FT8 Roundup Preliminary Results

The raw scores for the first FT8 Roundup have been published on the rttycontestng.com website. Here’s my numbers …

My RAW Score … 71 RAW QSOs, 37 RAW Multipliers and a Total RAW Score of 2627

As I said before, mine was a sort of slapdash effort, but still fun. As a reference, the top RAW score for single-op was WV4P 706/97/68482. The lowest score was 1 QSO/1 Mult/RAW score 1. Just looking at physical position in the listing, I’m somewhere near the middle, I think. Of course, these scores will be refined … this is before checking for dupes, busted calls, etc. I didn’t count through the listing, but I read somewhere that there were over 1000 logs received, and almost 600 instances where operators were mentioned in those submitted logs but didn’t send in a log themselves. All in all, a resounding success for a first contest!

BTW, in case you haven’t heard, the new version of WSJT-X is out … ver. 2.0.0. You can get it HERE. UPGRADE!!

73 & Happy Holidays de Dick N4BC

A New Baby!

Look, guys … it’s a new baby straight key!

Black Micro Morse Key with Red Knob

It’s a 3-D printed straight key mounted on a solid aluminum base … really stable (also available without the base). The base is 3.75 x 1.5 inches (10 x 3.8 cm). It’s produced by a father/son team in Texas and the price is reasonable. The service is super fast, too!  The company is CW Morse and there are all sorts of color combinations and styles available. A more limited selection is available at MFJ, under MFJ’s own part number. Check out CW Morse’s site for more details and prices. I’m really looking forward to getting out in the field with this one. Actually, I think it’ll be put to use in the shack on the ARRL Straight Key Night, January 1st, from 0000 to 2359 UTC. See you there!

73 de Dick N4BC

Hey! Where’d they all go?

Checked out FT8 last night … started by using WSJT-X 2.0 rc5 … crickets! Where’d everybody go after the contest? Lots of activity on the spectrum display. So I reverted to ver 1.9.1 and voila! … tons of stations!

I think it’s going to be an uphill battle to move everybody to the newer version. Still, when the non-beta version 2.0 is released on December 10th, I may be surprised. I hope so … this newer iteration of WSJT-X really has some good features and Joe and his crew seem to have fine-tuned the decoding algorithm for optimum performance.

73 de Dick N4BC

FT8 Roundup

This weekend I dabbled in the FT8 Roundup. I was on the air when I had some free time, and made a total of 70 QSOs … not even a big effort, but it was interesting.

When the contest first started, there was lots of confusion, especially about operating frequencies. The normal frequencies were not used … special ranges of frequencies were specified. Also, there were several settings that had to be changed in the software itself, and that confused some. The instructions were well-written, and I had no problems at all.

Contest action!

To do things right, it was necessary to go into the files and create backups and then delete specific files. I was leery of that, but I followed the instructions to the letter … no problems were noted when restoring everything afterwards. I even worked another ten stations afterwards to make sure everything was copacetic (HA! Look that one up!).

SO … everything is back to normal, all the contacts are uploaded to LOTW, ClubLog, eQSL, and QRZ, and I’m already seeing some confirmations, minutes after the contest.

Have you been a ham long enough to remember contests back in the “Dark Ages”? Submitting a log then was a real trial … dupe sheets, deciphering handscribbled logs, counting multipliers, computing scores on your fingers and toes, snail mail submission … like I said, the “Dark Ages”. Soooooo much easier now!

Of course, my mouse quit working during all of this. “Must be the battery,” says I. I replace the battery … still bad. Look all over the house for a spare mouse. Finally, a light went on … I tried another AA battery … success! The first replacement was no good. I need to turn in my Technician badge!

Hope you had a good ham weekend. I had thought about pulling out my manual tuner and making some contacts in the 160-meter contest, but I was busy enough with what I was doing. There’re never enough hours in the weekend, are there?

The next few weeks leading up to the holidays are going to be hectic … banquets, dinners, parties, concerts … all sorts of things to keep me busy. But, I’ll still do radio when I have a chance!

73 and Happy Holidays de Dick N4BC

Returns

I was just fiddling with numbers this afternoon and was surprised to find that my LOTW account shows a 68.42% confirmation rate. That’s a pretty good number, isn’t it? Had to recheck my cipherin’. I had no idea it was that good. If only the lottery had that kind of return, I could put up that 75-foot tower with multiple beams on it!!

A lot of those confirmations are due to digital modes. Lots of digital operators are uploading to LOTW in near real-time, as the QSO is ending, or very soon after. Logging programs make it so easy nowadays. The software does it for you.

I see WSJT-X 2.0 rc5 is now available. Joe says that it is pretty much what the final release on December 10th will look like. I haven’t had a LOT of luck working stations using the new 77-bit message format. Lots of people still hanging on to the older 75-bit messaging. Hopefully, they’ll move to the new format, but I expect it’ll take a while. Hams can be slow to change …

One incentive is the contesting mode that’s built-in and the ARRL RTTY Roundup on the radar in January. This’ll be the first time FT-8 has been a contest mode, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

73 de Dick N4BC