As promised, the WSJT-X Development Group has announced a new “candidate release,” WSJT-X 2.0 rc1. This beta version of the popular digital mode suite incorporates many new FT8 and MSK144 features that will be of particular interest to the Amateur Radio contesting community. It incorporates all FT8 DXpedition Mode changes already developed in WSJT-X 1.9.1.Continue reading New Beta Version WSJT-X 2.0 Boasts Major Changes
China’s twin-launch Chang’e 4 mission to the far side of the moon will place a pair of microsatellites in lunar orbit “to test low-frequency radio astronomy and space-based interferometry.” The two satellites, DSLWP-A1 and DSLWP-A2 (DSLWP = Discovering the Sky at Longest Wavelengths Pathfinder) are expected to launch in June. They will carry Amateur Radio and educational payloads, but not a transponder.
Equipped with low-frequency antennas and receivers, the astronomy objectives of the two spacecraft will be to observe the sky at the lower end of the electromagnetic spectrum — 1 MHz to 30 MHz — with the aim of learning about energetic phenomena from celestial sources. They will use the moon to shield them from radio emissions from Earth.
The wave of software-based digital modes over the past several years has altered the atmosphere of the HF bands. Some suggest the popularity of modes that make it possible to contact stations neither operator can even hear has resulted in fewer CW and SSB signals on bands like 6 meters and 160 meters. Traditional modes require far more interaction and effort on the part of the operator; the newer digital modes not so much. The recent advent of the still-beta “quick” FT8 mode, developed by Steve Franke, K9AN, and Joe Taylor, K1JT — the “F” and the “T” in the mode’s moniker — has brought this to a head. Some now wonder if FT8 marks the end of an era and the start of a new, more minimalist age.
A new “pre-release” version of WSJT-X now is available. This is the Amateur Radio digital software suite developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT, that includes the new FT8 mode, which has been catching on like wildfire. The September 2 release, WSJT-Xversion 1.8.0-rc2, fixes a number of issues, provides better performance, and offers some new features.
January 13, 2016
1986: The US and Russia signed arms agreements, Argentina won the world cup, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home hit the theaters. Trekkies and the general public alike enjoyed the film. Some astute hams though, noticed a strange phenomenon about halfway through the film. During a pivotal scene, Scotty attempts to beam Chekov and Uhura off the Enterprise, but has trouble with interference. The interference can be heard over the ubiquitous Star Trek comm link. To many it may sound like random radio noise. To the trained ear of a [Harold Price, NK6K] though, it sounded a heck of a lot like packet radio transmissions.
May 28, 2015
The APRS/PSK31-equipped US Naval Academy satellites appear to be operating, with one exception, according to Bob Bruninga, WB4APR. The CubeSats were launched on May 20 from Cape Canaveral. The launch included a pair of 1.5U CubeSats — the PSAT APRS/PSK31 satellite and BRICsat, a propulsion/PSK31 satellite — as well as a 3U CubeSat, USS Langley (Unix Space Server Langley). The launch also included The Planetary Society’s LightSail-1.
PSAT, a student satellite project named in honor of USNA alum Bradford Parkinson, of GPS fame, contains an APRS transponder for relaying remote telemetry, sensor, and user data from remote users and Amateur Radio environmental experiments or other data sources back to Amateur Radio experimenters via a global network of Internet-linked ground stations.