JS8Call for Emergency Communications

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KM4ACK, Sep 27, 2019.

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  1. W7ASA

    W7ASA Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you do NOT have communication capability, you are unable to coordinate with friends and family.

    Before selecting which tools to use, it's essential to define the tasks these communication tools will be used for. I no longer am part of any county communication support, so my desire is a rather basic ability to send a few small messages, where speed and high data throughput is not an issue. If I can communicate a little personal chatter between myself and a few friends and fellow hams, and perhaps a basic, 20 word H&W message accurately in a few of minutes, that is sufficient. If I had a small group of friends and family to coordinate with who were outside of line-of-sight, I'd prefer scheduled Morse contacts, because of its' low cost, high robustness and not requiring a computer. However, not all of the hams I know have learned Morse, so for me a second choice might be JS8call, because of the weak signal and non-real-time capabilities. I despise sitting in front of a screen for more than a few minutes at a time, so being able to communicate when it's convenient for all stations involved and have it waiting on the laptop - priceless.

    Once you HAVE a basic communications link (even a slow one) you can always ask the other station(s) to change mode to suit your needs, for example if you wanted to send maps, diagrams or lists, then robust or full ACK modes within FLdigi would be good or P2P ARDOP or even use WINLINK network as an HF drop-box. The tools should fit the tasks.

    73 de Ray ..._ ._

    K0AN and KX4O like this.
  2. G1ZRN

    G1ZRN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have to agree, I walk away from anyone who rants and shouts when trying to get their point of view across.

    Making a point in a calm and pleasant manor will encourage someone to listen and make note. It just seems to be the way of the world these days which is very sad.

    Mike G1ZRN.
  3. KE5ES

    KE5ES Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    OR, the main man "leading" the Amateur Radio contingency spends five hours trying to remember how to set the CTSS code for the used repeater on his radio as he forgot to bring his radio manual (paper) or have it downloaded onto his cellphone. Meanwhile, others had set up got HF NVIS and Repeater functions done while giving a demonstration to the local police who were called as "There is a strange person with antennas and radios set up out by the fair grounds!!". The local police were VERY impressed and called their supervisor and buddies to "You guys gotta see this!!!"
  4. KC9YGN

    KC9YGN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    JS8 has never been used in a genuine emergency to the best of my knowledge. Remember it's only up to version 1.1 and wasn't even released for general usage until early this year. Before that it was in beta testing. While the software and mode of communication works, and seems to work reasonably well, it is not what I would call "mature" and from what I hear it is still very much under development and there will almost certainly be significant changes made to the software in the near future.

    As for using it for emergency communications, that's still very much up in the air. I haven't been doing any formal testing but I and a few others have been trying to see how useful it might be, and the answer is a definite "maybe". It seems pretty robust, seems to work surprisingly well under adverse propagation conditions, and some of us think it has a lot of potential.

    It also has problems. The software needs some tweaking. Some of the features are iffy at the moment. I personally think the user interface needs to be improved. I believe that like FT8 it still requires the sender and receiver to have their clocks synchronized fairly closely which could be a significant problem in an emergency situations. It's relatively slow, with the average rate being between 10 - 15 WPM. If used for EmComm there are features I'd like to see added, like the ability to store incoming messages directly to a text file, and improvements to the messaging and relay system.

    Basically it needs a bit of tweaking, and the author knows that and is working on it. Remember this is early days, it's only been out for general release for less than a year. It has a lot of potential, but at this point I wouldn't consider it useful for anything except casual usage and certainly not for emergency communications unless there was no other way to do it.
  5. W0FW

    W0FW Ham Member QRZ Page

    KC9YGN likes this.
  6. KC9YGN

    KC9YGN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    W0FW: Thanks. Sigh - I should know enough to read the documentation more thoroughly at my age, and to explore all of the menu options. I didn't see the time drift controls. Thanks for pointing that out. I completely missed that. That will make it a lot easier to work with out in the field.

    I am curious about JS8's use in an emergency. When was it done, how was it used and who did it? This is more than idle curiosity. I used to be in ARES and my wife still is, so we're always interested in how other agencies, groups and individuals are using new technology in emergencies.
    K0AN likes this.
  7. KC1BUF

    KC1BUF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    @KM4ACK let the haters complain! JS8CALL is great and so are your videos... Keep doing what you do US like minded really appreciate them.
  8. KA1BSZ

    KA1BSZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    This guy is a wacko..He promised to send me a flash drive for my mac book, help me with the program and charge me $10.00 for the flash drive and never got anything. He kept luring me into thinking the next edition of the program would be better, the next and the next and never got anything. He claims he sent everything including my $10.00 check and never got anything to date. I wouldn't trust this guy. Go with HRD or the other programs. HRD is the best in my book.
  9. KA1BSZ

    KA1BSZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    do not trust the guy author of j8scall! he scammed me big time!
  10. W0FW

    W0FW Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are confused.

    Firstly, JS8Call is nothing remotely close to HRD. Ham Radio Deluxe is an amateur radio software suite that includes five ham radio apps. JS8Call is the software package to operate in JS8 mode only.

    Secondly, the author would never charge for anything nor would he ever send you a flash drive as the software has always been free to download. You can download it from the JS8Call website now that is has reached "general release" status. Prior to that it was available from the JS8Call groups.io page when it was still in the developmental stage.
    KA2FIR and KC9YGN like this.

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