How I look for stations on FT8

I’m closing in on Worked All States on 17m. It’s been challenging. Looking at how I picked up stations for this band, all the west coast stations and DX like HI and AK have been easy. East Coast stations have been harder. That’s been different from 80, 40, and 20m. I think this is because of the difference in propagation. Morning propagation is not always favorable to the close-in east coast on 17. It’s usually easier for me to find DX to the Scandinavian countries and Europe than states. In the afternoon, the distance is a little farther to the west coast states, and afternoon and early evening is usually good for them and DX to west, such as Japan.

So a few weeks ago I had a hard time picking up VT on 17. I scanned the web clusters, set up JT Alerts and just couldn’t run across VT stations. I finally started looking for grid squares and that at least helped me to identify some potential stations even if they were too weak to contact at the moment. I happened to wake up early one morning (before first light) and went to the radio and picked up VT right away, just by changing the time of day.My contact was the divisional head of ARRL, and after emailing him, he told me he was up early before work and decided to check the bands before he left. A purely serendipitous contact! So sometimes it’s knowing what hasn’t worked and trying something different.

This morning I am on the hunt for RI (FN41) and DE (FM28), having picked up CT yesterday afternoon. It’s truly like a box of chocolates!

Having fun and no pressure on this one.


Good for you. Maybe I’ll get there some day!

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