Tag Archives: WSJT-X

Hard getting more than 7 bands in an FT8 Session

Propagation has been different the last few days, and each day I have been able to work more bands than usual.

Typically I am getting QSOs on 160, 80, 40, 30, and 20 meters. The last three I’ve made FT8 QSOs on 17 meters, and today made a handful of SA QSOs on 15 meters which gives me a high band per session count of seven.

Using WSJT-X/SmartSDR for Windows via SmartLink (mostly) to my home Flex-6700 #1 using ZeroFive flagpole vertical antenna. For some QSOs on the shorter bands today I used WSJT-X/SmartSDR for Windows via LAN to my Flex-6600 to a Cushcraft vertical but found no difference in what bands I could see activity on.



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Six Bands of FT8 by Remote Background One Morning

K9ZW 15SEP20 six bands FT8 Log

Some morning the propagation is really different. On Sept 15th 2020 working FT8 on the second monitor from my work desk, I was able to catch QSOs on 160m, 80m 40m 30m, 20, and 17m. Usually I can find good contacts on a few bands, but not so often on six bands in a session.

It was nice to add to my 160m FT8 QSOs, as I have not spent much time on FT8 160m yet.

I found nothing to work on 15m, 12m and 10m – again that propagation issue!

Gear was my ZeroFive Flagpole Vertical Antenna, a Flex-6700 barefoot, and my trusty Dell Core i7 computer running SmartSDR for Windows and WSJT-X. Connectivity was via SmartLink as my radio is at home.

A sprinkling of DX in the run, Fiji being the most interesting.



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Some difficulties with WSJT-X and Windows 10 Pro

Have found that if my Windows 10 box (Win10 Pro 64 bit version 1909 OS build 18363.959 on a Dell Precision Tower 3431 i7-9700 3 GHz with 16 GB Ram) either manually has its screen locked or if it times-out to a locked state that it kills the TX portion of DAX.

Actually all SmartSDR components appear to be fine, but WSJT-X apparently doesn’t like to be behind a locked screen.

It doesn’t happen often, more because I am have been experimenting trying to figure out where the breakdown was occurring.  I have to set the WSJT-X to a silly amount of time, and bring the time-to-lock down to a shorter period.  

First came to my attention when in a rush I manually locked my machine when I was called away, and my expectation was that I’d find either a watchdog timeout or perhaps a general pause in WSJT-X.  My past experience is that SmartSDR & components is pretty forgiving if I would lock the screen when running phone.

WSJT-X continues to run, and continues to decode, but while it “thinks” it is transmitting no oubound data arrives to DAX.

As I’ve not found anything system based in hardware or software that would appear to be the culprit, I’m hoping perhaps a reader might offer a solution.

Actually I don’t mind if WSJT-X acts as if “Halt Tx” was pushed when the screen locks, as I’d like to not be required to terminate WSJT-X completely and restart it to be back in action when I unlock the machine. 

As I have a lot of go-to & resource/authority roles at work, I’d like to be able to simply lock/unlock while maintaining functionality.



Steve K9ZW

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Preparing an FT8 Linux Laptop from a Chromebook

UPDATE – “It’s Alive! It talks!”  Using some hints from https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=303867 I got the audio working.  I’m also editing in a few hints.  See the Sat Oct 19,2019 1:04 pm post for the step-by-step.  Basically seemed to be a driver issue with this particular Chromebook model.   


The Audio Fix

[Edited 08FEB2020]


CAUTION [SEE ABOVE – Resolved with some research and work!] – I’m struggling to get the Audio I/O working.  Some users are reporting that the Dell 3120 (Candy) Chromebook running GalliumOS ends up with the audio inoperative, and few say they have it working.  I’ve undone the whole process and repeated with the same problem.  Might be better to pick a different Chromebook in the end.  More to follow!  [Edited 08FEB2020]


With some help from Vic KC9NWB I’ve mostly prepared a very inexpensive laptop to run WSJT-X with my soon to be built Midnight Design Solutions Phaser FT8 transceiver Kit.

I started with a Dell 3120 Chromebook which was a scratch-n-dent sale item at Amazon’s Woot.  With the larger memory Amazon usually gets $100 plus tax for one of these, but catching it on a short Woot offer saved about $30 in my case.  So with taxing delivered I’ve added $71 to my FT8 Phaser project for a dedicated computer.  At the time of my writing Amazon does have some on offer (again S&D/renewed) for the $75 range.

Rugged Chromebook

I followed the conversion to Linux Joshua Woehlke wrote up at https://joshuawoehlke.com/galliumos-dell-chromebook-3120/

Some notes: Backup the firmware to a separate flashdrive, and do make a set of backup media to restore ChromeOS just in case you have to revert to solve problems like I did. https://wiki.galliumos.org/Installing is also another good reference. You can make a new ChromeOS restoration media drive through the chrome browser app plug-in as well.  But having the right stuff handy is helpful and saves time if you do have to go back.  [Edited 08FEB2020]

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