The ARRL Field Day has been one of my favorite events to participate in each year. I have helped setup and operated field day in various locations around Suffolk County as a member of a few different clubs over the past 30 years.
One of things that I have always enjoyed most about field day is helping new Hams make their first SSB HF contacts. In my opinion, seeing them get excited about making those first contacts makes the event special.
Now that I am up in age, for the past 2 years I have been working field day from home. Over the years I had always spent my time in front of the radio working CW. This year I wanted to try something new.
I have a very modest home station which consists of an ICOM IC-7300 and a G5RV 40 – 6 meters. The LDG tuner gets me operating on all bands including 30 and 17 meters.
This year I ran my station as 1D NLI and the mode was FT8. For the first time I did not operate CW. That was a real change for me and I actually missed it a bit.
I have tried FT8 before but never during an event. With limited time to operate, I was quite pleased with the 50 plus contacts I was able to make running about 10 watts. I don’t think FT8 will ever replace CW for sheer speed of making contacts during an event.
However, I did like how FT8 logging is accomplished with a simple mouse click. Logging contacts manually is a bit of a pain but the N3FJP ARRL Field Day logging app makes it a minimal effort.
Comparing CW to FT8, I could have easily made 100 to 150 CW contacts in the time I spent making FT8 contacts..
What is your opinion of operating FT8 during contests?