Re: FT8 vs other modes - my numbers

Brian Wolf Leverich

Hi all -

I did a *lot* of FT8 in 2018, as kinda shows from my IGC standings. ;)

And I have a nuanced perspective on it as a DX mode.

The good news is that FT8 is a high-power mode. There are stations
world-wide that are running a kilowatt or more into yagis and 4-squares.

Combined with FT8's weak-signal decoding, that means it can be a kickass
DX mode even during the years while the propagation gods are sleeping.

The problem is that we have half of all HF QSOs being compressed into
about 2.5 KHz on each band. That means 100 strong stations fill the
band, and a station running 80W next door can pretty efficiently drown
out even a high-power DX station.

About the only time I can work "rare" FT8 DX is during 0800Z-1100Z, not
because of propagation but because most American hams are off the air
during that window.

CW and RTTY can sprawl across 100 KHz or more on each band, and there
are fewer stations spread across all that spectrum. That means there
is less interference between stations and less propensity for local
stations to drown out DX.

FT8 would be a more useful DX mode if they colonized more slices of the
spectrum so stations would spread out and the locals would stop stomping
all over each other and DX stations.

Until they do that, I'll be seeing you on FT8 at 0800Z ...

73 de Wolf (WA6I)

On Sun, Feb 03, 2019 at 09:36:45AM -0600, Jerry N9AVY wrote:

FWIW from another list…

-----Original Message-----

Mike, you are buying into a myth that both supporters and detractors of FT8
perpetuate. The myth that FT8 is superior for DX'ing, to other modes.

2018 was my "year of FT8". I participated in several on-air WSJT new feature
tests including DXpedition mode testing. I spent the vast majority of my
on-air hours, outside of contests, on FT8. I CQ'd a lot on FT8 and also
chased DX on FT8.

You ask: " Productive in what way? To work new ones? ". I specifically
checked by 2018 log statistics for new band slots. I worked 4 new band slots
on 160M in 2018 - zero on FT8. I worked 13 new ones on 80M in 2018 - none on
FT8. I worked 5 new ones on 40M in 2018 - none on FT8. And so on.

You also ask: "How many countries did you work on FT8 that you did not or
could not work on any other mode." My answer: I worked 4 ATNO's in 2018.
None did I need FT8 to confirm.

Now, I did work 13 of DXpeditions in 2018 for new digital mode DXCC credit
in 2018. If I look at these stats, 8 of them I worked on RTTY, and 5 I
worked on FT8. But the ones I worked on FT8 completely neglected RTTY - they
never did any RTTY at all or made only a handful of RTTY Q's. I'm sure I
could've completed a RTTY QSO with any of those 5 if they had made an effort
on RTTY.

No matter how I slice it or dice it, FT8 is not a superior mode. Both the
detractors and supporters of FT8 are suffering from the myth that FT8 makes
DX'ing easier. It does not. I tried hard to max out FT8 using any
quantitative measure in 2018 - just look at the number of hours I invested
- and FT8 came up short in every single measure, including the
hard-DX-oriented measures you propose.

Tim N3QE

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