January’s probably been my best month of operating amateur radio since I beganand all thanks to the discovery of the magic FT8 mode.
Disliked by many because there’s no chit-chat using the mode (so it can’t possibly be real amateur radio), I’ve had some real fun operating FT8 and tracking propagation with PSK-Reporter. Furthermore, it has enabled me to log 181 contacts in 126 unique locator squares all over Europe. I am very happy, especially given the compromise station I’m running. Read my full report for more details and maps of where I worked.
ARRL International Grid Chase
I had decided, late last year, to enter the ARRL’s International Grid Chase for a bit of fun. Basically, you work as many different locator squares as you can each month and upload your log to the ARRL’s Logbook of the World (LOTW) system. As the stations you work upload their logs and confirm the contact, you score 1 point for each square worked. At the end of the month the count of squares is zeroed and you start again meaning that you can work each square twelve times a year, once each month. A running tally is kept of monthly scores for the overall position in the league.
I was amazed to see that, at the end of January, I was ranked 6,814th out of 20,359 entrants. That places me just outside the top third of entrants by 28 positions, I’m in the top 33.5%, despite the fact I haven’t got a big and high rotatable directional antenna and lots of power.
Just shows what you can achieve with a modest station.