Category Archives: Digital

Articles and Information related to Digital Modes. Topics include PSK, RTTY, JT Modes, APRS, operating using Digital Modes, equipment, software, and more.

Self-Driving Cars … Now Self-Hamming Radio!

It was just a matter of time … 2018 will go down in history as the Year Human Beings were eliminated from the ancient craft of Amateur Radio!   — posted by Layne AE1N

I don’t know which statistic is more impressive, so I will list them:

In 5 Months: 13,500 QSOs

One 40-watt transceiver

153 DXCC countries


Stathis Malikis, SV5DKL, has pertinent comments about the state of the FT8 mode debate.  He also provides these details in his blog along with information on how to set up your own FT8 BOT!


Technology marches on! Maybe the Nashua Area Radio Society can use QSO bots for Field Day and the 13 Colonies special event! — Layne AE1N

FT8 DXpedition mode

You have probably heard something about recent efforts to develop a special “FT8 DXpedition Mode” in WSJT-X. This message aims to bring you up-to-date on our  progress, and generally to make our plans more widely known.

Source: FT8 – DX Pedition mode

It looks like some of the major DXpeditions are beginning to embrace FT8. This will certainly create a need to handle “pileups” in FT8 mode and to make it possible to make many contacts in the shortest period of time possible. It appears that Joe Taylor, K1JT is working on an update to WSJT-X to create a variation of FT8 tailored for DXpedition use. Also, we will also need to update our copies of WXJT-X to take advantage of the new FT8 DXpedition mode. The link above is an article by Joe which gives more information about his new FT8 DXpedition mode and the software which will support it.

Fred, AB1OC

The Explosion of FT8

Digital Mode FT8, the “fast-mode” version of WSJT-X was first introduced in the Summer of 2017. WSJT-X is a computer program designed to facilitate basic amateur radio communication using very weak signals. The first four letters in the program name stand for “Weak Signal communication by K1JT,” while the suffix “-X” indicates that WSJT-X started as an extended and experimental branch of the program WSJT. The FT8 decoder can often copy several overlapping signals at nearly the same frequency.

As Micheal, G7VJR, of Club Log notes, “Every few years, I’ve posted a chart of which modes are being used on the air (based on what is uploaded to Club Log). This report isn’t lightweight to calculate, so I don’t have it as a standard feature in Club Log for you to access, but I’m just as interested in the results as everyone else. 2017 was, of course, the year when digital modes changed forever with the advent of FT8. It is a remarkable technical achievement which has breathed life and enthusiasm into DXing for a whole new audience. See what you think about the side-effects.”


  • This cart does not include the added emphasis on the FT8 mode due to the ARRL’s  2018 Grid Chase.

  • JT65 has nearly disappeared. This is probably because a round trip QSO on JT65 takes 5 to 6 minutes whereas an FT8 QSO can be completed in a little over a minute. A DX station with an FT8 ‘pile-up’ can work 50-60 QSOs per hour.
  • Activity in all the other modes have dropped; especially CW.
  • Don’t forget the Decibel advantage over other modes. See my article “It’s All about the Decibels” here:
  • ” .. the coming year will be extremely interesting. FT8 has had a spectacular beginning and it’s hard to know what might happen next – or whether it will still be quite so popular when conditions change. I’ll keep running the reports based on the evidence in the uploaded logs, and we can collectively try our best to interpret that … Michael G7VJR”
  • Our Club, N1FD, was the leading world scorer in the 2017 13-Colonies Event. With the addition of FT8, we should remain “on-top” in this year’s event!

FT8 Mode is not for everyone. Many do not like the “mechanical” QSOs. It does not require the skill of the CW masters. For me, I’m far from being bored at this juncture.         —Layne AE1N