New Mode FT8Call Hitting The Ham Bands
FT8Call is a new mode on the Ham bands and it has it own software which is also called FT8Call. It is similar to FT8, but we are able to make longer transmissions. The software is based on WSJT-X, so Hams familiar with WSJT-X will feel right at home with FT8Call. From the website, “If propagation is good enough for a faster mode, you should be using it instead! But, with poor conditions like we have experienced at solar minimum, FT8Call might just be the best balance.”
Download and Installation
It’s in the beginning stages so it’s a little difficult finding the download link. You’ll have to join the Groups.io Forum. You can find it here.
FT8Call is available for Windows, Linux and Raspberry Pi at this time and will be available for the MacOS at a later date.
Setting it up for the Icom 7300 and Icom 7610 is a breeze.
Use something for time sync. I use NetTime.
Here’s a nice video I did last week. It covers the download and installation on Windows.
It’s a little tricky at first, but a very simple program. I like the simple interface. It’s very familar since I have been using WSJT-X.
Unlike FT8, this new mode requires user intervention.
If you’ve used Fldigi or WSJT-X before, you’ll feel right at home with FT8Call. The premise is that FT8Call changes the encoding structure of FT8 modulated messages, breaking up long freetext messages into multiple back to back transmission frames / cycles. – FT8Call Document
Standard messages are freetext messages that do not start with a callsign or a directed command. These messages will only print at another’s station location if they align their receive offset within 10Hz of your transmit offset. This is operation similar to other keyboard-to-keyboard digital modes, like Olivia, RTTY, and PSK. – FT8Call Document
Directed messages are special FT8Call transmissions that automatically prefix your message with your callsign, similar to how FSQCall operates. Directed messages are useful for communicating in that you do not have to include your callsign in your message, allowing you to use more of the transmission frame(s) for actual message text, as well as alerting the recipient that a message was sent to them. As long as you are in the same passband, you do not have to be on the same frequency offset to receive a directed message. – FT8Call Document
Read and understand those and you’ll be in good shape.
Here’s a nice little quick start guide and making a QSO.
A big thanks to subscribers and everyone who posts questions, comments and sends emails to me with ideas and suggestions. I sincerely appreciate it and hope this website helps Ham operators.
If you have a question please comment below. I will do my best to answer it and your experience will undoubtedly help others as well.
UPDATE: See my new article on JS8Call
The workstation in my Ham shack: