Re: 6 mtrs, modes


FT8 was not designed to eliminate SSB on 6m, but to complement it. It's another tool in the arsenal and can be used when conditions don't support fast exchange SSB.  I operated for a couple hours this weekend and managed to make about a dozen FT8 QSOs when nothing was happening on 50.125.  Most of these QSOs involved inaudible signals (at least to my 59 year-old ears) with marginal conditions that are typical for this time of year.  Propagation was short-lived and erratic, but I never needed more than 90 seconds to get the needed information through.  45 seconds usually did the trick.  According to his QRZ page, I worked a guy in Ohio who was running low-power to an attic dipole.

If contest operators elect to use FT8 when propagation supports SSB, that's an unwise decision that will hurt their score.  I simply can't believe the contest community stops using SSB when 6m is wide-open as it usually is in June.  It makes no sense.

CW could be a different story.  My hunch is that FT8 or similar mode will eventually displace cw in marginal conditions.  It's more sensitive, far more reliable, and doesn't depend of the skill of the two operators which is sometimes incompatible.  When someone is CQ'ing at 30 wpm, I simply don't possess the ability to copy and reply.


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