UPDATE: After the VK9MA DXpedition I have changed my tune. FT8 surely is the beginning of something very exciting, but when VK9MA kept switching between FT8 and CW I realized just how much better CW is. On paper, using a mode that could work when CW was too hard to “hear” seemed like magic, but because there still was enough back and forth with FT8, what you gain in being able to decode a weak signal – you lose is the back and forth with QSB. FT8 would be better if it could send CW and just do the 599 TU thing.
I sure hope 3Y0Z is paying attention (and I am sure they are – hi hi). FT8 – for sure – can guarantee that almost any DXer can get into the log. I’ve been watching the LU path – which is _exactly_ the 3Y0Z path, and while an SSN of 39 is actually pretty awesome for this part of the sunspot cycle – I am 100% sure that we on the West Coast can work 3Y0Z even though they will be setting up on Slakhallet in an area that is really bad for the West Coast.
Sure – I have expected that higher angles would get West Coasters in the log – but the openings would be like 10 – 20 minutes. With FT8 – I am sure that this opens up possibilities for hours that wouldn’t have previously been open before.
You know – controversial as it might sound – I really like what 3Y0I (the very “mysterious” and possibly non DXpedition) has announced an idea to have them call you – if you are a donor.
I see nothing wrong with that at all. Lets skip the BS that its “paying for a QSO” – because that already exists in so many ways anyway. If someone is a sponsor (at any level), the least a DXpedition can do is make a little effort to ensure one ATNO.
I say this because I truly believe that if get all pious about this you might as well expect DXing, DXCC and DXpeditions to go the way of the dinosaur. I would bet good money on this.
And you know what – FT8 can actually save DXing and DXCC, because the “little guy” might donate $20 knowing that s/he has a fighting chance – even if his/ her station is not a top gun. And even more importantly, any Maker who even looks at an FT8 Waterfall display will instantly be interested in ham radio and DXing.
We live in an age of ADHD and “eye candy” – well – this is it!