FT8 operators: Check your audio stream!

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by WG7X, Jan 14, 2022 at 7:42 PM.

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  1. WG7X

    WG7X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've been sitting here in the shack monitoring 17 meter FT8 for quite a while here and I am hearing all sorts of Windows audio being mixed into the FT8 audio stream.

    DX announcements, windows events, open microphones, you name it; everything that goes with using a windows PC and having the sound card passing audio directly to the radio.

    This is not just on 17, I've heard it on every band and sometimes it is scarce and sometimes not. So, just a quick request: hook up a speaker or a headset from time to time and monitor your sent signals to ensure that no garbage is sent along with the data. Your fellow operators will thank you!

    WA1GXC, N3RYB, NY4Q and 3 others like this.
  2. WR3V

    WR3V Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thats what happens when you automate automation. Your computer trying to out do my computer.
    WQ4G and WG7X like this.
  3. W9YW

    W9YW Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    The problem is that in their WSJT-X or JTDX, they haven't selected the audio in/out sources. Windows randomly changes ports-- for fun, of course-- meaning mixed audio sources blabbing into the output.

    Problem is, no one checks themselves. This is a BAD OPERATOR problem. You can see the culprits on the waterfall, if you want to out them by frequency within the bandspread.

    Or, spin the dial.

    73 Tom W9YW
    W7UUU and WG7X like this.
  4. NG1H

    NG1H XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    From what I've seen the problem is often from using a Signalink type device into the data port and not configuring their radio correctly. Many radios have a "hot mic" even when using the data port input. So they are transmitting not only the sounds out of the computer speakers but also other room noises and conversations. That is the one advantage Rigblaster can claim. The models that have a microphone connection disables the mic when sending from the computer.
    N3RYB, KY4GD, WQ4G and 1 other person like this.
  5. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If they are transmitting that means that they aren't receiving. That should be a big clue stick if they are paying any attention at all.

    Red transmit light and bouncing wattmeter should be helpful even for low lifeforms.
    N3RYB, WQ4G, W7UUU and 1 other person like this.
  6. WG7X

    WG7X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes to all of the respondents. I know that a lot of the FT8 operators never even listen to the band before, after or during a session. If they did, they would hear the stuff that I was hearing today. One operator in particular, who I think is a local, really stood out with all the announcements coming from his WSJT-x program. DX and WAS announcements for the most part.
    N3RYB and WQ4G like this.
  7. NG1H

    NG1H XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Most modern transceivers have the ability to monitor the audio input through the radio's speakers. You would think that would be SOP as it is a quick way to tell when something is going wrong/right.
    WQ4G likes this.
  8. G0OIL

    G0OIL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oh, there are lots of ways that bad stuff finds its way into the audio stream. I found one particular "gotcha" which made me splatter the entire band and that was RF feedback. It seems that a design flaw on the Flex 6600 is that RX antennas remain internally connected and active during TX. Due to the size of my typically small UK garden my 160m RX antenna is pretty close to my Inverted L for TX. No matter what I did to disconnect the RX antenna with coaxial relays and powering off the preamp at the loop, RF found its way back in and made my audio tone wide and ugly with a host of side tones and splatter. The ONLY way to stop this was to deactivate the RX antenna in the radio and use an external switching TX/RX relay via the main antenna port. Getting bad audio is easily done.

    What I hear most of all are grossly overmodulated signals and signals with a 50Hz / 100Hz hum from bad power supplies or ground loops mixed into the FSK which produces all sorts of side tones even way outside the FT8 band. We're pretty much used to that here in Europe with the Never-mind-the-quality-feel-the-width Russians and the Italians who have always turned the mic gain and speech processor up to 11 so that you can hear Mama and the bambinos screaming at each other in the background. It seems that some have taken those traditions into digimodes :)
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022 at 7:36 AM
    N3RYB and WQ4G like this.
  9. WQ4G

    WQ4G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Uh, in Ham Radio lingo.... A LID.
  10. KC3RN

    KC3RN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually the problem isn't there. It's usually with JTAlert. People forget to re-direct the alert function of JTAlert away from port audio and back to the Windows sound card/computer speakers..
    WG7X likes this.

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