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Ten Steps on How to Work 3YØZ (Bouvet) With FT8
Due to the relative newness of this mode, there is a need for operators to understand how to operate FT8 correctly and maximize their chances of getting into the 3YØZ log.
FT8 will not be a “primary” mode. We will use this mode when the band dies, or before it opens. If a band appears dead, watch for us on the FT8 transmit frequencies listed above. 3YØZ operations on FT8 will not use “normal” FT8 sequencing (read below). Using and understanding the following guidelines will maximize your success in making an FT8 (digital) contact with 3YØZ Bouvet.
- First, your computer clock needs to be ACCURATE. Do not assume it is. An accurate time synch is mandatory for proper decoding and sequencing; http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/pc-times-match-atomic-clock-sync-windows/ gives instructions on how to do this.
- Download and install WSJT-X (Version 1.8.0-rc3 or newer) from http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx.html
- Read the the FT8 Help files. ZL2IFB’s is also extremely helpful.
4. We will NOT be using the normal FT8 band segments. To avoid QRMing normal FT8 activities, we will conduct our DXpedition FT8 activities just below the normal PSK segments (except on 6 meters). See our band plan above.
5. Do not transmit on our transmit frequency. Select a clear spot on the waterfall in the Wide Graph, do a <Shift, Left Click> on that clear spot to set your transmit frequency, and call us there. Check the box labeled “Hold Tx Freq” to keep your transmit frequency locked. We will not respond to callers on our transmit frequency.
6. Our transmit frequency may move around low in the passband, but that is OK. FT8 will decode the entire passband, and you will decode us wherever we transmit in that passband segment. Our moving around will also help deter DQRM.
7. FT8 is a low power, weak signal mode. High power and/or “heavy” audio processing will only hinder your ability to make a contact.
8. DO NOT SEND US GRID SQUARE INFORMATION. Before calling us, double click on the box next to the Tx1 message in the “Generate Std Msgs” window. This will toggle off the Tx1 message, so that your calls to 3YØZ automatically include only a signal report, and the QSO sequence will be as indicated below. Remember, DO NOT CALL US WITH A GRID SQUARE. We only want to exchange signal reports in order to maximize the number of QSOs per hour. We will not respond to calls containing grid squares.
9. A typical exchange between KL7YL and 3YØZ will look like:
a.) Bouvet: K1ABC 3YØZ 73 (finishing a preceding contact)
b.) Vivien calls: 3YØZ KL7YL -06
c.) Bouvet answers with: KL7YL 3YØZ R-02
d.) Vivien answers with: 3YØZ KL7YL RR73
e.) Bouvet answers: KL7YL 3YØZ 73
f.) The QSO is now complete and KL7YL is in the log. This took only one minute (four 15-second sequences) for a complete contact.
If you see 3YØZ return to someone else, stop transmitting by clicking the “Halt Tx” button on the FT8 control panel. Continuing to transmit during a QSO will NOT increase your chances of making a contact. Immediately after seeing 3YØZ transmit a “73” to another station, click on the “Enable Tx” button to begin transmitting a signal report to 3YØZ.
Repeat until you are called by 3YØZ.