Friday, August 14, 2020

Heard in almost every part of the world in 24 hours

Digital modes, and FT8 in particular, are a fascinating way to find out just how far your signal can be heard or decoded. Admittedly FT8 can do things that the likes of CW can only dream of, with the ability to decode signals as faint as -24dB. Yesterday, I had fun on different bands at different stages, using FT8 and about 15 to 50 watts depending on band. On the high bands, I used my Antron 99 vertical antenna. On the lower bands, I used the nested inverted V antennas for 80m, 40m, 30m and 20m.

My FT8 signal was picked up as far away as Alaska, Tasmania, China and South Africa.

Looking at the map (thanks to, it is nice to see that my signal was heard on pretty much every continent, with the exception perhaps of Antarctica where monitoring stations are few and far between. I was heard in south America, Alaska, Tasmania, South Africa, China, Japan and Malaysia. I worked some nice DX too, including 9M2TO in West Malaysia on 40 metres (using a simple inverted v dipole), some South American and Caribbean stations on the same band, and China on 17m.

Both 17 metres and 30 metres have proven to be excellent bands for surprise DX. Last week, using just 20 watts and my Antron 99 vertical antenna, my CQ on FT8 was answered by two JA stations. Both were logged and later confirmed on Logbook of the World.

The huge amount of FT8 activity (seen on all the bands from 80m through 6m) is occurring, it would seem, to the detriment of other modes, especially phone and CW. There is much less activity on phone and CW since I was last "very" active, about two years ago. Perhaps everyone is using FT8 because of the sunspot minimum. With the solar flux index hovering around 70, we won't be seeing any spectacular openings on the higher bands just yet. But as sunspot cycle 25 has begun, there are signs that things could be about to turn a corner.

While I love FT8 and the possibilities it brings, I am also a major fan of CW and I do like SBB too. So let's hope that FT8 hasn't stolen all the action and that as the months progress I will start to log far-distant DX stations using CW and phone as well as FT8.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated - so spam will not get through.