Official Newsletter of the OM International Sideband Society. March 2018

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1 Official Newsletter of the OM International Sideband Society March 2018

2 OMISS Dayton Hamvention 2018 OMISS Booth, Dinner and Photo Info Planning is underway for another fantastic gathering at this year s Dayton Hamvention. If you plan to attend, make sure you check out the OMISS booth. Enter for a prize to be given at the conclusion of the weekend. Gather on Saturday May 19 th at noon, just outside the tent for group photo. Then join us for dinner at Jimmie s Ladder 11 in Dayton. Enjoy a great meal with great prices! Presentation, dinner and door prizes. Detailed information is available on the website in the OMISS Forum. We hope you can join us! RSVP to the dinner via May 18-20, 2018 Dayton Hamvention OMISS Booth OMISS Dinner May 19 th 5:30 social 6:00 Dinner Jimmie s Ladder 11 locate at 936 Brown St, Dayton, OH VISIT THE WEBSITE FOR FULL MENU

3 With all the different types of Modes available to operate for the amateur radio enthusiast, one of the newest is taking over as the preferred digital mode. FT8. What exactly is FT8? This new mode is named after its developers, Steven Franke, K9AN, and Joe Taylor, K1JT. They are calling the mode FT8 (Franke-Taylor design, 8- FSK modulation). Tones are spaced 5.86 Hz, and an FT8 signal occupies only 47 Hz. This mode is FAST and FUN! FT8 is popular for a number of reasons. The author OMISS #4910 working some state side and DX contacts on 17 meter FT8 running 45 watts to a simple wire antenna at 32 feet It s pretty simple to set up It s fast! Much faster that JT-65 which is a similar digital mode It works very well even in high noise and with low power It s very popular and there is not lack of FT8 activity on the bands It can be set up to be semi-automatic making for much easier contacts It s a great way to rack up a ton of contact very fast! (Think WAS, DX contacts and more) As with other digital modes, you interface your HF radio to a computer and use the free software that can be found at the WSJT web site: FT8 contacts are restricted to small message with a limit of 13 characters per message. Below is a typical contact/exchange over FT8: UTC db DT Freq Message "Translation" CQ KF7TLL DM34 CQ from KF7TLL Tx 2551 KF7TLL KA7MPX DN05 KA7MPX replies with call sign and location KA7MPX KF7TLL +00 KF7TLL responds with a signal report Tx 2551 KF7TLL KA7MPX R+11 KA7MPX replies with a signal report KA7MPX KF7TLL RRR KF7TLL says "Reception Report Received" Tx 2551 KF7TLL KA7MPX 73 KA7MPX says Best Regards KA7MPX KF7TLL 73 KF7TLL says Best Regards Actual FT8 contact between the author KA7MPX OMISS #4910 AND KF7TLL OMISS # 8827

4 These individual lines of messages, again 13 characters maximum, takes only 13 seconds to send. There are four 15 second slots per minute, as you can see in the above contact between myself and OMISS member Bruce KF7TLL. You transmit for one 15 second block, then listen for replies/responses for 15 seconds, then transmit again for 15 seconds. Once the FT8 software is configured properly the exchange as shown above is nearly completely automatic! More on that to follow. The above exchange would have taken approximately seven minutes to complete on digital mode JT65 while it was done here with FT8 in 90 seconds! This image shown above is a typical waterfall display of what FT8 signals look like. You can see from the screen shot above that there are nearly 2 dozen QSO in progress and visible, all of these contacts are taking place on a single frequency of 14, FT8 was designed to handle weak signals with great efficiency. A licensed amateur radio operator running any power from QRP to 75 watts will be able to make some impressive contacts even with a modest antenna, something not always easy to do while operating voice/ssb or other digital modes. Operating dual computer monitors sure makes operating this mode a lot more easily as there is a ton of information that can be displayed all at once. The authors HF radio and RIGblaster plus computer interface Getting on the air with FT8 Getting on the airwaves with FT8 is pretty straight forward. You ll need a radio and antenna, a computer, a computer interface to use between the radio and your computer, I use a RIGblaster plus but any interface should work fine. Lastly you ll need the software that is a free download from the WSJT-x web site. The interface will need to connect to the computers soundcard, for both audio in and audio out, as well as a USB port for radio control. As required with any software supporting data modes, you will need to take some time to configure your computer and software settings. The following setup information is found by going to File and then Settings once the program is opened.

5 The General tab within the WSJT-x software is where you will set up some standard information that will be displayed in the various windows when the program is actually running. The first three boxes in the Display options on the General tab should be checked as shown. Also make sure that the boxes under Behavior are checked as shown, then click OK. The Radio tab is where you will configure your specific brand of radio. There is information on the WSJT-x website that has additional information for helping you set up the software to get you going. You will need to set the CAT Control, as shown in the screen shot to the left, to match your radio s data settings, which can typically be found in your radios user manual or from online information. In the scenario shown above, which is the settings for my ICOM 765PRO, you can see that I have the CAT Control Serial Port set to COM3, and the Baud Rate is set to These are settings that match my radios settings and allow it to talk to the software, check your radio s user manual for your specific settings. In addition you can see the other specific configuration buttons that have been selected under the Radio setting. Most common models of radios already have their comms settings built-in to the WSJT-x software so it s just a matter of selecting the proper radio from the drop down list. The proper PTT Method button will need to be selected so the computer can put the radio into Transmit. In my case, as shown above, I have selected CAT. This button selection is required so the software knows how to trigger the radio to Transmit. Often this will be a separate COM port that needs setting up in the software.

6 Setting up the audio requires connecting a lead from the external speaker socket on your radio to the audio in socket on your computers sound card. In my case I connected the external speaker from my ICOM 756PRO to the mic jack on my computers sound card. Again, in my particular set up, I had to connect the audio from the audio out on my computers sound card to my computer interface s audio in and then from the interfaces audio out to a pair of studio monitor speakers that I use to hear the receiving audio from my radio. Individual set ups will vary depending on brand of radio, computer and interface being used but there s plenty of information available on the internet to help you out. Google is everyone s friend! Once you download and install the software to your computer you will need to configure that software to work with both your radio and the computer hardware that you have. In this screen shot you can see where I have selected the audio Input and Output configuration based on my computers actual hardware that is installed in my computer. These hardware settings can be found by accessing the Control Panel from your computer. Getting the right speaker and mic settings for sending and receiving are part of the required software settings (This portion of the setup actually took the most time for me as I have numerous pieces of hardware connected to my computers soundcard and my computer/radio interface). Once the software is up and running you can configure the various windows to your liking. At some point you will see the information displayed to the right. Make sure that you have the Auto Seq button checked. This will allow the conversation between you and the other station (shown circled in red) to happen automatically! All you have to do is mouse click on the station calling CQ and off you go!

7 Finally, one of the absolute most important parts to make the FT8 software work and allow you hours and hours of digital mode enjoyment is to make sure that your computer s clock in 100% in sync with the FT8 software. I usually make it a point to check my computers clock with my radios clock by syncing them both with WWV. A computer s onboard clock can be notorious for drifting off (mine is!), and FT8 needs to transmit and receive at very specific times to work. This accuracy needs to be to the second. This can also be done by using Dimension 4 for keeping your clock accurate. This runs in the background and keeps your computers clock in-sync by resetting the time to one of the online atomic clock servers every 20 minutes. This was a pretty basic run down on getting on the air with FT8. There are several OMISS members who are very active on this mode and working DX has never been easier! I hope you take some time to check out this fun and exciting digital mode and I look forward to making some FT8 contacts with all of you! TRIVIA! Founded in 1921, which company is credited with being the first fast food chain?

8 Congratulations to Bobby KF5GTX OM#7409 for Finishing 1 st Place in Oklahoma for his Category during the recent ARRL DX Contest! Congratulations to the following for their efforts in the 2018 OMSS QSO Party John NO2N OM # st Place Overall/1 st Place NY David W8WMM OM # nd Place Overall/1 st Place OH Bernie WY0Q OM # rd Place Overall/1 st Place MO TRIVIA ANSWER: White Castle Q: What do you call an everyday potato? A: A commentator

9 OMISS WORD SEARCH! N Y Q M I L H Q E J U C N Q J T L L V R G D N Q Z H S E B T W X S P V V C H P D L S T M F D M F F R K C Z G A E P C I P G M T I R O F K P Y C R O S Y Q R M W V E P H M T S I N U A H H I Q O E T A Q O H N T Y Z F T X B I B B T G N H G R G F R Z A X H V Y Y E A X F O L Y S R E W O L F T N L T S L G B W S D R I B V K W I S I G P B Y S U N S H I N E O N W O M O Q O M I S S V X G M O E E N H D O O R P R I Z E O R Z E N X Q R J X T S E T N O C Q I U N BIRDS CONTEST DAYTON DOORPRIZE FIVEBYFIVE FLOWERS HOBBY NETCONTROL NEWSLETTER OMISS PROPAGATION QRM SPRING SUNSHINE TWOBYTWO OMISS Elected Officials President W9FML, Carrie #8420 Vice Pres. K6HP, Ed #7019 Treasurer K5ENA, John #4604 Secretary W7XTZ, Mike #7112 Directors N8SPM, John # N4JTE, Bob #1440 Check out OMISS on Facebook

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