All posts by David Honey

WSJT-X, FT8, MSK144

The current General Availability (GA) release is WSJT-X 2.0.0

The FT8 and MSK144 protocols have been enhanced in a way that is not backward compatible with older program versions. The new protocols become the world-wide standards starting on December 10, 2018, and all users should upgrade to WSJT-X 2.0 by January 1, 2019. After that date, only the new FT8 and MSK144 should be used on the air.

For FT8, WSJT-X 2.0.0 will decode the messages sent by earlier releases and respond with the corresponding older message format. However, for MSK144 (often used for meteor scatter), the payloads are incompatible and 2.0 will not decode messages sent from pre 2.0, and vice-versa.

See https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html for details and download.

For those of you that also use JTAlert with WSTJ-X, there is a later version 2.12.10. See https://hamapps.com/ for details and download.

Podcast about Understanding Receiver Specifications

Thought the following Podcast might be interesting to members:

https://www.hamradioworkbench.com/podcast/understanding-hf-receiver-specifications

Eric Swartz WA6HHQ, co-founder of Elecraft, joins us to guide our understanding of RF receiver performance specifications. Eric introduces us to common receiver specs such as Sensitivity, Noise Floor, Dynamic Range, Intermod Dynamic Range, Phase Noise, and RMDR. He tells us what they mean in real-world receiver performance terms, how they are tested, and whether it’s better to have a higher or lower number in each one. It’s also the final episode before the 2018 Hamvention and George and Jeremy share our plans for our Booth, special offers, and exclusives for show listeners who stop by booth 3104 in Xenia.

David M0DHO

RSGB Commonwealth Contest (BERU)

The RSGB Commonweatlh Contest is on next weekend, starting at 10:00 Saturday 10th and ending at 10:00 Sunday 11th. This is a CW contest.

Details of the contest including rules can be found at http://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/rules/2018/rberu.shtml.

If you are not normally active in this historic contest then please consider taking part. The Commonwealth Contest (where CQ Beru is used to solicit QSOs) is a great opportunity to work Commonwealth DX stations without the normal EU wall of contesters to contend with. Often the DX stations can be worked at marginal signal levels which would be quite impossible in the big international contests. For stacks of background information see Bob G3PJTs excellent website.

UK HQ stations

This year we will have seven RSGB HQ stations using the regional variations of G6XX the RSGB Contest Club callsign. This is following clarification from Ofcom that a Club Callsign can be active from multiple UK regions simultaneously. See QRZ.com for the history of G6XX.

 Chris is also using GB5CC under the new rule that other HQ stations may be active to celebrate or commemorate events of significance to the Commonwealth. This will be to recognise the forthcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Megan Markle in May, unless Chris can suggest an alternative justification.

X8.2 Solar flare

I was on 20m working EU and DX stations using FT8 this afternoon. Just after 16:00, I noticed all signals faded quite markedly and within a minute or two. It was sufficiciently ominous for me to check on http://dx.qsl.net/propagation/index.html and http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/goes-x-ray-flux. A couple of minutes later, I saw an X class flare reported. That explained the HF fadeout. About 5 minutes later I saw it was rated as X8.2, only a little weaker than the X9 flare we had on the 6th September. It will be interesting to see if the CME was Earth directed, and if so, how much aurora we’ll get for VHF propogation fun.

David M0DHO