UPDATE – Image (above) of antennas at VK9XG, courtesy Nigel G3TXF. The 160m vertical has also been added since this picture was taken.
SEPTEMBER 24 – The VK9XG team plan to use FT8 as the primary data mode. While demand is high we will use FT8’s DXpedition mode, operating as the ‘Fox’ on the frequencies listed below. You must be using WSJT-X V1.9.1 in ‘Hound’ mode’ to achieve a QSO. An excellent guide to operating FT8 DXpedition mode can be downloaded from https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/FT8_DXpedition_Mode.pdf
If you hear us on the normal FT8 frequencies we will not be using DXpedition mode and only working one station at a time. If the number of callers is high we will announce a QSY to our DXpedition frequencies.
- 160m 1844 kHz plus 1908 kHz for JA
- 80m 3590 kHz
- 40m 7060 kHz
- 30m 10140 kHz
- 20m 14086 kHz
- 17m 18104 kHz
- 15m 21095 kHz
- 12m 24918 kHz
- 10m 28095 kHz
These frequencies have been selected to avoid mutual interference with the VP6D DXpedition which is scheduled to be active at the same time.
- Below are the steps to work VK9XG on FT8:
- First install version V1.9.1 of the WSJT-X software which can be found at:
- Use only the latest general release version of WSJT-X software when trying to work VK9XG. You will not work us with previous versions of WSJT-X.
- Your computer clock needs to be accurate. Do not assume that it is! An accurate time synch is mandatory for proper decoding. There is some tolerance to PC clock error but do not run the risk of missing a QSO. Find the right tool to keep your PC’s clock within 1 second of GPS time.
- Read the FT8 help files. There are differences in the DXpedition submode that you need to understand. However, radio control and all other program settings are the same as the basic FT8 mode.
- Select the Hound role: Under File>Settings>Advanced check the ‘Hound’ box. Do not operate in the Fox role.
- Look for VK9XG on our FT8 operating frequencies. We will not be using the normal FT8 band segments. If you want to add the VK9XG FT8 frequencies to the working frequency list in WSJT-X, go to File>Settings>Frequencies and right-click in the frequency table. Add the VK9XG frequencies for FT8 operation to this table so that you can easily navigate to a band where there might be propagation to your location.
- Set your TX frequency somewhere above 1000 Hz on the frequency of your choice. If you select a TX frequency less than 1000 Hz, the software will randomly place you on a frequency above 1000 Hz before your station starts transmitting. The frequencies below 1000 Hz are reserved. You can monitor the ‘Hound’ frequency range (1000 to 2500 Hz) for a few sequences to get a sense of where there might be a clear spot but remember that you may not always see the band like we will out on the island.
- Call VK9XG only after you decode one of our CQ messages. Simply double-click on our callsign in the Band Activity window and the software will create the correct message with which to call us and start transmitting. You will need to periodically press ‘Enable TX’ from time to time to keep transmitting in the pileup.
- The DXpedition station will send a CQ message from time to time so that you should not have to wait long to select the callsign.
- Call as long as you need to work VK9XG. We will be operating often with ‘multiple streams’, a new DXpedition submode capability, and we may be conducting QSOs with as many as 4 stations simultaneously. While we are completing QSOs with stations, we are also selecting new stations to work from those who have been calling. For your call to be selected, you need to call whenever you are able to decode us.
- Once you decode the message ‘<Your Call> VK9XG RR73’ (also called the TX4 message) from us, you should log the QSO. Keep calling until you complete this step. Duplicate QSOs on a band are not recommended. If your callsign does not appear in the log updates to ClubLog, feel free to repeat a QSO.
- The following are some general practices that the VK9XG team will follow.
We will use directional CQs. Please follow our instructions. We have tools to filter calls and we will use the filtering tool needed to find and work only those we are looking for.
- We will emphasise our operating procedure to work stations with challenging propagation paths. We may reduce the value of NStream (number of simultaneous QSO streams) to 2 or even 1 when working distant stations. We acknowledge that it will be necessary for us to use NStream values of 2 or less for us to be copied on challenging paths.
- If demand for FT8 QSOs is low or band conditions are poor, we will operate in normal FT8 mode on the standard FT8 frequencies.