During last JOTA (2019) I tried FT-8 for the first time. Initially making all the beginners mistakes (using an old version of wsjt-x, wrong sound levels etc). I picked it up later at home when I put up the 40m deltaloop for the weekend. Then the FT-8 fun really started. Since then my new radio room became available. I put down a temporary desk so I can attach my radio’s, pc and such. After a week or so it really started to itch I did not had a HF-antenna available. The ICOM AH-4 coupler was still in storage. But I did had an MTFT 1:9 balun laying around. I glued some military fiber mast together and attached an antenna wire of about 13 meters of length to it.
With the ICOM IC-7300 operational again I restarted the FT-8 fun and searched all the bands for FT-8 contacts.
And fun it is! Especially because you don’t have to sit behind your desk to make FT-8 contacts! When you activate screen sharing on your shack computer, you can bring a laptop almost anywhere and take over your shack computer and do some FT-8! Now there is almost nothing I do not combine with FT-8 besides sleeping.
Meanwhile I pulled out the ICOM AH-4 from storage and attached it to the bottom of the new “HF-mast”. I changed the antenna wire from 13 meters to 19 meters. All bands are tune-able but 160 meters. So I still have to fine tune a little.
Overall I am very happy with my new HF setup. The new radio room still needs a lot of work. I’m preparing a new custom desk (wall to wall) which will be big enough for an operating corner and a test/build/repairing corner. Also I’m working on a 120mm sewer pipe from the roof straight thru the chimney and in to the new radio room because then I will never have coax cable issues again (plenty of room).