600 qso, 59 countries from all continents.
Some hours of playing on a 30m dipole only at 15m with FT8 shows a huge world wide activity in this mode.
Sure, it is a new hype, and for sure data players want to test this new mode, but it goes further than rtty or psk.
It delivers a number of advantages that other modes do not have. It is not a low power mode like psk, but a weak signal mode. It's not a chatting mode like rtty, but a strictly defined process.
With room for further improvement.
Not everyone needs a gridsquare and a RRR message and a 73s message.
The basic progress stream is now :
CQ OT1A JO10
OT1A W1ABC FN05
W1ABC OT1A -10
OT1A W1ABC R01
W1ABC OT1A RRR
OT1A W1ABC 73
This takes 1min 30 sec if all goes fine. A die hard CW op makes 9 QSO in that timestamp.
On the air, in practice, there is allready a shorter QSO flow
CQ OT1A JO10
OT1A W1ABC -10
W1ABC OT1A R01
OT1A W1ABC RR73
1 minute. 6 times slower than a full speed cw op.
Repeating something in CW takes seconds, in FT8 at least half a minute.
- 100W is allready high power. I used 180W (dxcc hunting) putting 15W into the Acom1000, and taking care of the alc.
- sensitivity is far under the CW limit, -20dB is workable to make a qso
- allmost full automatic, no errors in copying
There is improvement for DXpeditions allowing up to 500 Q/hr to be deliverable for the Baker Isl exp. later this year.
It smells also like a new mode for contesting will be born, needing only 50Hz of bandwidth per station.
What if... this process can be 100% automated, putting eg. a robot on Heard Island ?
Is it the end of costly DXpeditions ?
Is it the end of huge crazy high power pileups with qrm and policemen ?
Is this mode opening the path for non qualified operators buying just a black box and play ?
There is certainly not a waaaw effect when looking on a pc, clicking on a screen. I can imagine that this is not the most attractive demo for new potential hams.
The waaw effect is on the propagation level. Making contacts with so less power and difficult conditions is quite amazing.
I can not look into the future, but I'm sure this kind of mode is a game changer (repeating the JT65 miracle on EME operations).
80 DXCc confirmed on 30m, 12 worked to be confirmed, 8 new ones needed.
Looking forward to see what this does on topband DXing...
And until now, CW rules !