The second public test of FT8 DXpedition Mode will take place on April 7, and all radio amateurs are invited to participate. WSJT-X Developer Joe Taylor, K1JT, advises anyone planning to take part to download the latest “release candidate” (beta) version of WSJT-X — now called version 1.9.0-rc3 — and to read the latest revision of the FT8 DXpedition Mode User Guide, dated March 28, which includes changes and updates from previous User Guide editions.

Taylor specifically would like users to pay attention to the section on page 1 which reads:

“Please note: DXpedition Mode is not yet ready for ‘production’ use. Until WSJT-X version 1.9.0 is fully released, [FT8 DXpedition Mode] should be used only in controlled test situations. Please remember to send us your test results.”

Taylor said the WSJT-X development team is suggesting these temporary frequencies for testing DXpedition Mode: 3.567, 7.066, 10.1405, 14.105, 18.095, 21.067, 24.911, and 28.067 MHz.

Taylor said he stressed that FT8 DXpedition Mode is not ready for routine use:

“because several operators or groups have been trying, against our advice, to use the not-yet-complete DXpedition Mode in real pileup situations. This misuse of a WSJT-X beta release — or of code taken from the WSJT-X development branch — has been counterproductive.” Recently, one short DXpedition did deploy FT8 DXpedition Mode, but users in the pileup were not necessarily fully on board with how to use the new mode, or were using versions of FT8 that were incompatible with the DXpedition Mode iteration.

Taylor said that posting FT8 DXpedition Mode operating frequencies for each HF band was done in the hope that it might minimize interference with other digital modes.

“We will welcome thoughtful suggestions that might improve this list of suggested frequencies,” Taylor added. “We hope to see you in the pileups calling W1/KH7Z and W7/KH7Z on 14.105 MHz, 1400 – 1600 UTC on April 7!”

The User Guide stresses that FT8 DXpedition Mode should only be used by DXpedition stations and those trying to work them; in its beta form, the FT8 development team prefers to work in cooperation with a DXpedition that wants to use the new mode. The User Guide explains that in FT8 DXpedition Mode, the transmit frequencies of Fox (the DXpedition) and Hounds (the pileup) “are sometimes controlled by the program rather than by the operator, and this is undesirable for general use.” Stations other than legitimate DXpeditions should not “hog the spectrum” by generating multiple simultaneous signals. The User Guide also makes it clear that FT8 DXpedition Mode should not be used for Field Day, QSO parties, and other operating events. The version of WSJT-X that contains FT8 DXpedition Mode also includes the mode for general use in FT8 and for operation in all the other modes supported by the current version of WSJT-X.

“We hope to have a full ‘green light’ on usage in the fairly near future,” Taylor told ARRL.

7 COMMENTS

  1. The Pros and the Cons. The bad side: selecting test frequencies that clash with long ago announced DXpedition frequencies does not curry favour with people. An example is 1826.5 which 3B7A will be using on 7 April. Then there is the total lack of understanding of the mode, as evidenced during the 7Q7 operation. The user guide needs urgently translating into many different languages. There were stations who thought they should be Foxes instead of Dogs, who thought they could use any version of WSJTx or use JTDX, had no idea that to call below 1000Hz up often prevented the R+dB report from being received from stations being worked, who thought they could send the dB report first and so on. Then there the software glitches at the Fox side such as the immediate QSY down 1.5khz after calling stations who were above 3000Hz up, the too frequent CQs that replaced repeat reports to stations being worked. Finally, advising the so-called development team of these failures resulting in “it shouldn’t used by DXpeditions” instead of “thanks, we’ll look into it”.

    Which actually leads to the good side: where 7Q7 was concerned, they should be applauded for using it. Only through FT8 were they workable on 160m, such was their local noise level. And, I would have thought, more can be learned from real world usage than any test.

  2. It would really be great to see a video done of the test on the 7th. Must view for all would be so helpful.
    The mode is great, upping QSO rate is the reason for the new version. Will be hard to get full compliance but over test and over communicate.
    73, K5OA

  3. Nodir is right, 1826.5 is popular freq for dxpeditions on CW. Please select one in different segment.
    K1JT say its a mistake! contact him !!!
    Please change that ASAP , while once FT8 follower move in, will be very hard to move them out!!!
    dado E74AW

  4. A word from Joe regarding 1826.5 usage:

    “The ARRL used a draft copy of our instructions for FT8 DXpedition Mode. It had been posted on our web site for an hour or so, before the correction was made.”

    DX-World also used this draft copy and is now happy to correct. There will be no testing on 1826.5.

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