FT8 Tips and Tricks

FT8 Tips and Tricks

By Dragan 4O4A

Serge, AK9S collected very nice tips and tricks for FT8 operations. These are not rules, so far we don’t have any “rules” in FT8 mode and we don’t want to set them. Simply, let’s make these Tips and Tricks a short reminder both for people who are already in FT8 and to newbies. We may agree or disagree with each of these tips, which makes them – in our humble opinion – even more worthy.

We would like to hear from you about your view to this. Which one is really important? Which is not. Did we made any mistakes here? Your feedback is much appreciated.

FT8 Tips & Tricks by Serge, AK9S

#1 Turn off all DSP receiver processing and use a fast AGC

#2 Adjust your ALC somewhere between 0 and 50% to improve decodes by receiving stations

#3 Use EVEN timing mode in the US (00 and 30 sec start times) when calling CQ

#4 Set your decoder to DEEP mode if you are running a moderately fast computer to increase the number of decodes

#5 If a slot is in use on your waterfall, try not use it, as it reduces successful decodes when one signal is much stronger than the other (even though signal subtraction is used)

#6 Try to avoid slots directly adjacent to ones in use, as receiver overload may result, thereby compromising weak-signal reception for you as well as others

#7 When working a pile-up, best to transmit a slot or two away from the DX station so you can stand-out and be seen

#8 The use of a notch filter to prevent receiver overload from strong signals is not only smart, but sometimes necessary to pull out weak signals and DX

#9 If you can reduce your bandwidth on your receiver, you will be rewarded with improved reception of weak signals

#10 Like CW, FT8 is a weak-signal mode and not necessarily a QRP mode due to the reduced sensitivity over JT65 and JT9

#11 Use the minimum power necessary to complete a contact, which sometimes may be several hundred watts to establish a discernible signal at the other end of the World, or QRP for a Regional contact

#12 Always confirm contacts (LoTW, eQSL, QRZ log) for Award credits, as most folks do not want to waste time using this mode to simply exchange signal reports (the reason why PSK Reporter exists)

#13 If someone calls CQ and you work them, remember afterwards to move away from their slot. It is likely in use by the station you just worked

#14 Pay attention to your control point…do not call CQ and then ignore your waterfall, as you may be causing QRM and not realize it

#15 Use selective CQ calls, such as CQ EU, NA, SA, AS and OC to increase your worked DX count

#16 Enable Auto Sequence to ensure automatic response sequencing, thereby increasing contact rates and reducing human errors

#17 Disable Call 1st when calling CQ DX, CQ EU, etc. so you can avoid automatically interfacing with non-DX stations if they happen to accidentally call you

#18 Due to the increasing number of users, it is becoming acceptable to extend out beyond the traditional 2,000 Hz ceiling to find an empty slot to use

#19 What may appear to be deliberate QRM or overt stupidity are usually operating mistakes made from people learning the software, caused by those whose operating skills are still being developed or a direct consequence of the software itself…

#19.1 You call CQ on EVEN and another station then calls CQ on ODD within the same slot

#19.1.1 Usually caused by a station which previously used the slot and then decides to call CQ again, failing to check for current activity on their waterfall

#19.2 You are working a contact and suddenly a strong station starts using your slot

#19.2.1. A weak station which you cannot hear may be calling CQ and a stronger station answers their call oblivious to your using the same slot

#19.3. You work a moderately strong station, but it keeps repeating the same response (say RRR) for several cycles

#19.3.1. This usually indicates the receiving station can no longer hear you, typically due to QSB (fading) below the decoder threshold limit, overload of their receiver by a strong station, lightning crashes, local QRN, etc.

#19.4. You call CQ DX and find stations within your same ARRL entity (say country) responding

#19.4.1. Due to the fast nature of this mode, people sometimes will quickly click on your callsign and not notice your specific request for DX stations only. This mode allows anyone with HF privileges to work the World with minimal equipment, antenna and operating skill. Everyone should place an effort to continual improve their operating habits, as digital modes display operator errors on screens for several minutes at a time which can sometimes result in embarrassment for new operators

#19.5. Someone responds to you on the waterfall, but after many cycles, you still cannot decode them

#19.5.1. Their ALC might be set to high, preventing your decoder from working properly

#19.5.2. You or they may be starting each cycle more than 3 seconds late due to a lack of time syncing from an online atomic clock server

#19.5.3. Your receiver might be slightly overloaded, reduce bandwidth and/or use your notch to clean up the slot for improved decoding

#19.6. Someone responds to you and they suddenly disappear from the waterfall after several cycles

#19.6.1. Sometimes computers crash and radio modems malfunction due to RF infiltration, or simply the other station quickly pressed the OFF button on their radio due to an upset XYL. She usually is more important than a weak signal buried -20 dB below the noise, at least according to her… 🙂

Excellent and Fast Service! my second shipment using the QDURE service@ea5bb @ea1cs @eaxbeam @ure_es @tg9ajr @ea5by

Libre de virus. www.avast.com

E-mail from Z61VB Vjollca President of SHRAK, and Martin OH2BH, four years ago (Rep. of Kosovo Z60A) @ea5bb @ea1cs #z60a #z61vb #oh2bh

Dear Siso,

Let me first of all, on behalf of SHRAK and our new upcoming HAMs’ generation, thank you on your generous donation for our new Hams’ licenses. We are all very grateful and happy to have new friends on the other part of the globe who care about us :). The students and ourselves look forward to exchange the QSOs and QSL card as soon as they get their licenses – as there are still some admin procedures to be followed with the Regulatory Telecommunication Authority in Kosovo…and it is just a matter of time until the licenses are issued. But please don’t worry because everything is under a very good control so your donation as well.

We shall introduce to the all donors the final list of the licensed students as soon as the process is finalized.

May this New Year bring the best of joy and happiness to you and your families!


Vjollca – Z61VB.

and the new HAMs

On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 6:41 PM, martti laine <martti.laine> wrote:

Hello Siso,

Your timing is perfect as all donations were passed to Vjollca, V-.P of the association and we expect

the licensing to start momentarily. Only by the list of new licensees we feel that the job would be

done and inform donors accordingly. Thanks much at this point.

Z60A QSL a are ready but I am waiting for the logs of Now.1 which I expect to receive soon.

Thank You for your patience and cooperation.

Martti, OH2BH

cc: Vjollca, Z61VB..

Libre de virus. www.avast.com

News from Z60A Rep. of Kosovo #z60a

JANUARY 30 — A new team of G3TXF, IK0FVC, K9JF, VE7NY, DL3DXX, DL5CW and DJ5IW will be at work soon with three radios again as they lost one that had to be replaced. In total, hams from 10 countries will participate in the project’s current phase.

Last Sunday marked a wonderful and memorable reception honoring the recent DXCC status of the Republic of Kosovo. Speeches were made by the SHARK president Vjollca, Z61VB, Kosovo’s regulator (ARKEP) Chairman, Kreshnik Gashi as well as ARRL Honorary VP Jim, K9JF and IARU’s R1 Secretary Hans, PB2T. Their remarks were complemented by words from Project Goodwill’s Kosovo coordinator, Martti, OH2BH. All were emotionally touched by this long march of 10-years, further enhancing the original U.S State Department recognition in February, 2008, while now saluting Kosovo’s official entry into the DXCC world on an equal basis.

On the radio front, the 40.000 QSO mark has been passed as the team is concentrating on maximizing its Asia and North America numbers. They are well on their way by penetrating those selective openings. Be patient, as their best effort is given at all times in spite of the high noise level. As the locations are fixed, the only improvement opportunity is to see whether low-laid receiving antennas would help with this mission. The second week team will try to accomplish that task as they move toward the upcoming weekend.

Many are asking about an immediate LoTW upload during the operation, and these options are being taken under consideration. An LoTW upload and early QSL card may be considered as an additional service, while its modest compensation would be exclusively directed to further support for evolving Amateur Radio in Kosovo.

The project members are thankful for the local Z6-team and the OH, OZ and S5 guys, who did a great job in building up the sites and handing out the many new counter contacts. Happy DXCC week was passed with best of amateur radio.

Libre de virus. www.avast.com

ZC4A QRT 31 January 2018 11:00UTC @m0urx

Operation concluded at a few minutes past 1100utc on 31 January 2018. The log is believed complete except for our CQ160 CW effort. This will be uploaded after the log entry deadline. Thank you for our QSOs. 73 Bob 5B4AGN, Stavros 5B4AFM, Andy G3AB, Mike G3WPH, Don G3XTT and Neil G6MC. Log queries to Tim M0URX please.

My QSO´s with ZC4A (Missing 160Mts CW QSO)

Libre de virus. www.avast.com

XX3B Press Release #3 @ea5bb @5k3w #dx #hk3w #xx3b


Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce our band plan during the XX9B dx-pedition to be in the air between Mar 9th, 2018 and Mar 17th, 2018:

Modo 160M 80M 40M 30M 20M 17M 15M 12M 10M
CW 1.821,5* 3.517 7.017 10.117 14.007 18.087 21.007 24.891 28.007
SSB —- 3.777 7.075 —- 14.167 18.137 21.277 24.930 28.477
RTTY —- —- 7.047 10.147 14.087 18.107 21.087 24.927 28.087
FT8 1.840 3.573 7.074 10.136 14.074 18.100 21.074 24.915 28.074

* We will listen DOWN 2-3 in 160m to JA. We will listen UP to all others.

It is important to highlight that such frequencies are preferable, but may be changed by depending upon several reasons (e.g. QRM, local noise, etc…)

PP1CZ will be the one responsible for uploading logs at Club Log. If you wish to clarify any issue related to log, please address your e-mail to PP1CZ: pp1cz .

XX9B Team is committed to contact all ham ops in the pile-up, but for several reasons, we know that it may not be possible. So, please, bear in mind that we will do our best to get you, but BE PATIENT! If we restrict calls to some places, that will be done in specific time frames when propagation uses to be opened to such places. Please, be polite, respect it and wait for your time.

DXpeditions are far from honeymoons. A couple of unexpected issues arise, no matter how cautious you have been. Therefore, we encourage you to foster your ham spirit and comply with the simple guidelines of the DX Code of Conduct (http://www.dx-code.org/).

Finally, we are proud to welcome PY5KD – Luciano who joined the team last month and will be instrumental for the success of this DXpedition.

We thank you for your gentle and valuable attention


XX9B DXpedition Team

Libre de virus. www.avast.com

Kosovo 🇽🇰 (Info Provisional) thanks Michael G7VJR

Hi all,

I must stress this is provisional – it’s possible ARRL will announce a different ADIF number or a start time further in the past, for example. However, based on all the info I have from Martti OH2BH (and clear evidence that the REPUBLIC OF KOSOVO is in the DXCC Challenge lists on LoTW now), I’ve added this new one to Club Log.

Here is the technical info, which will appear in cty.xml.

CQZ: 15
Lat/long 42.65°N 21.21°E
ADIF entity: 522
Start date: 2018-01-22 00:00:00

More news here if anything changes. Uploads to Club Log will pick this up as of approx 10am today. I’ve remapped any QSOs from yesterday for you (but leagues etc will need to rebuild now).

Michael G7VJR

Rep. Of Kosovo New DXCC


Kosovo’s IARU Society SHARK, and its president Vjollca Caka, Z61VB are hosting a tenth anniversary activation celebrating Kosovo’s independence, February, 2008.

The activation has already started, with Z60A being found on several bands.
Adding to their HQ location is a semi-permanent low-band site. Both sites have beam antennas plus four K3s and SPE 1.3KW amps. Olli, OH0XX has been testing the propagation over the past two days with good — but narrow — U.S openings.

An international team has been invited to Kosovo and is partially on the ground at this time. The team consists of DL3DXX, OH0XX, OH1MA, OH2BH, OH3JR, OZ1IKY, S50A and S51F, along with locals Z61DX, Z61FF, Z61VB, Z62FB and Z63DBB. Additional locals are behind this activity as well, and a new 2nd week team will be announced soon.

Jim, K9JF, ARRL Hon. Vice-President and Hans, PB2T, IARU R1 secretary will add to the party.

The ARRL Rocky Mountain Division director, Dwayne Allen, WY7FD has informed the team that the LoTW and the other ARRL structures are being put into place to receive this new DXCC country contacts. Already, “Republic of Kosovo” is listed in the DXCC Challenge pages.

ClubLog will be used for this activation, while QSLs will go via OH2BH.

Today the Bouvet pilots receive this “Funny” mail

Hello there,

I believe there is an expedition to Bouvet Island.

I am very surprised because as one of the owners of the Island I have not been informed.

You need authorization from Norway but also from the Bouvet family which owns the land.

I represent the 3 branches of the family, Bouvet de Lozier, Bouvet de la Maison Neuve and Bouvet. We are all based in Saint Servan, Brittany.

Please contact us before you land.

Gaël Bouvet

Libre de virus. www.avast.com

3Y0Z Bouvet Is DXpedition (Press Release #12) @Bouvet_3Y0Z

Press Release #12

3Y0Z Bouvet Island DXpedition

16 January 2018

Preparation for our departure continues, albeit at a somewhat slower pace than we had hoped. However, the vessel is now fully fueled and all our DXpedition gear, food, and medical and survival gear is aboard. And, you have likely read that team members completed their cold water survival, CPR, and fire-fighting training.

Two team leaders and our merchant marine captain team member (W7IV) have been aboard the vessel. They observed the crew and contractors working hard to complete their projects,

We are awaiting final clearance to sail which will be issued by the Chilean Navy, the regulatory authority for maritime safety.

We remain confident in our success and are anxiously waiting to get underway. Whatever delay we encounter will not impact our results on the island.

Ralph – K0IR

Bob — K4UEE

Erling — LA6VM

Libre de virus. www.avast.com