Adventures at the speed of light™

Finally got on HF — FT8!

I finally unboxed and set up my Yaesu FT-891 and my Alpha Antenna 10M-40M Magnetic Loop tonight. Then, after a few hours of watching videos, reading articles and software setup, I took my next step into my HAM radio adventure—FT8 on HF!

With the way the conditions are in the current solar cycle, I had to find a way to get on HF. Specially with the small space at home to set up a vertical or wire antenna, I ended up with a magnetic loop antenna from Alpha Antenna. I figured, if I can't make voice contacts, I might as well try something else out. I wanted to do something that would set me up for success and read that FT-8 protocol is widely used.

I watched several videos of HAMs setting up and operating on YouTube. I learned how to set up my rig from the video below. The only difference is I went with a 6pin (to 2 x 3.5mm) data cable direct to a USB dongle plugged into my computer instead of a USB Link box. I purchased the data cable from eBay based on another HAMs suggestion on his YouTube video.

So after downloading the WSJT-X software and about a half an hour of messing with the settings on it and the radio, I started making contact on 40M and 20M! I was so excited that I kept going until the early morning! Just the fact that I am reaching someone out of state like Utah, Arizona, Texas, Hawaii is cool! Plus, being heard in other countries like Canada, Australia and Russia, all though no contact was made is STILL super cool!

Here are a few websites that helped me out:

Next step for me to try Olivia for QSOs and perhaps see if I can improve my antenna situation. So, while the conditions are still poor, get on FT-8 and experience my excitement for yourself and see if you get my CQ!