FT8 it’s a drug

I have always despised digital modes in hamradio. Somehow I was convinced that digital is not the true hamspirit. I love when you hear the noise on analogue modes and turning all that knobs and pushing buttons. It’s that feeling that I associated with hamradio.

I tried several times to get WSTJ-X (the software that runs digital modes) running with my Yaesu 817ND in combination with the WolphiLink interface, but I was not able to. Apparently OH8STN was able to connect a notebook via the WolphiLink, I couldn’t reproduce it. So I discarded the whole idea. Here and there I tried Droid PSK via my smartphone but I was not convinced and it was not really fun to do.

Then my new rig arrived. I got myself an ICOM 7300 and after some nice SSB sessions I said, let’s try that digital thing again. Well, I got hooked!

I live in a pretty bad location regarding propagations. I can’t even talk to my ham colleagues in the neighboring town via VHF. I am surrounded by mountains. I see a bit of the horizon in the North-West and East. When I started WSJT-X, I was surprised. I worked all the world (except Oceania) from my crappy location, with my miniature EFHW multiband. I had some issues which I will describe in a future post and how to set up the ICOM 7300 in combination with Log4om and WSJT-X.

Over the past few days I already was able to get some awards for digital modes. This gamification is really addictive and you spent hours and hours watching the waterfall and the CQ calls on the bands. The worst thing about this is, the band conditions get better in late night/morning hours, so I am really tired lately! Everytime I plan to go to bed I see a new DXCC popping a CQ call…