Amateur Radio – FT8 Digital Mode

This post is a work in progress. It will be updated over time as I find more relevant information.


What is FT8?

FT8 is a popular form of digital weak signal communication used primarily by amateur radio operators to communicate on amateur radio bands with a majority of traffic occurring on the HF amateur bands.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FT8

How to use FT8?

To use FT8 you will need a transceiver with the ability to be controlled by your computer. I use my Icom IC-705 connected to a Microsoft Surface Pro by USB to “play” FT8.

Tuning your rig (Icom IC-705) and setup for best results.

What constitutes an FT8 contact?

An FT8 Contact is a series of messages passed between 2 amateur radio operators. The five standard messages are:

  1. CQ <<YOURCALL>> <<YOURLOCATION>> ( CQ VK6DEV OF76)
  2. <<THEIRCALL> <<YOURCALL>> <<YOURLOCATION>> (M7GBS VK6DEV OF76)
  3. <<THEIRCALL> <<YOURCALL>> <<SIGNALREPORT>> (M7GBS VK6DEV -03)
  4. <<THEIRCALL> <<YOURCALL>> R<<SIGNALREPORT>> (M7GBS VK6DEV R-03)
  5. <<THEIRCALL> <<YOURCALL>> RR73 (M7GBS VK6DEV 73)

References

Wikipedia – FT8 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FT8)

First HAM signals on my SDR

Last night I setup my new Nooelec StartXR SDR on the tables outside and connected the Ham-it-up module and antenna.

I successfully received my first HF digital signals. It was very noisy as the telescopic antenna supplied with the kits is not the best for HF receiving. So the next project will be to build (or maybe buy) myself a better antenna for receiving HF.

There seems to be quite a bit of QRM at my place, so that seems like something I’ll need to track down.

My First QSL via email

Making contacts between Ham’s is one of the most interesting parts of Amateur Radio. But don’t let the lack of a license hold you back. You can QSL via email and and WebSDR.

I’m currently studying for my foundation license so transmitting in not an option. I’ve been using several software defined radios that are available on the Internet.

Last weekend I was listening on the 10m band using a KiwiSDR located near Westdale WA. (South East of Perth, grid square: OF87hp)

While listening, I heard a CQ call from VZ1UOK. Not having a way of talking back, I looked up his details and shot him an email with my QSL to his call.

After 3 days he do back to me. I finally completed my first QSL via email. I can’t wait to get licensed and setup some gear so I can QSL on the air.