New FT8 Mode, WSJT-X Interface & Solar Eclipse QSO Party Information

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Hi All,

I hope that everyone enjoyed Field Day and is having a great summer!

The excitement surrounding the announcement regarding the new FT8 mode and the Solar Eclipse QSO Party graphic on the cover of QST this week have created quite an e-mail buzz at N3FJP Headquarters! In hopes of quelling the avalanche of e-mail, here are the answers to what everyone has been asking:


Do I have to wait for the next version of Amateur Contact Log to start logging my FT8 contacts? Am I limited to entering the modes listed in the AC Log mode drop down list?

No, you can enter FT8, or any mode you like in AC Log's mode field right now! The mode drop down list isn't user customizable, but you can type any mode you want in AC Log's mode field. In addition, AC Log will default to the mode value you entered in subsequent QSOs (with rig interface mode return disabled).

AC Log will pass any mode you enter to ARRL's TQSL software for signing and upload, but keep in mind that as new modes come to life, it sometimes takes a while before TQSL / LoTW will accept them. If you receive a mode error when you attempt to upload to LoTW, that error is being returned by the TQSL software, not AC Log. The LoTW folks will have to add the new mode on their end before TQSL will accept it.

As an aside, I never use the drop down list myself. In most cases, it is much quicker to simply type in the mode than have to do a mouse grab, scroll down and select.


I want to use the WSJT-X software so that I can operate FT8. Will your software interface with WSJT-X?

My software will interface with WSJT-X via JTAlert. You'll need to connect WSJT-X to JTAlert and then connect JTAlert to my software. You'll find more details on connecting a number of digital programs with my software here.

By the way, if you would like to encourage the WSJT-X folks to interface directly with my software, please send them the information detailed here.


Are you going to write a program for the Solar Eclipse QSO Party?

I would love to support the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, but unfortunately creating contest specific applications requires considerable time in development and testing, this is a one time event, the rules don't fit well into an existing template, I'm already supporting more than 120 logging programs and with all the other projects on my plate, I'm pretty well maxed out on the contests that I am able to support.

However, after reviewing the solar eclipse QSO party rules, I see that they will accept the ARRL VHF contest exchange format. My VHF software doesn't display the 160 - 10 meter bands in the menu options by default, but I have updated VHF Log 5.5 to display the additional band menu items by pressing Ctrl + Shift + B.

You'll find my VHF Const Log 5.5 here.

A few other things to keep in mind:

- For the Solar Eclipse party, you can work the same station again after 10 minutes, so you will definitely want to click Settings > Allow Duplicates, so that it is checked. The program is not set up to time for 10 minutes, so you will receive a duplicate warning based on the criteria of the VHF contest regardless of elapsed time (and mode change), but you will still be able to log the contact.

- RST is part of the exchange, so you will want to click Settings > RST Settings > Record RST so that it is checked.

- Choose the ARRL-222 contest on the set up form, as that is designed for a 6 digit exchange.

- None of the scoring and grid displays will be accurate. Grids that change color will not return when you leave a HF band and then come back.

- Select the HF band from the menu options or use rig interface. If the HF bands are not appearing in the menu, press Ctrl + Shift + B.

In short, my VHF contest software isn't designed to support the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, but with the modifications I've added, you should be able to record the exchange and submit a Cabrillo file of your results.

Enjoy the event!


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And in response to the questions we always receive when we neglect to include the following in our e-mail announcements...


Package Upgrade Information...

If you have registered one or more individual programs and would like to upgrade to N3FJP's Software Package or N3FJP's Software Package and CD for full use of all our Amateur Radio software, we would be glad to apply the amount that you have registered so far as a credit towards that purchase. Please send us an e-mail directly and we'll let you know your balance.

N3FJP's Software Package includes more than one hundred programs for contesting, net management, general logging and other Amateur Radio related applications. In addition to full use of all these programs, registered package customers are also entitled to receive free passwords for any new software that is added to the package and free upgrades to existing programs. You'll find all the details on the Register Now page at www.n3fjp.com.


Donations are Gratefully Accepted!

And in response to the often asked question for which Kimberly and I are very grateful...

"I know your upgrades are free, but I also realize how much time and effort coding these enhancements and new programs take and that your pricing policy doesn't fully reflect that. Can I send you something to show my appreciation for your continued efforts?"

Yes, thanks so much, your continued support in any amount is very welcome and deeply appreciated! You can use this page:

http://www.n3fjp.com/donations.html

or send your contribution by mail, payable to Affirmatech Inc., to:

G. Scott Davis
118 Glenwood Road
Bel Air, MD 21014-5533

Thank you so much for your continued support!


Thanks!

As always, thanks for your kind words, support, linking to our web site and spreading the word about our software. Kimberly and I really appreciate it!

73, Scott
N3FJP
http://www.n3fjp.com

Serving the Amateur Radio community with contesting and general logging software since 1997.

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