MØFOX UK Ham Radio

MØFOX Amateur Radio Website Paul Leicester

Amateur radio (also called ham radio) is the use of designated radio frequency spectra for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication. The term “amateur” is used to specify persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without direct monetary or other similar reward, and to differentiate it from commercial broadcasting, public safety (such as police and fire), or professional two-way radio services (such as maritime, aviation, taxis, etc.).

The amateur radio service (amateur service and amateur satellite service) is established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) through the International Telecommunication Regulations. National governments regulate technical and operational characteristics of transmissions and issue individual stations licenses with an identifying call sign. Prospective amateur operators are tested for their understanding of key concepts in electronics and the host government’s radio regulations. Radio amateurs use a variety of voice, text, image, and data communications modes and have access to frequency allocations throughout the RF spectrum to enable communication across a city, region, country, continent, the world, or even into space.

Amateur radio is officially represented and coordinated by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), which is organized in three regions and has as its members the national amateur radio societies which exist in most countries. According to an estimate made in 2011 by the American Radio Relay League, two million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio.[1] About 830,000 amateur radio stations are located in IARU Region 2 (the Americas) followed by IARU Region 3 (South and East Asia and the Pacific Ocean) with about 750,000 stations. A significantly smaller number, about 400,000, are located in IARU Region 1 (Europe, Middle East, CIS, Africa).

MØFOX  DMR Digital Mobile Radio Forum

M0FOX UK Ham Radio

Paul Leicester | MØFOX | Chesterfield UK | IO93HE | Yaesu FTDX1200

FlexRadio Systems FLEX-6400

FLEX-6400  A Real SDR for Every Operator

Both the FLEX-6400™ and FLEX-6400M™ offer the latest direct sampling SDR technology at an economical price for the general HF/6m operator yet they offer excellent performance for chasing DX and contesting. The FLEX-6400 model is designed for the Ham who wants to operate the radio exclusively as a server from PC, laptop, Maestro, Mac, or iOS clients – whether local or remote. Both models share the same game changing band awareness, industry leading phase noise performance, brick wall filters, and legendary audio performance to deliver you the most fun across a wide variety of operating styles.

With a PC, laptop, or Mac client you can utilize up to two 7 MHz spectrum/waterfall displays and independent receivers to revolutionize your view of the bands. Its two receivers can be placed simultaneously on any band and mode with instant QSY between VFOs. Digital mode operation is a dream with no sound cards, cables or boxes needed.

The FLEX-6400M places the most used controls right at your fingertips. Controls are labeled for intuitive operation and designed to minimize hand motion for the most common operations. Occasionally used controls are easily accessible on the large touch screen display bypassing the complexity of multi-function buttons and multi-level menus found on other transceivers. Like modern smartphones and tablets, capacitive touch control is provided on the large LCD display for intuitive pan, zoom, tune, and menu operation.

FLEX-6400 Feature Highlights

  • Native Remote Operation: Using Maestro, PC, Laptop, iPad or iPhone
  • SDR Architecture: Direct Sampling
  • Reciprocal Mixing Dynamic Range (RMDR): 116dB
  • Independent High Performance Receivers: Two (2)
  • Maximum Panadapter Bandwidth: 7 MHz
  • Radio Control Surfaces: Ergonomic tactile controls with touch screen interface
  • Integrated Display: 8-inch 1920×1200 IPS Display
  • External Display: 1920×1200 WUXGA via HDMI interface
  • Antenna Connectors: SO-239×2, BNC XVTRx1, BNC RX-INx1
  • Wideband Frequency Coverage: 30 kHz – 54 MHz
  • Transmit Frequency Coverage: 160-6m amateur bands, 100W nominal output
  • Transverter IF Frequency Coverage: 100 kHz – 54 MHz
  • Full Duplex Operation: Yes
  • Digital Audio Exchange (DAX) Channels: Two (2)
  • DAX IQ Channels/Bandwidth per Channel (DAXIQ): Two (2)
Paul Leicester | MØFOX | Chesterfield UK | IO93HE | Yaesu FTDX1200

FT-8 New digital mode 8-FSK modulation

It’s still in beta testing, but FT8 — the latest digital bauble to capture the imagination of the Amateur Radio community — has been luring away many of those already using the popular JT65 “weak-signal” mode. FT8 is included in a beta release of WSJT-X, version 1.8.0-rc1. Among its biggest advantages is a shorter transmit-receive cycle, meaning quicker contacts. The notes for the “candidate” release say that FT8 offers “sensitivity down to –20 dB on the AWGN channel.” Contacts are four times faster than with JT65 or JT9, and an entire FT8 contact can take place in about 1 minute.

The new mode is named after its developers, Steven Franke, K9AN, and Joe Taylor, K1JT. The numeral designates the mode’s 8-frequency shift keying format. Tones are spaced at 6.25 Hz, and an FT8 signal occupies just 50 Hz. Unlike JT65 or JT9, transmit and receive cycles in FT8 each last about 15 seconds. Like JT65, FT8 requires accurate time synchronization. An auto-sequencing feature offers the option to respond automatically to the first decoded reply to your CQ.

“FT8 is an excellent mode for HF DXing and for situations like multi-hop Es on 6 meters, where deep QSB may make fast and reliable completion of QSOs desirable,” Taylor’s release notes assert.

The beta release came out just days before the July CQ VHF Contest and proved to be a boon to many operators who took advantage of FT8 on 6 meters. In a limited outing for the CQ VHF, Frank Donovan, W3LPL, made 22 FT8 contacts on 6 meters, “during which the FT8 software reported SNRs from my receiver below –10 dB (measured in a 2,500-Hz bandwidth). Some of the 22 QSOs may have been difficult to complete on CW.”

Enthusiasts will have to wait a little longer for Logbook of The World (LoTW) to accept FT8 contacts as FT8 contacts. Because FT8 is still in beta, it has not yet been added to the ADIF tables. Configuring TQSL to automatically map FT8 contacts to “DATA” will enable users to upload FT8 contacts now, and confirmations will be valid for DXCC Digital, VUCC, WAS Digital, and WPX Digital awards. A new TQSL configuration will be released once the new mode has been accepted to ADIF, which could happen within a week.

Important characteristics of FT8:

– T/R sequence length: 15 s
– Message length: 75 bits + 12-bit CRC
– FEC code: LDPC(174,87)
– Modulation: 8-FSK, keying rate = tone spacing = 5.86 Hz
– Waveform: Continuous phase, constant envelope
– Occupied bandwidth: 47 Hz
– Synchronization: three 7×7 Costas arrays (start, middle, end of Tx)
– Transmission duration: 79*2048/12000 = 13.48 s
– Decoding threshold: -20 dB (perhaps -24 dB with AP decoding, TBD)
– Operational behavior: similar to HF usage of JT9, JT65
– Multi-decoder: finds and decodes all FT8 signals in passband
– Auto-sequencing after manual start of QSO

*Comparison with slow modes JT9, JT65, QRA64:* FT8 is a few dB less
sensitive but allows completion of QSOs four times faster. Bandwidth is
greater than JT9, but about 1/4 of JT65A and less than 1/2 QRA64.

*Comparison with fast modes JT9E-H:* FT8 is significantly more
sensitive, has much smaller bandwidth, uses the vertical waterfall, and
offers multi-decoding over the full displayed passband.

*Still to come, not yet implemented:* We plan to implement signal
subtraction, two-pass decoding, and use of “a priori” (already known)
information as it accumulates during a QSO.

Three extra bits are available in the message payload, with uses yet to
be defined. We have in mind special message formats that might be used
in contests, and the like. Your considered suggestions for use of these
bits are very welcome!

K1JT, K9AN, and G4WJS have conducted on-the-air tests of FT8 with
excellent results. We’re now at a stage where tests under a wider range
of conditions are desirable. If you can build WSJT-X from source code
revision r7750 or later, and would like to help, please do so and report
your results to us! Pre-built installation packages will be made
available after further testing is completed.

FT-8 New digital mode 8-FSK modulation

Paul Leicester | MØFOX | Chesterfield UK | IO93HE | Yaesu FTDX1200


R820T2 RTL-SDRs on Amazon.com (currently for US customers only sorry!) and are currently running a $2 off promotional sale which will expire January 31, or until the first batch of stock runs out. Compared to the other choices our RTL-SDR Blog branded units come with several improvements which we list below.

  • Use of the R820T2 tuner which has been shown to have slightly better noise performance and give better SNR compared to the standard R820T chip.
  • Use of improved component tolerances which help the circuit to operate at its optimum.
  • Use of a surface mount 28.8 MHz oscillator instead of the “can” type. We believe this will reduce the PPM offsets to below 30 in most dongles, but note we can not guarantee this.
  • Improved “full braid” coax cable on the antenna base which has significantly lower loss compared to the coax used on other brand RTL-SDR stock antennas.
  • Comes with 2 x telescopic antennas. 1 x 9.5 cm to 31.5 cm telescopic antenna and 1 x 20 cm to 1.5 m telescopic antenna. Great for beginners to receive a wider range of frequencies without buying extra antennas.
  • No IR LED. The IR LED is useless for SDR operation and the long legs on the LED may pick up interference.
Paul Leicester | MØFOX | Chesterfield UK | IO93HE | Yaesu FTDX1200