[CQ-Contest] [DX-IS] RBN Announcement on FT8 Spotting

rjairam at gmail.com rjairam at gmail.com
Tue Jun 12 16:50:29 EDT 2018

I agree fully with Hans.

There’s no need for it on FT8 unless you’re dealing with aggregate data for
propagation mapping and station performance metering.


On Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 2:49 PM Radio KØHB <kzerohb at gmail.com> wrote:

> Since virtually all FT8 operations are clustered into their own 3kHz
> smoking-pit on each band, the mode requires no “searching around the band”
> for individual signals.  Essentially the entire workable “band” of FT8
> signals is visible at your own station without an outside feed.
> That, coupled with the very detailed graphic presentations at sites like
> pskreporter.info and pskreporter.de, seems to make a traditional CW-style
> spotting network for of low value to an FT8 operator.  In fact, I would
> posit that the traditional Spotting/RBN infrastructure is really rather
> quaint and unsophisticated when compared to the information available at
> pskreporter.info.
> 73, de Hans, KØHB
> "Just a boy and his radio"™
> From: N4ZR n4zr at comcast.net [DX-IS]
> Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 1:35 PM
> To: RBN-OPS at groups.io; sysops at dxcluster.info; WW1ME at arrl.org;
> DX-IS at yahoogroups.com; reflector cq-contest
> Subject: [DX-IS] RBN Announcement on FT8 Spotting
> As some may be aware, we’ve been debating for some time about whether the
> RBN should handle FT8 spots.  A few weeks, ago, several prolific RBN nodes
> began spotting FT8 signals, using the combination of WSJT-X and an
> unreleased Aggregator, version 5.  The purpose of this limited Alpha test
> was to get a feel for the load and other implications of carrying FT8 spots
> on the RBN; it has been very revealing.
> The most striking characteristic of FT8 spots is their sheer quantity.
> Here are some weekday statistics from one of the US testers:
> 23-May
> CW 4294 14%
> RTTY 69  0.22%
> FT8  26318  86%
> Total 30681
> 24-May
> CW  4370  13%
> RTTY  46  0.14%
> FT8  29298  87%
> Total  33714
> Whether due to the startling popularity of the new mode, or to the ability
> to spot stations at 22 dB below the noise level, it seems obvious that
> adding FT8 spots to our spot flow could have a huge impact on the
> infrastructure of the RBN.  These numbers suggest that if only 20-30 RBN
> nodes added FT8 spots, those spots could outnumber the total CW and RTTY
> spots being delivered by the 140-150 nodes currently active on the network,
> doubling the total required throughput.
> We frankly don’t know whether the RBN servers will be up to the task, so
> we decided we had better find out before the fall contest season is upon
> us.  Accordingly, we are taking the following steps on a Beta test basis:
> 1. Effective immediately, the RBN’s current spot feed (telnet,
> reversebeacon.net port 7000) will be repurposed to handle only CW and
> RTTY spots. telnet.reversebeacon.net port 7001 will be set up for FT8
> spots only.
> 2. Operators of “retail” DX clusters are encouraged to offer the option of
> RBN spots with and without FT8 spots, as they now often give users a choice
> between spot streams with and without “Skimmer” spots, and to advertise
> when they begin to carry FT8 spots
> 3. A Beta test version of Aggregator Version 5 that can handle FT8 spots
> received from WSJT-X will be made available on the RBN web site, along with
> instructions on how RBN node-ops can configure their nodes to spot FT8 on
> one or multiple bands.  Note, please, that doing so will not interfere with
> your ability to continue spotting CW and RTTY.
> We will closely monitor how the RBN servers handle this new load, as more
> and more nodes begin sending FT8 spots.  We also reserve the right to take
> steps as necessary to protect the core mission of the RBN, including
> shutting off the FT8 stream on major CW and RTTY contest weekends or, in an
> extreme case, discontinuing spotting of FT8 altogether.  Even in a worst
> case scenario, FT8 spots will continue to be carried by PSKReporter.
> We hope we’re not doing this in a vacuum.  The RBN team has been
> collecting the views of contesters and DXers on this, and we think that
> we’re headed in the right direction.  Feel free to let us know what you
> think of this experiment.
> 73,
> The RBN Team (KM3T, N4ZR, PY1NB, SV3SJ, W3OA)
> __._,_.___
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