JT44 DX OPERATING PROCEDURES
BY HAL LUND ZS6WB
The WSJT JT44 digital mode is a wonderful tool for DXing and test conducted
recently have me convinced that I am now able to weak stations consistantly
now that were previously only heard under strong opening conditions. This means
that stations with smaller antennas and lower power will be working more DX
once activity grows to higher levels. One of the major drawbacks to JT44 is
that the received message is only decoded once you start transmitting so you
are always one period behind in your response. This adds considerably to the
time required to complete a contact. In an effort to reduce QSO time we have
looked at a number of alternative operating procedures and feel that this procedure
will be the most efficient, especially under conditions where several stations
might be calling a DX station at the same time.
INITIAL DX STATION PROCEDURES
A DX station looking for contacts should enter CQ in the TO RADIO: block so when he depresses GENERATE STD TEXTS Line one will show CQ plus his call and grid (example CQ ZS6WB KG44).
When he copies a station calling he will enter that callsign in the TO RADIO: block and reselects GENERATE STD TEXTS.
CALLING STATION INITIAL PROCEDURES
A station hearing the DX station calling CQ and wanting to respond has already received both the DX stations callsign and grid so on his INITIAL CALL he should use LINE 2 (example ZS6WB GW3ABC IO71 RRRR)
CONCLUDING THE CONTACT AND MOVING ON
The DX station on his initial response to the calling station will use a modified Line 2 with 73 indicating that he has received the callsign and grid of the calling station as well as his Rogers (example GW3ABC ZS6WB TU 737373).
When 73 is copied by the calling station he then responds with a modified Line 2 which includes 73 (example ZS6WB GW3ABC IO71 7373).
When the DX station has copied the 73 from calling station he will then either go back to CQ or to QRZ (examples CQ ZS6WB KG44 or QRZ ZS6WB KG44).
CQ is used if the DX station heard no other stations calling when the contact was established and is inviting a call from any other station.
QRZ is used if the DX station is aware that one or more additional stations were also calling when contact was established and he is inviting ONLY THOSE STATIONS THAT HAD ALREADY CALLED TO CALL AGAIN. DO NOT MAKE AN INITIAL CALL IN RESPONSE TO "QRZ".
As activity grows it may be necessary to use split operation and if you see CQ U5-10 you will know that the DX station is using split operation. If split is used always transmit on a frequency that is an exact kHz in the range designated.
REPEAT CONTACTS & REPORTS
Because of the length of time involved in making each contact and the number of new stations coming on JT44 for the first time please do not make repeat contacts. If you have worked a station and are in an area where propagation is uncommon (example ZS to GM, OH etc) a brief report will be appreciated. This can be done by transmitting a single period with your callsign, grid and signal report (example OH5KTL KP02 GE -17 73). This lets the DX station know that the band is open to a particular area so he can continue looking for additional contacts.
These procedures have been tested and have been found to cut the time of QSOs considerably. I would suggest that for DX work they be adopted by all.
Please do not use Lines 3 & 4 for DX work (RRRRRR & 73737373) Every transmission from you during the QSO should have both your callsign and the callsign of the DX station in it. In this way there will be no confusion about whos is sending the Rogers or 73s.
Please watch for ZS6WB (50.250) and other ZS stations on JT44 this season. ZS stations will generally always be transmitting SECOND PERIOD on JT44.
With more stations using it, JT44 can add greatly to your country and grid scores. Give it a try. The software is easy to use and you will be amazed at the results .
COMMENTS? Please email Hal ZS6WB at email@example.com
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