Strategy to work elusive states on FT8?
By - CaptSmek
Download gridTracker and set it up to alert you to states you need based on your FT8 log. Start it running and go about your day. When you hear an alert go work the station.
I second this. Grid Tracker is great. You can set custom alerts for particular entities, or an alert simply for "needed" entities. It integrates with wsjtx, as well as qrz and lotw, so it checks all of the current traffic against your log book.
Third this. With all the discussion here recently about how poorly built, particularly around UX much ham software is, GridTracker stands out as excellent; I don't know how anyone does FT8 without it.
For me, it was remembering timezones. And working stations in those timezones around their 5-8pm on weekdays or earlier in the morning on Saturdays.
As for calling CQ, try watching for callsigns from those areas and pouncing on them when they call CQ.
* Look for state QSO parties for those particular states, see if there is a digital/FT8 section (pretty sure there is one for the MSQP).
* Get on other contests that allow FT8
This is a gem I totally forgot about. QSO parties, national, state, county if need be. They log for points so your chance of confirmation is almost 100%
I've worked all 50 states a number of times... it's the confirming part that's always the hang up. NV I had confirmed on LOTW but not QRZ. Finally got someone to confirm NV on QRZ last week.
Now I have SD I need on LOTW, but not QRZ.... and I need WY on QRZ but not LOTW. 6 contacts into WY and not a single one confirmed on QRZ.
It's frustrating, but you'll get there. If you're award chasing FT8 really is the most likely way you'll get your confirmations. Unfortunately a lot of SSB ops just do not upload their logs and FT8 tends to get more confirmations since ops are already sitting at their PC logging.
FYI QRZ will let you import your LOTW confirmations and count those as QRZ confirmations.
Funny I JUST learned that tonight after having a QSO with a guy on 10M. Got my WAS and DXCC on QRZ just a few minutes ago. Thanks for the heads up!
This hit me hard, and was my exact issue. I'd snag 5-10 contacts per state. Took me weeks to get confirmation of the last 2 states I needed for my first WAS.
Thanks for all the great suggestions. I'm operating from the field so unattended long running sessions are not really an option for me. Looks like a combination of "pouncing" on stations from those states and joining QSO parties is what I should focus on. 73 to all.
voacap.com can help with propagation. You can't work 'em if you can't hear 'em :-)
Thanks for the suggestion. Definitely used that site quite a few times to see if a circuit was even possible and inform which band to use.
Use a patched WSJT-X and let it run 24/7 until you hit that state
And then bask in your achievement. Buy a nice frame for that WAS certificate. You earned it!
Well is clicking "Tx" a few hundred times manually using a full digital mode (with predefined standard messages) an achievment? If things can be automated they should be automated.
Better spent time on things that need manual work: improve your shack, antenna, algorithms and other stuff.
Tell us more about algorithms.
Ive worked ME, VT, from here in Scotland quite a lot (the propogation seems good to that northeastern bit from here) on 40m, so there are definately a bunch of operators there. That was 10pm-1am ish my time which I think is late afternoon/evening there.
What's your radio setup? Do you have your receive filter set to its widest possible bandwidth so you can see more signals at a time?
Yes, I think it is more about propagation - depending where you are. If you are within the continental USA then 20-15m means a lot of your signal is skipping over the US stations to longer distances. I would recommend 30m during the day and 40m early evening, late morning and 80m late evening, night and early morning to catch those areas.
Operating from HI, so everywhere else is DX for us :)
Ah, OK, everything changes then! You are probably on the right bands. Lots of great suggestions to your post here already, so I won't duplicate them.
I need Alaska, Montana and Utah. I am locates it Florida. I have almost had Utah and Montana a couple times. Wasn't quite able to complete. I don't think I have ever seen/heard an Alaska station.
I've worked and been spotted in Alaska quite a few times from HI, so they are definitely FT8 stations there. Depending on your antenna you may need to reorient it. I have an EFHW sloper and apparently the lower end favor directionality, which I believe is true. When I have it pointed west, I get picked up in Indonesia quite a lot.
Haven't noticed too much directionality in my antenna. It is an efhw that I have set up in my attic. A bit compromised but I get picked up in California, Europe and South America pretty well (on digital modes at least. I don't do a whole lot of ssb)
Never reached Asia though.
I am missing VT, DE, RI, ND.
As soon as my HB mag loop is completed, I'll be back in the hunt.
Guy from RI here. When I set up my HF station I'll give you a PM haha.
I leave my ft8 radio on 24/7. If I'm looking for a specific country/state etc I setup an alert on HamAlert. Set the country/state and set the spotter as my callsign.