As a beta test, the popular Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) has announced that it’s now offering a separate telnet feed for FT8 spots (telnet.reversebeacon.net port 7001), in addition to the current spot feed (telnet.reversebeacon.net port 7000), which will be repurposed to handle only CW and RTTY spots. In addition, a beta version of Aggregator Version 5 that can handle FT8 spots received from WSJT-Xwill be available on the RBN website, with instructions on how RBN node operators can configure their nodes to spot FT8 call signs on one or more bands; this will not interfere with the ability to spot CW and RTTY call signs, the RBN team assured in its announcement, explaining its reasoning for the move. The beta test follows a limited alpha test aimed at getting a feel for the spot load and other implications of carrying FT8 spots on the RBN.
“The most striking characteristic of FT8 spots is their sheer quantity,” the RBN announcement said, citing weekday statistics from May 23 and 24 when FT8 spots represented 86% and 87% of all spots, respectively, while CW spots were 13% and 14%, respectively, and RTTY spots were below 1%. Throughput on both days totaled some 30,000 spots.