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Do FT8 operators typically respond to very late replies for an entire QSO? (for instance, transmitting in the 3rd slot or 5th slot after a CQ, to maintain even/odd alternation, instead of the time slot immediately after the corresponding FT8 reception)

The reason I'm asking is for minimum carry weight POTA/SOTA type ops, I'm thinking of trying a very lightweight computer (Raspberry Pi Zero W, et.al.) to run the FT8 decode/encode stack; and the processors in those tiny computers can't demodulate, decode and encode an FT8 signal in circa 1 to 2 seconds.

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Having nothing but my own personal experience as data, I would say, no this is not common. Sometimes people can't click fast enough to respond to a CQ and so their response comes on the "2nd time around", but after that all the responses are usually immediate.

Though I wouldn't say that means your idea wouldn't work. QSOs that are right on the edge of the minimum SNR sometimes take a few retries to work, and the WSJT-X software just keeps re-transmitting the same step in the exchange until a response is received.

As such, you'll probably eliminate contacts with especially impatient operators, but I'd bet most operators will wait for at least 1 retransmission before giving up, and you'll still have plenty of successful QSOs.

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