Another JS8Call Newbie

Yep, that’s me. At an ARES-RACES meeting the other night, a few fellow members were discussing JS8Call. I decided to download the software and give it a whirl.

After installing the software and looking it over, I watched a few YouTube videos to learn how to use it. Once I thought I had the basics down, I fired up my KX3 to take JS8Call for a spin.

I didn’t see any activity on the waterfall, but after a while, I was able to decode a transmission on 20M. That was a good sign. I called CQ few times with no response. Checking PSKReporter, however, I saw spots from as far away as southern California. Not bad for 5 watts and a rainspout antenna.

My initial CQs with JS8Call made it out to southern California on 20M. Not bad for 5 watts and a rainspout antenna!
My initial CQs with JS8Call made it out to southern California on 20M. Not bad for 5 watts and a rainspout antenna!

I dropped down to 40M and saw immediately saw a few decodes pop up. I called CQ a few times and received a call from N4YTM in North Carolina. Gordon, as it turns out, was only slightly more experienced with JS8Call; I was his third contact. Despite our collective inexperience, we had a nice, albeit slow, chat with this new mode.

I found that carrying on a basic QSO with JS8Call was pretty intuitive. I still have a lot to learn about some of the more advanced messaging features, though. JS8 is an interesting mode and less robotic than FT8. It’s slow for a keyboard-to-keyboard chat mode but I was decoding signals I could hardly see on the waterfall.

Although CW will always be my primary mode, I’m sure there will be more JS8Call activity in my future.

72, Craig WB3GCK

5 thoughts on “Another JS8Call Newbie”

  1. Thanks for your post! Can you share your JS8Call settings for the KX3? I’m also trying to get up and running on this.

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    1. I use a Signalink USB to interface my laptop to the KX3. I use this same set up for a variety of digital modes.

      The Signalink I use came configured for the KX3 (and KX2) and included the appropriate Mic and Phone cables.

      I run the KX3 in the DATA A mode. It should default to operating on the upper sideband, but if you wind up on the wrong sideband, you can use the ALT button to change sidebands.

      In JS8CALL, I just needed to select the Signalink as the soundcard for input and output.

      From that point, it was just a matter of setting the audio levels for transmit and receive.

      You can run the digital modes without a Signalink. Many folks use a USB soundcard of some sort. Some folks run directly from the computer’s audio. I haven’t used either of these methods, so I can’t help with them.

      If there are some specific settings you have questions about, email me via the contact page on the website and I can send you some screenshots.

      73, Craig WB3GCK

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  2. Hi Craig, I use FT8 for over 6 months without any problem. However I didn’t have any luck with JS8. My question is if JS8 was capable decoding FT8 transmission on regular FT8 frequencies? I installed JS8 in two occasions (different PC) and it was not decoding FT8 traffic.

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    1. I’m far from an expert on the digital stuff, but I don’t believe JS8 is intended to decode FT8 transmissions. — 73, Craig WB3GCK

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      1. Thanks for your reply Craig. A few months ago I joined a JS8 group but I have not received any useful tips about the issue. I usually am good with most of the software configuration but this is driving me crazy. Today I installed JS8call for the third time on a brand new Windows 10 and this software is still a puzzle for me. Previously in lack of JS8 signals I was only trying to see messages from FT8 frequency but today I found JS8 transmissions around 14.080 and still nothing. It does transmit however but it doesn’t decode anything, no messages received. By the way I have now a new IC-7300 which I successfully use for FT8 but not for JS8. Well, thanks for listening anyway, regards.
        Jean, 73 de W5DMA

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