Getting Started with K1JT modes using Direct Interoperation Between DXLab and WSJT-X
WSJT-X uses a soundcard connected to your transceiver to implement communication protocols or "modes" called FT4, FT8, JT4, JT9, JT65, JT9, QRA64, ISCAT, MSK144, and WSPR, as well as one called Echo for detecting and measuring your own radio signals reflected from the Moon. These modes were all designed for making reliable, confirmed QSOs under extreme weak-signal conditions.
SpotCollector orchestrates the realtime interoperation between WSJT-X and your DXLab applications, creating and updating Spot Database Entries, directing DXKeeper, DXView, and Pathfinder to perform lookup operations, and routing logged QSOs to DXKeeper.
When connected to WSJT-X as a spot source, SpotCollector will create a new Spot Database Entry for station X when, assuming all other Spot Database Entry creation criteria are met, when
WSJT-X decodes station X, and reports its computed Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) - meaning that your instance of WSJT-X is copying station X
WSJT-X decodes station Y calling station X with an SNR - meaning that station Y is copying station X
The new Spot Database Entry's Network field will be set to WSJTX.
When WSJT-X decoding station X results in the creation of a new Spot Database Entry, the new Entry's Source field will be set to your callsign. When WSJT-X decoding station Y calling station X results in the creation of a new Spot Database Entry, the new Entry's Source field will be set to Y.
Three Spot Database Fields are used to record the most recent, lowest, and highest SNR computed and reported by WSJT-X for each station:
the most recent SNR reported by WSJT-X for this Entry's station
the lowest SNR reported by WSJT-X for this Entry's station
the highest SNR reported by WSJT-X for this Entry's station
SpotCollector will update existing Spot Database Entries with new SNR and grid square information reported by WSJT-X; Network and Source fields will also be updated. Note that the "WSJT-X decodes station Y calling station X with an SNR" scenario does not update the Spot Database Entry for station X with an SNR, as the reported SNR is computed and reported by station Y, not by your instance of WSJT-X.
When a Spot Database Entry is created with no SNR is available - either the station is operating in a K1JT mode but hasn't yet been decoded by your instance of WSJT-X, or because the station isn't operating in a K1JT mode - ActualSNR, ActualSNRMin, and ActualSNRMax fields are set to -9999, which are shown as blank in the Spot Database Display; this is illustrated by the fourth row of the Spot Database Display in the screenshot below, where WSJT-X decoded a report of HK3UA by CT7AIU, but has not decoded CT7AIU.
Filtering the Spot Database Display
With SpotCollector connected to WSJT-X, you can filter the Spot Database Display to show only active stations operating in the mode currently selected in WSJT-X by using the SQL expression
By default, the Spot Database Display will include all active stations reported by WSJT-X: those it directly decodes, and those reported with an SNR by stations it decodes.
To show only active stations operating in the mode currently selected in WSJT-X that have been decoded by WSJT-X, use the SQL expression
(MODE='<WSJTXMODE>') and (ACTUALSNR<>-9999)
To show only active stations conforming to the Band, Mode, Continent, Origin, Age, LoTW, and eQSL filters that either aren't operating in the mode currently selected in WSJT-X, or have been decoded by WSJT-X, use the SQL expression
<STANDARDFILTER> and ((MODE<>'<WSJTXMODE>') or ((MODE='<WSJTXMODE>') and (ACTUALSNR<>-9999)))
To show only active stations with whom a QSO would advance your award progress that to the Band, Mode, Continent, Origin, Age, LoTW, and eQSL filters and that either aren't operating in the mode currently selected in WSJT-X, or have been decoded by WSJT-X, use the SQL expression
<NEEDFILTER> and ((MODE<>'<WSJTXMODE>') or ((MODE='<WSJTXMODE>') and (ACTUALSNR<>-9999)))
Color-coding Callsigns in the WSJT-X Band Activity Panel
With the same font colors and background colors used in the Spot Database Display, SpotCollector colors the text and backgrounds of callsigns that appear in the WSJT-X Main window's Band Activity panel based to indicate award need (DXCC, IOTA, Leaderboard, Marathon, VUCC, WAS, WAZ, WPX) and eQSL/LoTW participation. You can optionally specify the colors used to display CQs and your callsign in the WSJT-X Main window's Band Activity panel by checking the CQ color and MyCall color boxes respectively in the WSJT-X panel on the Spot Sources tab of SpotCollector's Configuration window; to modify either color, click in the colored rectangle to the right of the checkbox.
Directing DXKeeper, DXView, and Pathfinder to Perform Lookup Operations
When a new DX Call is selected or specified in WSJT-X,
DXKeeper, if running, can be directed to filter its Log Page Display to contain all previous QSOs with the new DX Call
DXView, if running, can be directed to display location information about the new DX Call
All three of the above functions are enabled by checking the Lookup box in the WSJT-X panel on the Configuration window's Spot Sources tab.
Selecting a Spot Database Entry
With SpotCollector connected to WSJT-X, double-clicking a Spot Database Entry will, if the Entry's Mode field is a K1JT mode (FT4, FT8, JT65, JT65A, JT65B, JT65B2, JT65C, JT65C2, or JT9), do the following:
If SpotCollector is connected to an instance of WSJT-X whose current band and K1JT mode match those of the double-clicked Spot Database Entry, the Entry's Callsign and DX Grid information will be conveyed to that instance of WSJT-X, which if it's version 2.1.2 or later will populate its DX Call and DX Grid boxes, and invoke its Generate Std Msgs function
If SpotCollector is not connected to an instance of WSJT-X whose current band and K1JT mode match those of the double-clicked Spot Database Entry,
the Entry's Callsign, Mode, and DX Grid will be conveyed to the instance of WSJT-X that is running on the same computer that hosts SpotCollector; if that instance of WSJT-X is version 2.1.2 or later, it will populate its DX Call and DX Grid boxes, switch to the Entry's K1JT mode, and invoke its Generate Std Msgs function
- set the transceiver's frequency to bottom of that sub-band
set the transceiver's mode to that specified in the Transceiver mode for WSJT-X panel on the Configuration window's General tab
Logging QSOs to DXKeeper
With SpotCollector connected to WSJT-X, when you direct WSJT-X to log a QSO, the information captured in the WSJT-X Log QSO window is routed to DXKeeper, which augments it with
Antenna Azimuth and Antenna Path information reported by DXView (or computed as a the great circle short path the station's grid square if DXView isn't running, or isn't controlling an antenna rotator, or hasn't sent a rotate to azimuth directive to the rotator it controls)
Distance, computed from the logged station's grid square and your grid square
SFI, A-index, and K-index, reported by SpotCollector
information from an Override for the callsign
the results of DXKeeper's callbook lookup (if enabled)
myQTH ID from the Log Settings panel on the Logtab of DXKeeper's Configuration window
Operator from the Defaults tab of DXKeeper's Configuration window
Owner from the Defaults tab of DXKeeper's Configuration window
Satellite Name from the Defaults tab of DXKeeper's Configuration window
Satellite Mode from the Defaults tab of DXKeeper's Configuration window
Propagation Mode from the Defaults tab of DXKeeper's Configuration window
MS Shower from the Defaults tab of DXKeeper's Configuration window
and then directs DXKeeper to log the QSO, with the option to upload the logged QSO to ClubLog, eQSL, and/or LoTW.
Note: after unsuccessfully pursuing a QSO, strike the ESC or F4 key to ensure that the WSJT-X Log QSOs window proposes an accurate start time for the next QSO.
Installation and Configuration
Computer Clock Synchronization
Operation in the FT4 and FT8 requires your computer clock to be accurate.
- better than ±500 ms for FT4 mode
- better than ±1 s for FT8 mode
See the WSJT-X User Guide for recommended applications that will automatically keep your computer's clock accurate.
Installing and Configuring WSJT-X
The latest WSJT-X installation file is available in http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html
Open the Settings window by selecting the File menu's Settings... tab
On the Settings window's General tab
In the Station Details panel,
Set My Call to your callsign
Set My Grid to your six-character grid square
Select your IARU Region
In the Display panel,
Check the Blank line between decoding periods box
Check the Tx messages to Rx frequency window box
On the Settings window's Radio tab
In the Rig dropdown menu, select DXLab Suite Commander
- This enables WSJT-X to control your radio via Commander, rather than via a serial port, or a virtual serial port created by a USB connection.
If you've configured Commander to use other than TCP port 52002, then specify the port TCP Commander is using in the CAT Control panel's Network Server box
Set the Poll Interval to 1 second
Set the PTT Method panel to CAT (in this context, PTT refers to switching the radio between reception and transmission)
Alternatively, if you have a separate COM port connected to a device with PTT capability triggered by the assertion of the port's DTR or RTS modem control signal, you can configure WSJT-X to use it, as doing so will provide more accurate PTT timing. If you choose this approach, however, don't configure Commander to use the same COM port for PTT, as WSJT-X would then be denied access to the COM port.
If Commander cannot switch your radio between reception and transmission, then consider an alternate selection for PTT method, e.g. VOX.
In the Mode panel, select the transceiver mode that is appropriate for your radio:
If your radio provides a DATA mode, choose Data/Pkt
If your radio doesn't provide a DATA mode, choose USB
In the Split Operation panel, select Rig. If this setting doesn't work with your radio, selectFake it.
- Test WSJT-X's interaction with Commander (which must be running)
Click the Test CAT button; it should turn green after a few seconds to indicate that WSJT-X is correctly interacting with Commander
Click the Test PTT button and confirm that your radio switches from receiving to transmitting; click the Test PTT button again and confirm that your radio switches back to receiving
On the Settings window's Audio tab
In the Soundcard panel, select the appropriate soundcard Input and Output sections
You may need to adjust levels in Windows audio settings for best operation. The WSJT-X documentation describes how to do this. The best settings may not be optimal for !Winwarbler operation so you may have to find a compromise that works for both.
In the Remember power settings by band panel, check the Transmit and Tune boxes
On the Settings window's Reporting tab
In the Logging panel, check the Prompt me to Log QSO box
In the UDP Server panel
If SpotCollector is hosted on the same computer as WSJT-X, set the UDP Server box to 127.0.0.1; otherwise, set the UDP Server box to the IP address of the computer that is hosting SpotCollector, and configure the firewall on that computer to accept incoming UDP messages on port 2237
Set the UDP Server port number to 2237
Check the Accept UDP requests box
On the Settings window's Frequencies tab,
Set the Frequency Calibration panel's Slope and Intercept to 0
Set the Offset to 0 in any entries in the Station Information panel
In the Settings window's Colors tab's Decode Highlighting panel,
Check the My Call in message box (at the top)
Check the Transmitted message box (at the bottom)
- Uncheck all other boxes
If you're using Windows 10, configure Windows to enable Let apps use my microphone in its Settings window's Microphone section. If this option is disabled, applications will be prevented from using any audio device.
On the Configuration window's General tab, click the Net Server button on the right edge of the tab to display Commmander's Network Service window.
In Commmander's Network Service window, set the TCP Network Service panel's Base Port to 52000
On the Configuration window's General tab,
set the to Transceiver mode for WSJT-X panel to match your choice of mode in step 4.d of the Configuring WSJT-X section above
select a Sub-band Definition file that defines sub-bands for the K1JT modes you'll be using; the file BandModes 2019-05-02.txt in your SpotCollector folder defines sub-bands for many K1JT modes.
On the Configuration window's Spot Database tab, set the Combination Criteria panel's Maximum separation in frequency (kHz) to 3
In the Layout panel on the Configuration window's Spot Database Display tab
If you are pursuing awards based on primary administrative subdivisions (e.g. US States, Canadian Provinces, Russian Oblasts), add a column to the Spot Database Display for the Primary field
To see the SNR most recently decoded by WSJT-X, add a column to the Spot Database Display for the ActualSNR field
To see the smallest and largest SNRs decoded by WSJT-X, add columns to the Spot Database Display for the ActualSNRMin and ActualSNRMax fields, respectively
In the WSJT-X panel on the Configuration window's Spot Sources tab
Check the CQ color box. By default, CQs in the WSJT-X window's Band Activity panel will be colored emerald green; to change the color, click in the emerald green box.
Check the MyCall color box. By default, your callsign in the WSJT-X window's Band Activity panel will be colored purple; to change the color, click in the purple box.
Set the Port to 2237
Check the Callbook box if you want DXKeeper to augment the information logged with a QSO to include the results of a Callbook lookup
Check the Lookup box if you want DXKeeper, DXView, and Pathfinder to be directed to perform lookup operations when a new DX Call is selected or specified on the WSJT-X Main window
Check the eQSL, LoTW, and/or ClubLog boxes to enable automatic uploading of logged QSOs
Check the Enable box; if WSJT-X is running, the right-most LED-like display in the Spot source status panel at the top of SpotCollector's Main window should change from red to yellow (meaning connecting to WSJT-X) and then to green (meaning connected to WSJT-X)
Configuring DXKeeper Before an Operating Session
On the Defaults tab of DXKeeper's Configuration window,
Specify a default Operator callsign to be logged with the QSOs you are about to make
Specify a default Propagation mode that you expect will be used in most of the QSOs you are about to make
Clear the Satellite name and Satellite mode boxes unless you will be making QSOs via a satellite
Clear the Meteor shower box unless you will be making QSOs via meteor scatter during a specific meteor shower
If desired, specify a Default QSL Message
In the Log Settings panel on the Log tab of DXKeeper's Configuration window, specify the Default myQTH ID to be logged with the QSOs you are about to make
Starting an Instance of WSJT-X
SpotCollector will accept connections from up to 16 instances of WSJT-X. If more than one instance of WSJT-X is running on the same computer, each instance on that computer must have distinct IDs; this can be accomplished by specifying a unique rig name in a command line used to start WSJT-X, for example:
The specified ID will appear in the WSJT-X window's caption:
JT-Alert and SpotCollector cannot be simultaneously connected to the same instance of WSJT-X via the same UDP address and port; if you wish to use JT-Alert,
uncheck the Enable box in the WSJT-X panel on SpotCollector's Configuration window's Spot Sources tab
- start JT-Alert.
SpotCollector will accept connections from up to 16 instances of WSJT-X
- WSJT-X logs a single frequency for each QSO; it does not record both TX and RX frequencies.
- The contest exchange information logged by WSJT-X is not yet documented; DXKeeper is unlikely to generate correct Cabrillo from QSOs logged by WSJT-X.
With SpotCollector connected to WSJT-X,
double-clicking a Spot Database Entry whose Mode field specifies FT8, JT65, JT65A, JT65B, JT65B2, JT65C, or JT65C will not change the mode in WSJT-X, or set the DX Callsign in WSJT-X.
double-clicking a Spot Database Entry for which no sub-band is defined for the Entry's Mode within the Entry's band will result in no change of transceiver frequency or mode.