So, here’s my new HF digital modes configuration for my ham station. Works great on FT8 and FT4.
Recently, I have been in an updating mood. Mostly, I want to spend more time “on the air” taking advantage of the new solar cycle on higher frequency bands. So, I started from scratch.
After updating my Flex 6300 to Version 3 and installing Slice Master, I re-connected the radio to my Log4OM logging program, above left. This involved installing the latest Log4OM Version 2 and importing my log database. That went smoothly. Log4OM is very well documented, with lots of tips for working with Flex radios.
Slice Master will automatically launch WSJT-X when switched to DIGU mode. WSJT, shown above center right, is the software most people use for digital modes like FT8, and it works really well. What is neat above my new HF digital modes configuration is that new contacts are automatically logged at the push of a button.
Then, I installed Grid Tracker, shown as a map center left above. Grid Tracker listens to WSJT, and automatically displays all the active stations on a world map. So, you can see where the band openings are.
Finally, I replaced WSJT-X with WSJT-Z. This is a fork of the original program with several automation features. I can now set the software to automatically call stations it hears without my intervention. Since setting this up, I have made tons of global contacts on 15 and 10 meters running fifty watts.
HF Digital Modes Configuration uses Network Connections
Gone are the days of Serial Ports and port conflicts when setting up something like this. Most of your software just uses TCP/IP or UDP connections to shift data between radios and programs. You need to study how this works, but set up is pretty easy using your PC as a localhost. Various ports provide different kinds of data, such as spots, radio control and logging.
What’s more, all of this software (except Flex) is free and often open-source.