June 2019 NABRC Monthly Newsletter

North Augusta Belvedere Radio Club

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June Meeting

WHEN: Monday, June 10, 2019
6:30 PM - Fellowship
7:00 PM - Meeting

WHERE: Aiken Regional Medical Center
University Parkway (6th Floor - Classrooms A & B)
Aiken, SC

TALK-IN: 145.350 Mhz (- PL 156.7)

Program: Field Day planning and a demonstration of FT8. A live demonstration on how to configure and operate FT8 for Field Day points.

Upcoming Events

June 17, 2019 - 6:00 PM - Aiken County ARES at Aiken Regional Medical Center in the Cafeteria.
June 22-23, 2019 - Starting at 2:00 PM Saturday - ARRL Annual Field Day to be held at the Aiken County Municipal Building located at 1930 University Parkway in Aiken, SC. You can sign up to help by contacting Kevin, KJ4IVJ at kevink92057@....

New FT4 Beta Release "Leaps and Bounds" Better than Earlier Iterations

The WSJT-X Development Group released yet another new beta version of the FT4 protocol this week, and WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc7 is now available for testing. Developers point out that the FT4 included in this "release candidate 7" version is not compatible with any previous releases. A short mock contest session to wring out the contesting features of FT4 took place on June 4.

"Thanks to all who participated in yesterday's FT4 mock-contest practice session -- and especially to those who provided useful feedback. It is much appreciated!" said developer Joe Taylor, K1JT. "Everyone likes the 7.5-second T/R sequences, which provide operators with significantly more human interaction time than in previous revisions of FT4. Users also appreciated the sensitivity improvements and a larger range of acceptable time offsets (DT)." DT represents the combined clock difference for the transmitting and receiving computers, he explained.

Based on data compiled by Steve Franke, K9AN, Taylor said that it appears developers have the WSJT-X timing behavior under good control on all supported platforms, and the range of measured signal-to-noise values extended down to -21 dB.

"I operated for about 3 hours using 100 W and a dipole," Taylor recounted. "I copied transmissions from 263 unique call signs and made 143 QSOs in 29 states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 15 DXCCs."

Taylor said the developers anticipate addressing all remaining issues they're aware of. "I believe we are on a good path toward a General Availability (GA) release of WSJT-X 2.1.0 by mid-July," he said.

"This new version of FT4 is leaps and bounds better than before," said Mike Black, W9MDB, in a June 4 post to the Yahoo WSJT Meteor Scatter and Weak Signal Group. "I worked almost everybody I could see without any repeats. Seems like we have a winner here."

Changes, improvements, and bug fixes that have been made since WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc5 include:
  • T/R sequence length increased from 6.0 to 7.5 seconds.
  • Signal bandwidth decreased from 90 Hz to 80 Hz.
  • Improved sensitivity: Threshold S/N is now -17.5 dB.
Release candidate WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc7 will be available for beta-testing through July 21, and it will permanently cease to function after that date. It will not be usable during the ARRL June VHF Contest or during ARRL Field Day. Taylor advised using WSJT-X 2.0.1 and FT8 for these events.

Downloadable installation packages for WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc7 under Windows, Linux, and macOS are available on the WSJT-X web page.


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