FT8 is one of many Digital modes available to us Hams. It is a “weak signal” mode meaning that the lack of propagation from no/ to few sunspots doesn’t keep this mode from making contacts. FT8 requires a PC (either Mac or Windows) be connected either directly to your transceiver or via use of an external sound card (a la West Mountain Radio “Rig Blaster”) There are a couple of necessary software programs (FREE) mainly “WSJT-X” and “JT Alert” that are needed and optionally a logging program and/or an ARRL Logbook of the World (LoTW) setup. Additionally another FREE program Dimension 4 or similar is needed to keep the clock in your PC properly synced. (WSJT-X has specific timing needs and the time of your PC being off by >1 second can lead to few if any contacts. Basically, you are listening while they are listening and you are transmitting when they are transmitting, so the software does not detect the attempted contact.)
WSJT Home Page – https://www.physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html
JT Alert – HamApps.com – https://hamapps.com/
DXLab – a free logging program that works well with both WSJT-X and LoTW – http://www.dxlabsuite.com/
West Mountain Radio – http://www.westmountainradio.com/
Thinking Man Software – http://thinkman.com/dimension4/
The Club does not have a specific Elmer for this information yet. If you are interested in becoming an Elmer, please contact a club officer.
Bill McGowan & Dan Baker – June 8, 2021