Friday, June 12, 2020

First Moonbounce Contact Using FT8 Reported

Screen shot of FT8 EME QSO between W2HRO and PA2V
(From K1JT's WSJT-X webpage)
An Earth-Moon-Earth contact on May 21 between W2HRO in New Jersey and PA2V in the Netherlands is believed to be the first-ever EME contact using the FT8 digital mode. The 432-MHz contact was made using the newest version of the WSJT-X software suite, version 2.2.0, which is now generally available (but was still a "release candidate" at the time of this QSO). 

WJST developer Joe Taylor, K1JT, noted in a Moon-Net post that while JT65 has long been used for EME QSOs and FT8 is less sensitive than JT65, the shorter (15-second) transmit / receive sequence made the exchange four times faster. 
Speaking of DX using FT8, Newsline reports that on May 29, SP5XMU in Warsaw contacted D4VHF, the Monteverde Contest Team station on Cape Verde, on 2 meters using the mode. The QSO of some 3,500 miles was helped by a huge sporadic-E opening across Europe at the time.