format. Maybe there are better ideas!

There's also the matter of (ideally) exchanging the park identifier. The only solution I've come up with is to send it in the last message, as a free message: 73 KFF-0000. The other person has already been prompted to log by the time the activator sends this message, so it's less than ideal, but I can't see where else it might fit.

-detrick
K4IZ


On Jan 15, 2018 4:39 PM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
I've been asked about working FT-8 from the parks. I know the exchange is very short and you are limited on characters. How would you recommend the exchange go when using FT-8 from a park? My knowledge of FT-8 is very limited so I really cannot comment on this.

--
73/44,
Roger Meadows, AE4RM
WWFF-KFF Coordinator


Detrick Merz
 

Unfortunately, no. That isn't allowed by the FT8 message format.

-detrick
K4IZ

On Jan 15, 2018 5:30 PM, "KFF Coordinator" <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
Can you use CQ 44? That is one of the recommended ways WWFF gives for calling CQ. 

On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 5:18 PM Detrick Merz <detrick@...> wrote:
I believe I was the one with thoughts on FT8. As a low power operator (I use a KX3), I've often had trouble making even 10 QSOs, under the old rules. It's great to say, "just go back to the park again," but many of the parks I've worked from aren't near my home state (I did 3 in WA, and live in VA). For my last activation, in FL, I decided to haul a laptop in and try FT8. It really saved the day, getting me half my contacts before the laptop battery started getting low.

But I have a general concern: it's hard for people to tell I'm in a park. This results in a few other concerns:

1) I'm less likely to get spotted - spots are super important to a low power op.

2) I'm not doing a good job of promoting WWFF.

3) After a little while, I'm going to show up as "already worked" for most people. They have no reason to work me a second time if they don't know I'm in a park.

I did a little testing with a friend across some dummy loads. My hope was that I could generate a "free message" CQ, replacing the grid square with "WWFF" (CQ K4IZ WWFF). Unfortunately, while this transmitted and received perfectly, on the receive side double clicking on my CQ would do *nothing*, making it difficult for someone to work me.

The FT8 message format does allow for directed CQs, things like CQ DX or CQ WY. Any two letters can be used, but not digits. My thought, to solve most of my concern, is to use CQ FF. Hopefully this would be clear enough. But I also think we should come to a concensus, so everyone uses the same format. Maybe there are better ideas!

There's also the matter of (ideally) exchanging the park identifier. The only solution I've come up with is to send it in the last message, as a free message: 73 KFF-0000. The other person has already been prompted to log by the time the activator sends this message, so it's less than ideal, but I can't see where else it might fit.

-detrick
K4IZ


On Jan 15, 2018 4:39 PM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
I've been asked about working FT-8 from the parks. I know the exchange is very short and you are limited on characters. How would you recommend the exchange go when using FT-8 from a park? My knowledge of FT-8 is very limited so I really cannot comment on this.

--
73/44,
Roger Meadows, AE4RM
WWFF-KFF Coordinator


Detrick Merz
 

Here's an excerpt a recent email on the WSJT-X mailing list that describes the "directed CQ" thing pretty well:

"Anyway, that aside, you seem to be using the free text message to send a directed CQ – fair enough but at the receiving end, users cannot just double-click it to respond, because as free-text the contents are not interpreted as a CQ call.  A better way to make directed CQs is to use a 2 letter code within the standard CQ message Tx 6, as in “CQ xx ZL2IFB RF80” where xx might be DX or NA (North America) or PY (a common prefix for Brazil) or whatever.  We only have those two character positions to play with in a standard CQ message, otherwise it reverts to being a free text unclickable message (e.g. I might send “CQ PAC ZL2IFB” if I want to Pacific stations to call, but they would have to respond manually … whereas “CQ OC ZL2IFB RF80” achieves the same ends with the standard message, using OC for Oceania).

73

Gary  ZL2iFB"


On Jan 15, 2018 17:45, "Detrick Merz" <detrick@...> wrote:
Unfortunately, no. That isn't allowed by the FT8 message format.

-detrick
K4IZ

On Jan 15, 2018 5:30 PM, "KFF Coordinator" <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
Can you use CQ 44? That is one of the recommended ways WWFF gives for calling CQ. 

On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 5:18 PM Detrick Merz <detrick@...> wrote:
I believe I was the one with thoughts on FT8. As a low power operator (I use a KX3), I've often had trouble making even 10 QSOs, under the old rules. It's great to say, "just go back to the park again," but many of the parks I've worked from aren't near my home state (I did 3 in WA, and live in VA). For my last activation, in FL, I decided to haul a laptop in and try FT8. It really saved the day, getting me half my contacts before the laptop battery started getting low.

But I have a general concern: it's hard for people to tell I'm in a park. This results in a few other concerns:

1) I'm less likely to get spotted - spots are super important to a low power op.

2) I'm not doing a good job of promoting WWFF.

3) After a little while, I'm going to show up as "already worked" for most people. They have no reason to work me a second time if they don't know I'm in a park.

I did a little testing with a friend across some dummy loads. My hope was that I could generate a "free message" CQ, replacing the grid square with "WWFF" (CQ K4IZ WWFF). Unfortunately, while this transmitted and received perfectly, on the receive side double clicking on my CQ would do *nothing*, making it difficult for someone to work me.

The FT8 message format does allow for directed CQs, things like CQ DX or CQ WY. Any two letters can be used, but not digits. My thought, to solve most of my concern, is to use CQ FF. Hopefully this would be clear enough. But I also think we should come to a concensus, so everyone uses the same format. Maybe there are better ideas!

There's also the matter of (ideally) exchanging the park identifier. The only solution I've come up with is to send it in the last message, as a free message: 73 KFF-0000. The other person has already been prompted to log by the time the activator sends this message, so it's less than ideal, but I can't see where else it might fit.

-detrick
K4IZ


On Jan 15, 2018 4:39 PM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
I've been asked about working FT-8 from the parks. I know the exchange is very short and you are limited on characters. How would you recommend the exchange go when using FT-8 from a park? My knowledge of FT-8 is very limited so I really cannot comment on this.

--
73/44,
Roger Meadows, AE4RM
WWFF-KFF Coordinator


Jim Shorney
 

I've run into this before with an op trying to activate. You don't want to do anything that messes up the automation. While experienced ops can cope with it the newbies and the less savvy ops will be at a loss. Perhaps a good practice would be to occasionally throw out something like "KFF-xxxx yourcall" as a free text transmission between CQs. That should attract some attention. To speed thing up a little bit ops can set to send RR73 instead of RRR. Callers should be encouraged to call split since you want a pile-up, and also to start with TX2 instead of TX1.

73/44

-Jim
NU0C


KA9JAC
 

My thought on this if i ever get around to trying is
In the free text box where it normally is sending  "call ka9jac 73"
change it to "73 de KFF-xxxx"

73, 44
Bob, KA9JAC

On 1/16/2018 11:18 PM, Jim Shorney wrote:
I've run into this before with an op trying to activate. You don't want to do anything that messes up the automation. While experienced ops can cope with it the newbies and the less savvy ops will be at a loss. Perhaps a good practice would be to occasionally throw out something like "KFF-xxxx yourcall" as a free text transmission between CQs. That should attract some attention. To speed thing up a little bit ops can set to send RR73 instead of RRR. Callers should be encouraged to call split since you want a pile-up, and also to start with TX2 instead of TX1.

73/44

-Jim
NU0C






Virus-free. www.avg.com


Detrick Merz
 

The upside to "CQ FF K4IZ FM18" is that it's a standard CQ message, not a free message. It doesn't mess with the automation. My only concern is whether "FF" is too ambiguous ... but if we were to all standardize on it it would gain recognition.

The one time I've used FT8 in a park so far I did notice some ops working me split, and it did work out quite well.

The suggestions to throw some free text out between CQs (maybe when things are slow) is a great one; even if someone can't respond, they may see it and keep watching for a minute. And starting with TX2 instead of TX1 is a great idea, one which I think more experienced ops may pick up on naturally.

Thanks for the feedback on this, I think it's greatly helpful -- at least for me.

73, 44,

-detrick
K4IZ



On Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 12:18 AM, Jim Shorney <jshorney@...> wrote:

I've run into this before with an op trying to activate. You don't want to do anything that messes up the automation. While experienced ops can cope with it the newbies and the less savvy ops will be at a loss. Perhaps a good practice would be to occasionally throw out something like "KFF-xxxx yourcall" as a free text transmission between CQs. That should attract some attention. To speed thing up a little bit ops can set to send RR73 instead of RRR. Callers should be encouraged to call split since you want a pile-up, and also to start with TX2 instead of TX1.

73/44

-Jim
NU0C






David Garnier
 

I'm stuck in the old school JT65 mode of not wanting to operate
split mode, not a criticism Jim. ;-) In the past JT65'ers that needed
WI would call me on split mode an stalk me down until I answered,
a little unnerving until I received emails thanking me. I have
developed friendships from that experience still lasts today.

FT8 is so frigging fast it's difficult for me to answer them on their
frequency. Yes, I understand the value of operating split mode.
Yes, it seems to work amazing well but I still can't believe it
doesn't cause more QRM. I'm going to need some data to support
this "non QRM'img method." Don't want to suggest a holy war,
I've seen enough of that on WSJT reflector my the new JT Op's.

Good idea on free texting "KFF-xxxx yourcall" as a POTA method.

73's de wb9own


--------------------------------------------

On Tue, 1/16/18, Jim Shorney <jshorney@inebraska.com> wrote:

Subject: Re: [WWFF-KFF] FT-8
To: WWFF-KFF@groups.io
Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 11:18 PM


I've run into this before with an op
trying to activate. You don't want to do anything that
messes up the automation. While experienced ops can cope
with it the newbies and the less savvy ops will be at a
loss. Perhaps a good practice would be to occasionally throw
out something like "KFF-xxxx yourcall" as a free text
transmission between CQs. That should attract some
attention. To speed thing up a little bit ops can set to
send RR73 instead of RRR. Callers should be encouraged to
call split since you want a pile-up, and also to start with
TX2 instead of TX1.

73/44

-Jim
NU0C


Jim Shorney
 

David,

I know what you mean. The urge to call simplex is a strong one. :) Spllit
doesn't work out as well in real life as it does in theory due to propagation,
station differences, etc. I do tend to have better luck calling DX split, which
stands to reason. The DX ops sometimes have half the world calling them at the
same time, most of whom can't hear each other. It is difficult or impossible to
break through when calling them simplex. FT8 may be great at decoding two
signals on top of each other, but not so much with 20. I can imagine thta DX
stations who don't or won't work split tend to get frustrated and disappear. I
often have stations call me unsolicited because NE is still semi-rare. If they
call me split I usually work them when time permits; if they call me on top of
the station I am trying to work they get ignored.

I still check in on JT when I have the time. It's a nice way to relax. The nice
thing about FT8 is it has become easier to make JT contacts because the JT band
is less crowded. The bad thing about FT8 is that there are fewer JT contacts
to be made.

73

-Jim
NU0C

On Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:12:16 +0000 (UTC), David Garnier wrote:

I'm stuck in the old school JT65 mode of not wanting to operate
split mode, not a criticism Jim. ;-) In the past JT65'ers that needed
WI would call me on split mode an stalk me down until I answered,
a little unnerving until I received emails thanking me. I have
developed friendships from that experience still lasts today.

FT8 is so frigging fast it's difficult for me to answer them on their
frequency. Yes, I understand the value of operating split mode.
Yes, it seems to work amazing well but I still can't believe it
doesn't cause more QRM. I'm going to need some data to support
this "non QRM'img method." Don't want to suggest a holy war,
I've seen enough of that on WSJT reflector my the new JT Op's.

Good idea on free texting "KFF-xxxx yourcall" as a POTA method.

73's de wb9own
--

"Life is too short for QRP" - ETO Alpha

"DeciBels were invented to give QRPers a false sense of smugness" - NU0C
"QRO is a public service" - NU0C




--
-- 73/44 -Jim NU0C