I did use WSJT-X for these contacts. I know that many amateurs still use WSJT9, which is an older version of the software designed in the days when most people used PTT signals or "digiVOX" to turn their radio to transmit.
Due to the slightly odd set-up of the Icom IC-7100 I prefer to use either WSJT-X or MSHV for controlling the rig via CAT controls. There is a way round it to allow WSJT9 to be used and I explained it on this blog years ago. However, there is no advantage to using PTT instead of CAT with the 7100 and several disadvantages. So if you need to know about that you can scroll through all the early postings on this site because I do not have the energy to do it. Let's just say that the posting immediately after that one explains that it is all too much effort and I immediately started to use CAT instead. WSJT-X just suits me better.
WSJT-X can do almost everything WSJT9 can do. The only exception I can find to that is the reporting style used by serious EME operators when they send reports to each other. WSJT-X does not show "width" or "DF" in the reporting line, though width is listed in the astronomical data. Instead of "DF" you find "Freq" in the report line. All this info does feature in the MSHV reporting line so that might be a way to go if you feel you need it there. This does not matter much to me and I find the dB signal to noise figure quite sufficient.
From previous postings and comments it is clear that most people recommend that you should read the WSJT-X Users Guide found via the WSJT home page listed in the "Other interesting sites" column on the right here. Also, W7GJ's notes specifically for WSJT-X in the second part of his guide can be found here:-
When it comes to setting up WSJT-X for JT65B EME work I found it necessary to add a separate WSJT-X configuration for it. For me, using multiple WSJT-X configurations is a lot more useful than the various commentators suggest. They seem to think that different configurations help if multiple operators use a computer linked to a radio. For me, I have multiple different settings for each mode, and I use several modes on each radio. Almost as many multiple settings as I have multiple personalities. Just one operator though (probably).
So how does this configuration thing work?
|WSJT-X Configuration menu for the Icom IC-7100 at GM4FVM|
When you download WSJT-X you get one default configuration. If you only use one mode, say FT8, then that is probably all you need. But I have found it very helpful to have separate configurations for FT8 and MSK144. This allows me to tweak these differently (e.g. different watchdog times) for two modes used under very different propagation conditions.
Yes, you could keep the different settings in your head and change them as you changed mode, and bully for you if you can do it. I am "A Bear of Very Little Brain" so it helps me to have the settings automatically changed as I change mode. The previous frequency used for the mode also returns as I change configuration - very handy in a hurry.
For 144MHz I also set up a JT65 configuration, which now has JT65B configured for beacon work. When I started using WSJT-X for EME I used that configuation, but I soon realised that the EME settings are very different from the beacon ones. So I added another one specifically for EME. To do this I selected the JT65 configuation and "cloned" and renamed it. There was no need to revert to the default - by cloning the JT65 config I retained all the JT65B settings and could work from there. Any changes I later made to the EME settings did not mess up the beacon ones which were on a different configuration.
I have other different configurations on the other instances of WSJT-X I have to control multiple radios simultaneously. If, unlike me, you have more than one rig and you use them with WSJT-X one at a time, you can use one instance of WSJT-X and set up different configurations for each radio. So you might have one for "IC-7100 2m MSK144" and another for "TS590 6m FT8". In that case changing between the configurations could change band, frequency within the band, the audio sources, the COM port and settings, and all the other settings too. You could toggle between the two radios using the different configurations, and WSJT-X would follow the changes.
MSHV does not have anything similar.
It "only" took me a very long time to remember to change configurations every time when I would otherwise change mode. I still get it wrong occasionally.
When it actually comes to the JT65B settings I did generally follow W7GJ's advice but tailored the specific number settings to suit my own computer's performance. If you have a very capable computer you can probably go the whole hog and set everything to maximum.
Everybody knows the exacting standard I set for my computer. For the geeky-minded of you I can explain that the technical target was £80.00. On eBay and it came in at £79.00 (postage included). That was for the basics and I added a faster processor which I had left from a previous incident which had reduced a nice motherboard to toast. Having said that I was driven by price, it is fast enough to allow me to set everything in WSJT-X quite high.
|WSJT-X running in the EME configuration at GM4FVM|
When I started listening with Deep Search activated I was inundated with false decodes. I really should have taken time to pare down the list in my CALL3.txt file or install a better one. When I activated both Deep Search and Averaging more funny things start happening and I felt that I was in danger of losing my control of the situation. Callsigns appeared from QSOs which I had finished, and from stations I knew were not active. I had to remember that I was the one in charge and I kept an eye on the details such as frequency and dB S/N. The false ones were easy to spot and ignore. All that Deep Search was doing was to make suggestions, it was up to me to interpret those suggestions.
At times I have turned off Deep Search and/or Averaging. It is interesting. JT65B still works though you lose some possibilities. Given my lower power I reckon I could get away with looking for stronger signals at the receiver, and then Deep Search is handy but not absolutely necessary in every case.
Note too that in general listening I had set FTol to 1000. Even doing that, and with Deep Search and Averaging turned on, my old second hand PC could comfortably decode anything I needed well before the end of the one minute receiving time. Once I had found a station I lowered the F Tol to 500. I only set it so high to avoid missing someone while I listened.
F Tol=1000 worked too - I found a station operating 1kHz lower than where I was listening (UR3EE) which was easily decoded. The resulting contact showed that it is possible to stumble across stations on EME without recourse to chat rooms or other sites to find out who is there.
That is as far as I have got with customising my "EME" configuration in WSJT-X so far. It is still early days.
I also spent a day listening and trying to work out how I could copy EME signals with my modest non-elevating antenna. I could copy one strong station when the Moon had gone well beyond 12 degrees of elevation. This gives me hope. However, it was a gradual tail-off as elevation increased and not the multi-lobed pattern I had been expecting.
I also spotted a French station who was fairly strong who said that in 3 minutes he would lose the Moon as he did not have elevation on his antenna. Sure enough, after 3 minutes he faded and vanished.
After that I looked at the H-plane polar radiation diagram for my 7 element DK7ZB antenna. This showed the major lobe with a gradual tail off to >-20dB at 50 degrees. There was one smaller lobe at 60 (-13dB) degrees and the next (-17dB) at 95 degrees. This is certainly what I felt I was finding in practice. However this is a free space diagram, and I have real-life factors such as other antennas, nearby buildings and ground gain to consider.
"More research necessary".
My intention with EME is to use the experience to improve my station and skills. The idea is that all this will help with meteor scatter, tropo, aurora and Sporadic E.
It certainly has altered my 2m DX table for the past few weeks
|DX list on 2m at GM4FVM 22 to 28 March 2018|
With meteor scatter on the way up again and a 50MHz Sporadic E opening already in the bag during March it looks a bit like the long VHF Winter is coming to an end.
What am I talking about? VHF Winter coming to an end? Outside there is snow predicted here during the next week.
The thing about radio (or at least radio my way) is that conditions decide, not the calendar or the clock. And certainly not me. I only get to decide when to turn on the radios.
Turning on the radio and expecting to find a station to contact is not part of my world. If you want that try 20 metres.