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A NEW FT8 with QSO and Rag Chew capabilities called FT8CALL

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by NN2X, Aug 12, 2018.

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  1. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think I'll wait for a controlled-condition comparison to come out on that subject. :) They have been done for other modes. Adding FT8 would be rather simple to do in the same conditions, although the minimum-SNR copy value would just have to be adjusted upward +6dB when the comparison was finished in order to compensate for the lack of in-band clock.
  2. KN4CRD

    KN4CRD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not the first time I've heard this great idea. It's something I've explored before and the protocol for FT8Call actually supports it. Reserved for the future :)

    What you have to do here is only compress the words with which you'll get bit savings. E.g., a 16 bit encoding of a word makes no sense if you can transmit the word in 9 bits without the "compression". So, there are many words in that list that should not be included.

    The other problem is that many of the QSOs being sent use either non-standard abbreviations or terrible mis-spellings. So, you'd only see the speed improvement if you were a good typist. What an incentive to learn touch typing. Might have to add spellcheck to the tool :p

    These things led me to implement it as it is today, a middle-ground encoding of the most common trigram / quadgrams that could be packed efficiently.

    But, still, a dictionary approach would be pretty interesting... we'd probably be able to get a 20WPM average with a 14-bit word identifier.

    Want to help out and put together a "ham" dictionary of common abbreviations, words, q codes, etc?


    Jordan / KN4CRD
    N2IPH/SK2022 likes this.
  3. KN4CRD

    KN4CRD Ham Member QRZ Page

    JS8Call (used to be called FT8Call) now uses a form of compression to achieve up to 20WPM.
    K2NCC likes this.
  4. KD2NOM

    KD2NOM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Upgraded to JS8 yesterday and had quite a few great ragchews on 20 meter. Thanks again Jordan.
  5. NN2X

    NN2X XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I posted before

    About the program JS8CALL

    It does 15WPM, to 20 WPM....

    Here is my take, if you like CW, and can do 20WPM, this does the same, just at -24dB below the noise floor. whereas at very best CW does -13db (And that is really favoring CW with many assumptions)

    I always say, that most of the future innovation will be in the digital modes and Jordan (KN4CRD) has really hit a home run!

    If you all recall, FT8 was criticized as robotic, no ability to have a real QSO.

    Jordan (KN4CRD) created the FT8CALL, and that was great!. With FT8CALL you could have a QSO at 10 WPM while decoding at -24dB below the noise floor while only using 50 HZ Bandwidth!

    But Ham operators were indicating 10 WPM is to slow

    Welcome to JS8CALL...!

    Now the code speed from 15WPM to 20WPM, mean while decoding at -24dB below the noise floor! (50HZ of Bandwidth) / Whereas CW at 20WPM at best is -13dB below the noise floor!

    Here is the down load URL

    You have to hand it to Jordan, (KN4CRD), this is amazing evolution in digital communications.

    Some other great features.

    There's a new "selective calling" (SELCALL) mode that you can enable. When enabled, it basically acts like a filter, preventing ALLCALL and BEACONs from being displayed in your RX text area. When enabled, only directed messages to you will be displayed. Along with this, is a new GROUPCALL callsign you can transmit to. It works like ALLCALL, except it will only be printed at stations that are within 100Hz of you. So, if you want to create a round table discussion with a few of your friends, QSY to within 100Hz from each other and send: "GROUPCALL HEY FRIENDS!"

    The founder also created a way to manually synchronize your clock time
    (an adjust your clock drift, if necessary). It's not designed to be used as your primary means of synchronization (you should use NTP or GPS for that if you have it available).

    The founder also created a new automatic "BEACON ACK" reply to be sent when you have BEACON mode enabled. It basically works as an automated "ALLCALL?" when you BEACON. This allows you to not have to send "ALLCALL?" manually any more. Just BEACON instead.

    With this... stations who reply to you are now marked specially in the heard list so you can find them easily:

    That's the benefit of BEACON ACK. All of that happens without intervention from you while you're BEACONing. Very cool.

    A couple other things:

    * Macros are renamed to Saved Messages.

    * You can now save a message you've typed into the TX textbox without having to go into your settings.

    * The TX watchdog is renamed to idle watchdog to be more clear with it's intent (and a few bugs with it fixed). If turned on, it'll prevent transmissions when you've been idle for more than N minutes. Useful if you don't want your station transmitting after you step away.

    * Better buffering of messages while a station drifts more than a few Hz during message transmission.

    There are a ton more features! Just down load and you will get the picture

    Tom, NN2X, C U on the bands..
    LB9YH and K2NCC like this.
  6. WA9GVK

    WA9GVK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Big Kudos to Jordan KN4CRD !!

    The FT8 digital mode had single-handedly got me back involved with amateur radio. Being under HOA restrictions and operating only with attic antennas and 100W, getting a DXCC or WAS was unimaginable. It was also unimaginable to have QSOs late at night on 40M with the SSB (voice) stations all running a 1+KW and tall antenna farms with beams. Getting on FT8 and WSPR a year ago, I was literally shocked how many countries and states I could reach on low power with my crappy indoor antennas. I was amazed to be able receive stations whose tones I couldn't hear through the noise. About midway through my ultimately successful quest to achieve DXCC and WAS on FT8 I thought it would be a great idea to use the FT8 technology for limited ragchewing, even if it would drop S/N a few db in performance. In fact, I was quite dismayed to learn that the FT8 development team was focussing all their efforts on contesters (I'm not) rather than solve the ability to have some basic QSO ability. OLIVIA was suggested to me but frankly that mode, for many reasons, never has taken off.

    I was so pleased when Steve Ford at the ARRL mentioned to me the existence of JS8Call. What a great idea!!

    I just got on and made my first QSO even without fully reading the manual! (A no-no) My point is that the initial screen layout, even in the early development stations, looks to be user friendly.

    I really appreciate all the hard work and innovation that Jordan, and his support team, have put into this project. When QST does a story on JS8Call in January 2019 I expect interest and usage will take off. I do believe this mode has relevance in emergencies especially with low power transmitters that may be on battery or solar power.

    Again, Jordan you are to be commended for taking the bull by the horns and putting your smarts and energy into making this mode possible.

    Bruce, WA9GVK

    BTW, I'm running JS8Call on a Mac using Parallels and Windows 7 software without any problem.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
    N2IPH/SK2022 and NN2X like this.
  7. KC9QNE

    KC9QNE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have you complained about FT4 using those same frequencies now
    LB9YH likes this.

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