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Demonstration: Using FLDigi to Communicate with Olivia Digital Mode on Shortwave

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by NW7US, Jan 3, 2018.

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  1. NW7US

    NW7US Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Are you interested in starting out with the amateur-radio digital modes on the high frequencies? Have you heard of FLDigi? FLDigi is a software control and modem suite that interfaces with your transceiver, your computer sound card, and other input/output interfaces so that you can receive and transmit one of many digital modes. For example, FLDigi allows you to operate using the Olivia digital mode.


    Unlike the JT/FT digital modes--modes that do an incredible job under marginal propagation conditions--there are other modes that offer keyboard-to-keyboard conversational QSO opportunities that can overcome rough shortwave radio propagation conditions. (The meaning of QSO on Wikipedia: An amateur radio contact, more commonly referred to as simply a "contact", is an exchange of information between two amateur radio stations.)

    While making quick work of getting DX stations into your logbook by exchanging callsigns, a signal report, and a grid square, the JT/FT modes (JT stands for Joe Taylor, the fellow that pioneered these modes) are limited. They cannot handle any additional communications beyond a callsign, a signal report, a grid square, and a very limited set of acknowledgments and sign-off messages.

    When you desire to get to know people from other areas of the world, or if you need to establish networks around the world for passing information--perhaps an emergency net in support of the Red Cross--or if you are motivated by any other of a myriad reasons to establish a keyboard-to-keyboard conversation by way of the ionosphere, modes like Olivia are great candidates for your consideration.

    In this video, contributing editor with CQ Amateur Radio Magazine, NW7US shares some starting points in the FLDigi software for Olivia keyboard-to-keyboard chat mode.

    Current CENTER Frequencies With 8/250 in MHz:

    1.8269, 3.5729, 7.0729, 10.1429, 14.0729, 18.1029, 21.0729, 24.9229, 28.1229, and so on. See the pattern?

    By the way: The current suggested CENTER frequency With 16/1000 or 32/1000 on 20 meters is 14.1059.

    (Why the ...9 frequencies? Experts say that ending in a non-zero, odd number is easier to remember!)

    Q: What's a 'CENTER' Frequency? Is That Where I Set My Radio's Dial?

    For those new to waterfalls: the CENTER frequency is the CENTER of the cursor shown by common software. The cursor is what you use to set the transceiver’s frequency on the waterfall. If your software’s waterfall shows the frequency, then you simply place the cursor so that its center is right on the center frequency listed, above. If your software is set to show OFFSET, then you might, for example, set your radio’s dial frequency to 14.0714, and place the center of your waterfall cursor to 1500 (1500 Hz). That would translate to the 14.0729 CENTER frequency.

    The FLDigi Manual of Operation is found here:

    FLDigi can be downloaded here:

    Join the Olivia movement:

    1. Subscribe to the mailing list:

    2. Join the Facebook group:

    For additional information on Olivia, check out:

    73 de NW7US
    N6ITE, KE8EC, N9PBD and 2 others like this.
  2. N7ZDR

    N7ZDR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Capture.PNG Great write up Thomas, and thanks for all our work getting the word out. Now that the holidays are behind us I can get back to getting our new net up and running. We all know that the working conditions on 75/80 meters are rough at best, but again will be attempting to run a net this Friday the 5th of December. Hope it see and hear everyone that may check in.
    KE8EC, N9PBD and W6ERM like this.
  3. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    It doesn't seem to recognize my Windows 10 tablet, built in on screen keyboard.

    I tap on the places where you are supposed to type things (text fields) when using the program, and no keyboard automatically pops up on my screen like it normally does in other programs. It only works if I connect an external USB keyboard to my tablet.

    Is there a help forum link or anything, or is it a bug ?

    Looks like a great program and it does quite a few things including logging and nice options for uploading logs to LoTW.

    The installation was easy and pretty straight forward. The user interface is great. Very clean and not excessively busy like other programs I used in the past. Everything is well laid out in a very logical and easy to understand format.

    I am going to use it for outdoor qrp stuff and that's why I would like to use it with a small, lightweight Windows 10 tablet instead of a laptop. I have a Bluetooth cat interface on my ft-817 too for frequency control and PTT, but i'm still using a wired sound card interface at least for now. Would be nice to see more wireless Bluetooth support in the future too.

    In any event, good job on this great program.

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  4. N7ZDR

    N7ZDR Ham Member QRZ Page

    KC8VWM likes this.
  5. W4HM

    W4HM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    KE8EC likes this.
  6. KG2C

    KG2C XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    So is the next net tonight? 0200Z on Friday (the time and date listed with BIG letters on the image above) is 9PM EST on Thursday here in the US.
  7. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info gents used it a few times nice rag chew digital mode.
  8. N7ZDR

    N7ZDR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here in the USA, the net will start tomorrow evening (Friday the 5th) at 0200 Zulu.
  9. SM0XHJ

    SM0XHJ Ham Member QRZ Page

  10. N7ZDR

    N7ZDR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ya is a bit confusing for sure----- I think I will bag the time zone thing (zulu,utc, military)
    Will just call it Friday the 5th at 7: pm mst.
    Probably the easiest way.

    KE8EC likes this.

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