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dealing with wsjt-x ft8

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Software' started by KA1BSZ, Jun 12, 2018.

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  1. KA1BSZ

    KA1BSZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I learned that when using the wsjt-x ft8 program,it is a wonderful program, must be near the internet to work properly,however, you can run your laptop on the battery,but you must use a computer clock calibration system. I was checking the calibrations with NIST.GOV and click on settings and then it's done. I was doing this every other day, so I deleted it. The HRD,FLDIGI,ETC Do not need any calibrations. If and when there is another new WSJT-X program that is virus free that I can safely down load, then I will,but until now, it's HRD.
  2. K5URU

    K5URU Ham Member QRZ Page

    It sounds like you had a frustrating experience with FT8. I can certainly understand that, but with the help of a few additional programs, it actually gets easier. I don't want anyone to feel excluded, especially when FT8 allows so many of us with modest stations to make some nice contacts that would otherwise be extremely unlikely. I certainly don't want anyone to be excluded because of technical issues that we can solve together.

    Don't let me tell you what to do, but just in case you decide that you'd like to give FT8 another try, I thought I'd take a few minutes to address your concerns and share some tips that will make your experience a lot more fun next time.

    For FT8, it is definitely helpful to have internet access (or even intermittent internet access), but certainly not strictly required. As long as your computer clock is set to that it's within about 1 second of most other stations, you can make a lot of contacts with no problems. Most computer clocks will have no problem maintaining that accuracy for a day or two with no internet connection. However, if you are going to use the internet to sync your clock, there are much more reliable and less labor-intensive methods than manually setting your clock to match a website.

    Consider installing Meinberg NTP. Once you install it, the program will gradually sync your computer to an internet time source while connected, and will leave it alone when not connected. This happens automatically, and never requires you to do anything else once it's successfully installed. If for some reason you don't like Meinberg NTP, Dimension4 is another popular choice with similar functionality.

    Another clock program that comes in handy for WSJT-X use is TimeFudge, by W9MDB. It's a tiny little program that allows you manually nudge your computer clock forward or backwards by very small amounts. When I'm trying to make an FT8 contact with another station whose clock is "off" by a few seconds, this utility lets me temporarily match my clock to theirs. I imagine it would also make it easier to manually adjust your clock when you don't have an internet connection. Remember, it doesn't have to be exact, just try to get it close to everybody else - the majority of those stations have their clocks internet-synced, so you don't even necessarily need to look at a time standard website.

    I also use fldigi and think it's great for other digital modes. I've heard good things about HRD and its DM780 program as well. Most days you can usually find several folks making contacts with PSK, Olivia, or occationally or one of the other modes. And these other modes are obviously the way to go if you want to take a few minutes and have a nice chat with someone.

    But, for FT8, WSJT-X is the main program that you'll want to use. As long as you download it from its original source on the Princeton website, you won't have to worry about getting a virus. There are some alternatives, like JTDX, but I'd recommend sticking with WSJT-X until you're more experienced.

    If you decide to give FT8 another try in the future, and plan on using it for more than a handful of contacts, I'd also highly recommend looking into a program called JTAlert. It's a companion program, designed to help you keep track of the contacts that you need most, like DX, states, or grids that aren't yet in your logbook. JTAlert has become indispensable to me; I can't imagine using WSJT-X without it.

    Remember, there are tens of thousands of hams using these programs daily, so if you need help with any of this, just ask here on QRZ and someone will know the answer. We're all here to help each other and learn from each other.

    Good luck and I hope to catch you on one of the digital modes, whether it's FT8 or PSK or something else!

    Blake K5URU
    K5RCD likes this.
  3. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I sync the win7 clock prior to a ft8 session. Running some stuff like the sdr software & wxsat decoding while doing wsjtx is usually the culprit, its never out too much
    Its just a habit now
    W1XWX likes this.
  4. KP4SX

    KP4SX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the tip about TimeFudge. I could use that!
  5. N3AT

    N3AT Ham Member QRZ Page

  6. VA3VF

    VA3VF Guest

    Buy one of these:

    Install BktTimeSync free software:

    And problem solved.

    By the way, if downloaded WSJT-X from K1JT's page, you can safely ignore the warning.
  7. KA1BSZ

    KA1BSZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am using the software and am going to install the latest wsjt-x rc3 program,will try that GPS and it still doesn't work properly,the I'll remove it permately
  8. KA1BSZ

    KA1BSZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I uninstalled the wsjt-x ft8 program last week. this program has been the most troublesome program that I have ever had in all my 40 years of hamming and got rid of it and really don't miss it. I'll try your suggestion,but I have my doubts that it will work any better than what I have now.
  9. VA3VF

    VA3VF Guest

    Version 1.9.1 is out, no reason to use RC3.

    While the base code is the same, try JTDX then, to see if it makes any difference.

    WSJT-X is very stable and well behaved. There must be other issues involved.
  10. KA1BSZ

    KA1BSZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    the up dated version was the 1.9.0 rc3 and when I installed it,I knew right away that there was something funny about it and that was last month. So I removed it from the laptop. I'll try the 1.9.1 version and hopefully that will work better. I've been trying to get this FT8 program to work right since last June.

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