As expected, propagation from K1JT in NJ to K1HTV in VA on 20M was marginal. It
took a skewed path beam heading towards SA to produce a report from Joe, but no
complete QSO was made on 20M. QRM from XE1GK on 14080.250 didn't help. On 30
Meters, signals from Don, N1DG, as W1/KH7Z, started OK but the skip quickly
lengthened and again XE1GK was on the bottom end of 10141 KHz, again causing
QRM during the test, calling CQ and working stations.
The 01Z 40 Meter test went better on this end with quick QSOs using K1HTV,
K1WSN (XYL's call) and KW4VA (Jr. Op K1RA trustee of club call).
Using the KW4VA call, after exchanging reports with W7/KH7Z at 0105Z , the Fox
proceeded to send "RR73" reports at 0115Z, 011630Z, 011730Z,101830Z, 0120Z and
0125Z before the "RR73" messages finally stopped. Others reported same, so it
looks like some debugging needs to be done.
80M signals from K9AN were great. When I stood by at times to listen during the
02-03Z hour, I copied over 40 Hounds simultaneously calling Bill.
One thing noted was that there were long delays in completing QSOs. It
appeared that as the Fox worked Hounds, either sending calls and reports or
sending "RR73" messages, the Fox's cue of stations being worked got longer. As
a result, the number of Hounds transmitting their "R-xx" reports to the Fox in
the transmit range below 1000 Hz started to cause a log jam. The result is that
the stations in the cue appear to be causing QRM to each other. To prove this
theory, after starting a K1HTV QSO with K9AN and sending reports for 13 minutes
without receiving a 'RR73", I decided to try something. I stopped transmitting
and to look for a quiet spot and found one at 450 Hz and moved there. One call
on that quiet frequency and I received a "RR73" message to complete the QSO!
So, what is needed? More Fox TX streams? How about a higher priority be given
to completing QSOs before starting more QSOs, thus reducing the number of
repeat "R-xx" reports of Hound and the resulting QRM to each other in the
frequency tone range below 1000 Hz.
The QSO rates made in this public test are truly impressive. Congrats to the
entire WSJT-X team for a great job done. Looks like a little more debugging and
tweaking needs to be done, but it looks like the FT8 DXpedition mode is almost
ready for prime time!
Rich - K1HTV
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