We show that inserting pilot tones with frequency intervals inversely proportional to the subcarrier index exhibits greatly improved dispersion estimation performance when compared to the equal spacing design in optical fast orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (F-OFDM). With the proposed design, a 20-Gbit/s four amplitude shift keying optical F-OFDM system with 840-km transmission without optical dispersion compensation is experimentally demonstrated. It is shown that a single F-OFDM symbol with six pilot tones can achieve near-optimal estimation performance for the 840-km dispersion. This is in contrast to the minimum of ten pilot tones using an equal spacing design with either cubic or Fourier-transform-based interpolation. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.