Configuring WSJT-X to log to N3FPJ for ARRL Field Day (part 1)

My amateur radio club (RCARCS) uses N3FPJ logger for Field Day (we run N3FPJ on one laptop and the log from each station over WiFi). This year I want to have a go at setting up a digital mode station to log automatically to N3FPJ from WSJT-X to run some FT8, and also from fldigi to work PSK and RTTY. First up, let’s look at getting WSJT-X working.

WSJT-X doesn’t log directly to N3FPJ (it does to N1NM though), but it does indirectly through the intermediate helper app JT-Alert. The setup we’re going to do then is:

WSJT-X -> JT-Alert -> N3FPJ Field Day logger.

Starting with N3FPJ, the first step is to enable the Server API from Settings / Application Programming Interface:

The next step after installing JT-Alert is to select ACLog (N3FPJ’s main logging app) in the settings. The options give you a setting to connect to a locally running ACLog, and while this works for a local N3FPJ’s ACLog app, it doesn’t for N3FJP’s Field Day logger. This part is not obvious, but to configure JT-Alert to log to the Field Day logger even if on the same PC you configure the remote connection settings and then also point it to the .mdb log file of the locally running N3FPJ:

Here you also select the log type is ‘Field Day’. This approach for the config is in the Help docs for JT-Alert here:

Next, configuring network options in WSJT to allow JT-Alert to connect. Without making any other changes, if you start JT-Alert and then start WSJT you’ll see these two dialogs which tell you what settings you need to change in WSJT:

In WSJT settings on the reporting tab, select all 3 checkboxes in the UDP section, and replace the default 127.0.0.1 with your current IP address, e.g.

To use FT8 for Field Day, WSJT has a setting to customize the exchange to include the required class and ARRL section:

To test out the config so far, start the apps in this order: N3FPJ, JT-Alert, WSJT. To test logging a QSO, enter a test call in the DX Call field and press the Log QSO button:

… note here when running Field Day mode you should enter the correct exchange sent and exchange received so the QSO is logged correctly in N3FPJ.

The log is automatically sent across to N3FPJ via JT-Alert:

I noticed if you don’t manually enter the exchange sent and received then it will populate just the callsign field with the sent and received still blank. If you complete both as you log from WSJT then the log entry is saved into N3FPJ automatically.

Note: in JTAlert v2.13.6 I noticed the above steps work fine on Windows 10 if you are logged in as an Admin user. If you log in as a regular user, JTAlert will not copy logs across to N3FPJ, unless you start JTAlert with ‘Run as Administrator’. Also, it will pop up the warning message saying that it failed to check if the log was successfully written, even though it is written to N3FPJ successfully. There is a timing setting in the JTAlert Performance settings to increase the length of time before the N3FPJ is checked for a successful log, but it doesn’t appear to make any difference for this issue.

Next up, I’ll look at getting fldigi setup to also log direct to N3FPJ.

Slides from RCARCS 7/3/18 meeting: Intro to FT8 Digital Mode

I presented an overview of the incredibly popular FT8 digital mode at the River City ARCS club meeting on 7/3/18.

Here’s a copy of my slides:

Instead of disassembling my HF station and taking it into the meeting, I tried something different and demo’d using the mode (to receive) using WebSDR, and to transmit using a remote station provided by www.remotehamradio.com . We operated the W1/Chaplain, CT station on the East coast, and worked 3 stations in Europe – HA1RB, DL2LDE and DG6YID during the meeting. From this East coast station the 40m section where FT8 is operated on 7.074Mhz was completely packed from edge to edge on the waterfall!

Piping audio between applications: Configuring ham radio apps on Mac OS using SoundFlower (virtual audio cables)

You’re running some digital mode software like WSJT-X on your Mac. Normally you would use a physical audio cable between your radio to your Mac, either via a soundcard interface like a Rigblaster, or even a direct USB connection to your Mac and your radio. What happens though if you want to route your audio from one application to another? For example, can you pipe the audio from a Web SDR running in your browser straight into WSJT-X (or any other digital mode software)? What you need are ‘virtual audio cables’.

On Windows you have a product called VB-Cable (the approach for Windows is similar to what’s described here). On MacOS you have a couple of options. There’s a commercial product called Loopback from Rogue Amoeba, or an open source alternative called Soundflower.

Follow the instructions to download and install. Once installed, you’ll find a couple of extra sound devices in your System Preferences:

Think of the Soundflower device as your cable. Instead of configuring Speakers for output and Mic for input, if you configure the input for one app as Soundflower (one end of the virtual cable) and the output for another app also as Soundflower (the other end of the cable), and sound output from one app is now directed into input of the other.

Let’s give this a go to connect the output from a WebSDR with the input to WSJT-X.

First, from System Preferences, select the Output to be Soundflower (shown above).

Start up a browser and pick a Web SDR station from http://websdr.org/

Here’s KFS and we’re tuned in to 7.074Mhz USB to receive some FT8:

Next, start up WSJT-X and go to Preferences, Audio:

Note that with Input = Soundflower we’re routing the Output audio from the WebSDR running in the browser into the Soundflower virtual cable. From WSJT-X we’re then taking the audio from this virtual cable as the input into WSJT-X, effectively routing the audio from the web browser into WSJT-X.

Also note that with Output = Soundflower in WSJT-X, if we transmit on WSJT-X the audio will also go out on the virtual cable. With WebSDR we can’t obviously transmit, but if you have access to a remote rig like remotehamradio.com, you can route the audio from WSJT-X into the remote rig app. More on that coming next.

You might note that with this current configuration there’s no actual audio coming out of your speakers. With some virtual cables you have the option to monitor the audio passing over the virtual cable. On MacOS you also have the ability to create composite audio devices using the Audio MIDI Setup app:

This shows a ‘Multi-Output Device’ comprising both the regular built-in audio (your speakers) and Soundflower. Now you’ve got the best of both worlds. More on this next step, and also configuring to use remotehamradio.com with WSJT-X coming up next.