Fun with FT8 using JTAlert, WSJT-X and Log4OM together. Finally some applications that work and run together really well.
Recently, I have been experimenting with ham radio digital modes, particularly weak signal modes like FT8. As mentioned previously, software like WSJT-X makes it easy to do computer-to-computer long distance contacts with low power.
One of the challenges with weak signal modes is boredom. There is nothing to listen to but a bunch of weird tones. The software updates its display every fifteen seconds for FT8, or every minute on JT. You have to concentrate on the data streaming by in order to figure out who to call, who is calling you, and when to activate your transmitter. Sigh.
Life becomes a bit easier using JTAlert weak signal mode support. Basically, this free software interfaces with your WSJT-X and does two things. First, it provides alerts. Using JTAlert configuration, you can request alerts that you are being called, or that a certain country, state or call sign is on the air. Alerts can be visual on screen (see lower edge above) or audible. You can also set alerts to send a text message.
Second, using JTAlert will automate logging. Whenever you log a contact, JTAlert will place the contact into your station log automatically.
Using JTAlert, WSJT-X and Log4OM – Some Installation Tips
The first tip is about sharing radio control. If you are using a typical setup, both your logging program and WSJT-X will want access to your radio for reading and changing frequencies. My Log4OM logger and WSJT-X weak signal software both want access to OmniRig for radio control. This is only possible if you “Run As Administrator” for both programs. The easiest way to do this is to go to the properties of each program executable file and mark it “Run As Administrator”. After that both programs can use OmniRig at the same time.
The second tip is about configuring Log4OM for interoperability with JTAlert. Log4OM has a communications module that needs to run in Administrator mode, also. Once you set this up, Log4OM and JTAlert work together using an XML channel.
JTAlert has a neat feature. You can use it to start and stop WSJT-X automatically. So, all I need to do is click on the JTAlert icon and both programs run together and connect with Log4OM. Pretty seamless.
One cautionary note. Windows 10 Defender suddenly decided that JTAlert-X was a virus and deleted it. When I tried to reinstall, same problem with the installer. I had to tell Windows 10 Defender to exclude this file manually. Hopefully this is a temporary problem.