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Default [KB6NU] RBN spotting FT8 signals

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RBN spotting FT8 signals

Posted: 15 Jun 2018 12:13 PM PDT

The Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) has started experimenting with spotting
FT8 signals. Their results are yet another indication of how FT8 is taking
over the HF bands.

Heres the announcement that they recently published to RBN node ops and

As some may be aware, weve 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:





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 dont 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:

¬*Effective immediately, the RBNs current spot feed
(telnet, port 7000) will be repurposed to handle only CW
and RTTY spots. port 7001 will be set up for FT8
spots only.
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.
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 were not doing this in a vacuum.¬* The RBN team has been collecting
the views of contesters and DXers on this, and we hope that were headed in
the right direction.¬* Feel free to let us know what you think of this


The RBN Team (KM3T, N4ZR, PY1NB, SV5SJ, W3OA)

The post RBN spotting FT8 signals appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

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