Tag Archives: wsjt-x

First DX Using FT8

Made my first two DX contacts to Australia today on 40m FT8. I need to get used to the faster pace but otherwise looks like it works pretty well. I added the FT8 mode to HRD logging software and am uploading the contacts as “DATA” to LoTW.

Exploring a New Digitial Mode: FT8

Joe Taylor is testing a new digital mode called FT8. The development version of WSJT-X software now supports this mode. FT8 ( Franke-Taylor design, 8-FSK modulation) works similar to the more familiar JT-65 and JT-9 modes except the T/R cycle completes in just 15 seconds thus greatly reducing the time to complete a QSO. The bandwidth of the signal is 47 Hz and the decoding threshold is -20dB.

ft8

I downloaded the development version this morning and tried FT8 on 40m. There were just a few signals but I did close my first QSO. Pskreporter showed my signals was also being received in Australia this morning. Some things to note: Logging may not work and I understand that LoTW does not recognize FT8 as of yet. Also, the software autoexecutes the T/R sequence once the QSO starts. You have less than 2 seconds to select the station to respond too!

 

Hints on setting up Receive on WSJT-X and JTDX

I spent some time reading the manuals for WSJT-X & JTDX to ensure that I was optimizing recieve. This seems to have improved after making the following changes:

  1. Make sure the PC is set for 16-bit 48,000 Hz sound card sampling.
  2. Turn off AGC
  3. Properly set microphone level. This is a two step process. In my case, I dropped the microphone level in Windows to 1%. Then using the Connectors–>ACC/USB AF Level control on the rig, dropped the level until I could get to 30dB receive with the slider at mid-scale. In my case the AF level was set to 10%.

These changes have helped with receiving weak signals. JTDX in particular typically decodes 15 to twenty stations when the band is busy.