Something new(?) for emergencies …

From:    " [hfpack]" 
Date:    August 1, 2018 at 5:30:38 PM EDT
To:      < >
Subject: [HFpack] HF Interoperability Exercise 
         12-22 Oct 2018 Ham Radio HFIE

WHAT? the Ham Radio "HF Interoperability Exercise" (HFIE) 

WHEN? 12-22 October 2018 
      (0001UTC 12 October to 2359UTC 22 October) 

WHO? All ham radio operators are invited to 
participate in 10 days of free and informal 
ALE and SELCALL operation on all amateur radio 

WHERE? This is a free open international 
       worldwide event on amateur radio, 
       for all countries, continents, oceans, 
       air, and space. 

WEB? The HFLINK.NET website provides a 
     connectivity map and real time chat room 
     for coordination of HFIE operating activity. 
     Freely discuss, learn, share experiences, 
     and find solutions.

WHY? Operators get real-world experience and 
become proficient in HF interoperability 
communications and SELCALL selective calling. 
SELCALL and ALE can ring up a specific HF station 
or group of stations. Operators initiate and 
respond to ALE calls and soundings, link up 
with fellow operators for text or SSB voice QSOs 
on HF, and share helpful information about 
setting up ALE and SELCALL stations. 

The experience gained by operator participation 
in this readiness exercise is also useful for 
HF Emergency/Disaster Relief Communications.

HOW? Operators can use a software ALE or SELCALL 
controller with their HF amateur transceiver, 
or else use an HF radio with built-in ALE or 
SELCALL. Operation is primarily on the HFLINK 
channel frequencies (HFL-HFN-HFS).

Ham operators use the same standards as 
non-governmental and government organizations 
worldwide for interoperable HF communications. 

This readiness exercise covers standard ALE 
(Automatic Link Establishment) and SELCALL 
(HF Selective Calling). 

Join the growing thousands of amateur radio 
operators worldwide with ALE-capable and 
SELCALL-capable stations. 

ALE Channel Frequencies (HFL-HFN)

SELCALL Channel Frequencies (HFS)



-Bonnie Crystal KQ6XA
HFLINK Founder / HFpack Founder

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It is OFFICIAL!!!! –



Posted in Events - club, FLARC Presentation Series, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

More Information On Coming Changes To FT8

Plans for WSJT-X Version 2.0

This white paper describes a number of important enhancements planned
for WSJT-X Version 2.0.  Most of them involve the FT8 and MSK144
protocols, which will be upgraded to use use 77-bit information
payloads rather than the present 72 or 75 bits.  This modest increase
in information content will make possible new message types that
support the following special types of QSOs and exchanged information:

1. NA VHF Contest operation with full and transparent support of grid
   locators and "/R" (Rover) callsigns
2. EU VHF Contest operation with the exchange of 6-digit locators, QSO
   serial numbers, and "/P" (portable) callsigns

3. ARRL Field Day operation with standard Field Day exchanges
4. ARRL RTTY Roundup operation with standard contest exchanges

5. Better and more user-friendly support for compound and nonstandard

6. A special "telemetry" message format for exchange of arbitrary
   information (up to 71 bits)

Decoding sensitivity for the new messages will be essentially the same
as for the FT8 and MSK144 modes presently in WSJT-X v1.9.1.  The
existing FT8 DXpedition mode will still be supported, and a more
powerful DXpedition mode may be offered as well.

In this document we'll call the new FT8 protocol "FT8+".  It will be a
superset of the FT8 implemented in v1.9.1, providing at least
temporary compatibility and inter-operability with older program
versions.  We may decide to remove support for old-style 72- and
75-bit messages after a specified switchover interval.

In contrast, the new MSK144 protocol will replace the old one without
backward compatibility.  We believe the smaller and more specialized
group of MSK144 users will upgrade quickly and not find this
restriction to be a problem.

Here are some examples of message formats that will be supported by
FT8+ and MSK144 in WSJT-X v2.0.  The list is not exhaustive.
Parameters i3 and n3 (shown in column 1) are used in the software to
define major and minor 77-bit message types.

i3.n3     Example Messages                    Comments
 0.0      TNX BOB 73 GL                       Free text
 0.1      K1ABC RR73; W9XYZ <KH1/KH7Z> -08    DXpedition Mode (sent only by Fox)
 0.2      G4ABC/P R 570007 JO22DB             EU VHF Contest
 0.2      PA9XYZ 590003 IO91NP                EU VHF Contest
 0.3      K1ABC W9XYZ 6A WI                   ARRL Field Day
 0.3      W9XYZ K1ABC R 2B EMA                ARRL Field Day
 0.5      123456789ABCD                       Telemetry (18 hex digits)
 1.       <PJ4/K1ABC> W9XYZ                   Compound call
 1.       W9XYZ <PJ4/K1ABC> 73             
 1.       CQ FD K1ABC FN42                 
 1.       CQ K1ABC FN42                    
 1.       CQ TEST K1ABC FN42                  NA VHF Contest ("TEST" is optional)
 1.       CQ TEST K1ABC/R FN42             
 1.       K1ABC W9XYZ EN37                 
 1.       K1ABC W9XYZ -09                  
 1.       K1ABC W9XYZ R-17                  
 1.       K1ABC W9XYZ RRR
 1.       K1ABC W9XYZ 73                   
 1.       K1ABC W9XYZ RR73                 
 1.       K1ABC/R W9XYZ EN37               
 1.       K1ABC W9XYZ/R RR73
 1.       W9XYZ <YW18FIFA> -13                Nonstandard call
 1.       <YW18FIFA> W9XYZ R+02
 1.       W9XYZ <YW18FIFA> RRR
 1.       <YW18FIFA> W9XYZ RR73
 2.       CQ G4ABC/P IO91                  
 2.       G4ABC/P PA9XYZ JO22              
 2.       PA9XYZ G4ABC/P RR73              
 3.       K1ABC KA0DEF 559 MO                 ARRL RTTY Roundup
 3.       K1ABC W9XYZ 579 WI                  ARRL RTTY Roundup
 3.       KA1ABC G3AAA 529 0013               ARRL RTTY Roundup
 3.       TU; G3AAA K1ABC R 559 MA            ARRL RTTY Roundup
 3.       TU; KA0DEF K1ABC R 569 MA           ARRL RTTY Roundup
 3.       W9XYZ K1ABC R 589 MA                ARRL RTTY Roundup
 4.       CQ KH1/KH7Z                         Compound call
 4.       CQ YW18FIFA                         Nonstandard call

Here are some examples of minimal QSO sequences that take advantage
(where necessary) of the new protocol capabilities.  Model QSOs number
1 and 2 are supported already, with the present FT8 and MSK144
protocols, and number 3 with the existing FT8 DXpedition Mode.  Model
QSOs 4-8 (and others not illustrated here) require the new protocols
with 77-bit messages.

1. Standard QSO
                                   K1ABC W9XYZ EN37
                                   K1ABC W9XYZ R-09
                                   K1ABC W9XYZ 73

2. Short-cycle QSO
                                   K1ABC W9XYZ -09
                                   K1ABC W9XYZ RR73

3. FT8 DXpedition Mode
                                   KH7Z K1ABC FN42
K1ABC KH7Z -12
                                   KH7Z K1ABC R-14
				   KH7Z W9XYZ EN37
				   ... possibly other callers ...
K1ABC RR73; W9XYZ <KH1/KH7Z> -08

4. ARRL Field Day
                                   K1ABC W9XYZ 6A WI
                                   K1ABC W9XYZ RR73

5. ARRL VHF Contests
                                   K1ABC/R W9XYZ EN37
                                   K1ABC/R W9XYZ RR73

6. ARRL RTTY Contest
                                   K1ABC W9XYZ 579 WI
                                   K1ABC W9XYZ RR73

7. EU VHF Contest
                                   G4ABC/P PA9XYZ JO22
PA9XYZ 590003 IO91NP
                                   G4ABC/P R 570007 JO22DB

8. Compound call
                                   <PJ4/K1ABC> W9XYZ
                                   K1ABC W9XYZ R-09
                                   <PJ4/K1ABC> W9XYZ 73

To minimize confusion that's likely to arise during a switchover from
v1.9.1 to v2.0, we propose to follow a well advertised schedule:

"RC1 Date"  --  perhaps as early as September 15, 2018?

This will be the first chance for beta testers to try WSJT-X using the
77-bit messages.  We may restrict this opportunity to specific
volunteer testers, and we'll probably include an "upgrade by
xxxx_date" message to remind people that they are using a release
intended only for testing.

FT8+ will support the old (v1.9.1) protocol as well as the new message
types outlined above.  To avoid QRMing legacy FT8 users with messages
they can't decode, we'll recommend testing FT8+ on frequencies
formerly used for JT9.

MSK144 will be fully functional between any two stations using the RC1
software, but it will not be backward compatible with earlier program

"RC2, RC3,... Date"  --  perhaps in October?

As needed, depending on results of testing.

GA Release Date      --  perhaps in November?

Official General Availability release of WSJT-X v2.0.0.  The original
MSK144 protocol will be declared obsolete.

For reference: Dates of relevant upcoming ARRL contests
VHF QSO Party:   September 8-10, 2018
RTTY Roundup:    January 5-6, 2019
VHF SS:          January 19-21, 2019

Our proposed schedule should make WSJT-X Version 2.0 usable for
relevant ARRL operating events in 2019.
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Ham Radio’s Technical Culture

Ham Radios Technical Culture

An interesting read from a 2007 perspective.


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Upcoming Changes To FT8 From Joe Taylor K1JT

Courtesy of the Facebook FT8 group, here is a sneak preview courtesy of Joe Taylor, K1JT. Before reading, those who steadfastly refuse to update your software because of some silly clinging to one feature or another need to take note of the second to last block of text in Joe’s note... now without further ado, here’s the note from Joe:

“Hi to all,

Of course we are well aware of the issues many have experienced when using WSJT modes in North American VHF contests. To summarize, there are two main problem areas:

– Decoding of messages with two callsigns followed by “R ” and a 4-character grid, and the related auto-sequencing, depend of proper and coordinated setting of a checkbox at both stations.

– There is a crying need for transparent support of “/R” (Rover)
callsigns in all standard messages, during contests.

Here’s some background information aimed at relative newcomers and casual users of WSJT, followed by a brief preview of program features we plan to make available in Version 2.0 of WSJT-X.

Contest Mode

Standard JT-style messages (those used in all of the structured WSJT modes) have 71 information bits: two 28-bit callsigns and a 15-bit grid locator. The 15-bit field can alternatively convey a signal report (with optional “R”), or “RRR”, “RR73”, or “73”. One additional bit re-purposes the 71 bits to carry a 13-character free test message. In a 72-bit packet there are NO free bits available to insert “R ” before a
grid locator, or “/R” after a callsign.

The “NA VHF Contest” checkbox presently in WSJT-X is a stop-gap feature added in 2016 to the MSK144 mode, and later to FT8. These modes conventionally use 15-second T/R intervals and offer semi-automated message sequencing. NA VHF contests require the exchange of 4-character
grid locators. Signal reports are OK, but not required. Contesters wanted a way to send messages like “K1ABC W9XYZ R EN37”, thereby increasing their QSO rates by eliminating some transmissions from the standard minimal-QSO sequence.

Rovers move from grid to grid and must append “/R” to their callsign during the contest. These hardworking folks definitely need some help if they are to use WSJT modes effectively.

All structured modes currently supported in WSJT-X permit messages like these:


…. but you can’t use a second callsign in place of the “CQ” or “DE”. Once again, there is no room for such information in a 72-bit packet.

Some time ago we created workarounds that enable QSOs using a “/R” callsign or an “R+grid” message fragment. But these capabilities are limited and necessarily somewhat clumsy. Users must understand what’s possible and what’s not, and they must be careful about some necessary
program settings. Decoding “R+grid” messages requires ticking a checkbox, and if someone else sends you standard signal reports you need to uncheck the box or manually edit your messages. Also, for reasons explained in the WSJT-X User Guide, this feature cannot work well when world-wide propagation is possible — as it has been recently on 6 meters.

All in all, it’s not a happy situation — especially when considering the typical presence of many casual operators who happen upon a contest and just want to make a few QSOs.

Recently K9AN, G4WJS, and I have been developing enhanced versions of the MSK144 and FT8 protocols that extend the message payload to 77 bits. For a taste of what’s to come, here’s a brief list of things made possible by the extra bits:

1. NA VHF Contest operation with full support of grid exchanges and “/R” (Rover) callsigns

2. EU VHF Contest operation with the exchange of 6-digit grids, QSO serial numbers, and “/P” (portable) callsigns

3. ARRL Field Day operation with standard Field Day exchanges

4. ARRL RTTY Roundup operation with standard contest exchanges

5. Better and more user-friendly support for compound and nonstandard callsigns

6. A special “telemetry” message format for exchange of arbitrary information up to 71 bits

7. The existing FT8 DXpedition mode will be supported, and a more powerful DXpedition mode may be offered as well.

All of these features work seamlessly and automatically. No “contest mode” checkboxes are needed. In most situations decoding sensitivity will be slightly better than at present for FT8; for MSK144 it will sometimes be about 0.5 dB worse. Occupied bandwidths will be the same as they are now, and false-decode rates will be significantly lower.

Much of the necessary programming is finished. Many of the new features have been tested on the air, and we find them to work well.

Don’t rush to download something — these capabilities are not yet publicly available. There is more testing and code optimization to do.

With summer vacation plans, etc., our current plans call for a
beta-testing period probably starting in mid to late September. A full release should then be possible a couple of months later.

In particular: we are planning to make WSJT-X Version 2.0 available in time for you to read its new documentation and practice using it before (for example) the ARRL RTTY Roundup, January 5-6, 2019, and the ARRL VHF
Sweepstakes, January 19-21, 2019.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: The new protocols cannot be backward compatible with the existing ones. We will probably provide some temporary “bi-lingual” capability for FT8, but not for MSK144. It will be essential for users to upgrade to Version 2.0 in order to use the new features and communicate with others who have made the upgrade.

We will provide plenty of advance notice about a transition interval and an essential “must upgrade by” date.

— 73, Joe, K1JT

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Dxers Unlimited – Tuesday  July 24 2018

Dxers Unlimited’s mid week edition Tuesday  July 24 2018

By Arnie Coro
radio amateur CO2KK

Hola amigos radioaficionados all around  the world that are now watching a very long period of very low solar activity that according to the opinion of several experts is probably signalling the end of solar cycle 24…. one of the weakest solar cycles ever seen since the days when mankind started to use radio signals to communicate and broadcast.  By the way scientists are now pretty sure that sunspots that belong to the upcoming solar cycle 25 have already been seen at locations and with magnetic polarity that gives no doubt to them belonging to solar cycle 25…

I am Arnie Coro, radio amateur CO2KK your host here at the middle of  the week edition of Dxers Unlimited coming to you from Havana with great love for our hobby, yours and mine… RADIO

Si amigos, long time listeners of Dxers Unlimited keep me up to date about many interesting radio hobby related events, and they also send opinions about our programs that help us to improve them… I am now going to read a recently received e’mail that came from Fort Pierce , Florida USA.

Hola Amigo Arnie,

De nada, 5040 works great here! That sounds great that you may add another 60 or even the 90 meter band broadcast. 6000 has been great here, too during the summer.

Then comes a comment about our science show, Breakthrough, that featured the installation in Cuba of solar powered deep wells pumps… Amigo Richard, the author of the message adds:

It’s amazing that the submersible pumps do not use batteries! Wow! Interesting to hear these are used to provide water for cattle farms. I wish we had submersible pumps in my neighborhood. I came home late one night from a work trip and the house had no running water. Not a drop. The houses in the neighborhood have wells and use electronic pumps to extract the water. I went into the garage and felt the pump and it felt hot. Turns out it was a capacitor in the pump and the next day the 15 year old pump was back in action.

The friendly exchange then moves to amateur radio, a hobby that amigo Richard is enjoying in many different ways,  He adds:

Last weekend was the CQ Amateur Radio Magazine sponsored Worldwide VHF contest. I made some contacts on 6 meters SSB. Not as many as the ARRL VHF or Field Day contacts on 6 meters but still had lots of fun.


I had sent amigo Richard an e- mail that  I am reading to you now…

> Hola amigo Ricardo:

> Muchas gracias, thanks a lot for your nice report of our lonely 60 meters band 5040 kHz frequency. We may add later into the end of the solar cycle another 60 meters band frequency or maybe a 90 meters band outlet around 3365 kHz for evening broadcasts. The Breakthrough show about the solar powered deep wells pumps was very interesting topic to learn about and then write the script. The submersible pumps are fed directly from the solar panels… no batteries are used… Cuba is installing hundreds of those solar powered water pumps to extract ground water, especially for providing enough water for cattle farms.  73 and DX Arnie

This is the middle of the week edition of Dxers Unlimited and now our next topic…. It has to do about what can be done to continue to provide a high quality short wave broadcast within the region of the first hop via the F layer night time propagation when solar activity is at rock bottom levels… The service area of a short wave transmitter operating on the 90 and 60 meters bands is quite useful while running power output levels from as low as 10 kiloWatts and simple low cost omnidirectional antennas… As a matter of fact, during the tail end of solar cycle 22, Radio Rebelde , a  Cuban national radio network ran an old three kiloWatts transmitter on 3365 kiloHertz, a frequency inside the 90 meters Tropical Band, and every evening that low power transmitter was clearly heard within an area of around fifteen hundred miles around Cuba…. Looking at the reports received during the time when the old Federal Radio Corporation World War Two original five kiloWatts transmitter was on the air from the former CUBARADIO site, I found out that by next year , and probably as early as september of this year , it would be a very good idea to run one of the veteran SNIEG 50 kiloWatts transmitter on 3365 kiloHertz or a nearby clear channel to provide additional coverage to our Spanish, English, French and Kreyol languages transmissions that may then be heard with better signals within a radius of about fifteen hundred to two thousand miles around Cuba…. If you are able to tune the 90 meters Tropical Band, listen to it searching for active stations from South America that can be heard in North and Central America, as well as all over the Caribbean starting about three to four hours after local sunset and until very near local sunrise.

Si amigos, this is the middle of the week edition of Dxers Unlimited reaching you when the Sun is at a standstill… a very small short duration sunspot active region interrupted 24 days of zero sunspots, then it vanished, and once again Monday July 23 we are looking at a blank solar disc, while the daily solar flux continues to be at levels typical of the end of a solar cycle. During extended periods of very low solar activity we see more sporadic E layer band openings on the VHF region of the radio spectrum…. For example, Monday July 23, I picked up two FM Broadcast stations from the USA, that came riding on a high intensity sporadic E layer opening… The signals showed the typical severe fading, and what makes this report more interesting is that the two DX FM broadcast band stations were heard on our kitchen AM/FM and cassette tape set that is placed on top of the refrigerator… No external antenna …. just the telescopic whip was used, telling clearly that the sporadic E signals were very strong… By the way FM broadcast band Dxing is one of the more than 93 ways that you and I can enjoy this wonderful hobby amigos !

Also received several comments about the vanishing of the JT65 digital communications mode signals from the 20 meters amateur band…. It is quite clear now that the much faster mode, known as FT8 has captured the attention of many operators that found out about the much faster turnaround time for the FT8 digital mode contact…. Anyway, let me add that both JT65 and FT8 digital modes are totally automatic, the machines, the computers do all the job, and the operator just sits watching what happens…. And that is why I refuse to use both JT65 and FT8 digital modes…. A two way contact with someone listening at the other end of the communications link is in my opinion a much better way of enjoying this wonderful hobby … Your valuable opinions about the ongoing controversy between the use of FT8 and other digital automatic modes versus single side band voice,  CW Morse Code radiotelegraphy or keyboard to keyboard modes like Olivia, PSK31, PSK63 and PSK125, will be most appreciated…. send them to inforhc at enet dot cu, againg inforhc at enet dot cu or Via Air Mail to Arnie Coro, Radio Havana Cuba….. and don’t forget to listen to our weekend edition of Dxers Unlimited next Sunday and part of Monday UTC days just after the top of hour newscast.

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FLARC W2NPT 2018 Field Day Results

The logs have been scored and all the bonus points have been added up and documented, and all of it has been submitted to the ARRL for Field Day 2018.

The documentation package can be viewed (PDF) at this link:



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