FT8 and the AlexLoop

The AlexLoop is an amazing antenna. About the size of a Hula Hoop it can produce an almost perfect match on any band from 40 to 10 meters.IMG_1272

And yes it’s pricey and yes if you know what you’re doing you can build your own for a whole lot less (There was a guy at HamX in Brampton yesterday who claims he built his for $25 and it looked pretty good for home-brew.) but in places where you can’t get an antenna up or get one up that actually radiates as opposed to just hearing stuff then an AlexLoop can’t be beat.

In the photo here’s my AlexLoop on the fourth floor balcony oriented south where I found KB6C (DM04) on 18 MHz who is 3500 km away in Chatsworth California.

Considering I’m running 10 watts out of an Elecraft KX-2 this is an amazing display of what you can do on FT8 one of the new popular digital modes. IMG_1270

FT8 and along with the other digital modes are new to Ham Radio and somewhat controversial as there isn’t much human to human interaction.

Once you tap on your computer screen the call sign of the guy you want to work everything goes into automatic and the computer/radio combo takes over and either you work the guy or you don’t. If you do, you’re prompted to log the QSO.

Whether or not this is your favourite mode, it is a mode where a guy in a limited QTH like my temporary digs in Burlington can still play Ham Radio regardless of poor propagation, compromised location, QRP power and no place to setup an antenna in free space.