The digital mode FT8 has caught on, luring many using the popular JT65 weak signal mode.
The WSJT-X 1.8.0 beta software has the FT8 mode described as fast with an entire QSO taking about a minute, which is four times faster than JT65. Developed by Steven K9AN and Joe K1JT – the name FT8 stands for its creators Franke and Taylor and 8-Frequency Shift Keying modulation.
Using a 15-second transmit and receive sequences it provides 50 per cent or better decoding probability down to minus-20 dB. An auto-sequencing option can also respond automatically to a CQ call decoded reply.An excellent HF DXing mode and multi-hop sporadic-E propagation on 6 metres where deep fading may make fast and reliable QSO completion desirable. Some are comparing FT8 use to that of JT65, and believe more are on air trying the new one. The free software, available for Windows, Mac and Linux, is available at https://wsjtx.net/home/ft8-mode.html. Besides the software it requires a transceiver and a soundcard interface. Full documentation is available via the link http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx.html
Jim Linton VK3PC