JS8Call

“The idea with JS8Call is to take the robustness of FT8 mode and layer on a messaging and network protocol for weak signal communication on HF with a keyboard-to-keyboard interface. JS8Call is heavily inspired by WSJT-X, Fldigi, and FSQCall and would not exist without the hard work and dedication of the many developers in the amateur radio community.”

Guides and tutorials

We’ve put together some quick guides and tutorials on JS8Call operating and best practice. Can’t see what you need? contact us and we will do our best to help!

Quick reference guides for JS8Call

How do I call CQ?

Just click on the CQ button. JS8Call will put a CQ message in the message pane, you can type in more text if you want. (NOTE You don’t need to enter your callsign, JS8Call will do that for you before the message is sent).

JS8Call will start sending your CQ for you, unless you have disabled this option. In that case click the send button to send the message

You can configure what you want in your CQ message on the first page of JS8Call’s settings

How do I reply to a CQ Call?
There are a few options here, in this section we will cover the “REPLY” one found in the menu.

So you’ve spotted a station calling CQ and want to reply? Great, communicating is what JS8Call is all about! Right Click on the callsign either on the Activity pane, or the heard stations pane which will select the callsign (the row will turn blue) then select the “Directed to <CALLSIGN>” option (where <CALLSIGN> will be replaced by whatever one you picked).

Now click the “REPLY” menu option, what happens next is that JS8Call Will look in your settings and get the text you put in the Reply Message text box, this is HW CPY? by default but you can change it to anything you want. Remember, you don’t need to enter your callsign – JS8Call will add this for you. If you want to add some more to the reply go ahead and enter it now, once you are done hit the send button.

Thats it, your message is on the way!

 

What is the AUTO button for?
JS8Call allows users to send commands to other stations, for example if you want to get a signal report from a station in your hear list you would right click on that station, select the Directed to <CALLSIGN> menu option, then select “? – What is my signal report?” and JS8Call will sent the signal report query to the station eg

M0IAX: OH8STN?

if OH8STN has auto enabled his FT8Call will send back the signal report

OH8STN: M0IAX SNR +04

So if you want to respond to commands from other stations then enable AUTO, or disable it to prevent your station replying.

Whats is the HB button for?

There is an automated heartbeat mechanism that transmits on an interval once turned on (HB button on the top right). This interval can be changed in the settings. There’s no protection against the heartbeat from transmitting over a message you’re receiving, so you’ll have to keep an eye on it. All heartbeats are transmitted on a random (unused) frequency offset between 500Hz-1000Hz to help prevent QRM.

The intent of heartbeat is not to report on propagation…it’s to help populate your call activity (the heard list on the right) so you know who’s likely to be reachable so you can try to make contact. You can’t work them if you can’t “hear” them (or if they cannot hear you).

When you have HB enabled (and AUTO replies enabled) and you first receive a HB from a station, your station will try to send a HEARTBEAT ACK reply to signal to the other operator that you can hear them. If they receive your response, an indicator will be displayed next to your callsign in their heard list. This helps you find, at a glance, other operators that are confirmed to be able to hear you.

Also, keep in mind that unattended transmissions may be against the rules of your jurisdiction. To be most safe, heartbeat should only be sent while you’re at the control point of your station. There’s a required idle timer (that you can configure in the settings) that will disabled your heartbeat once you leave your station idle.

 

Whats that "lightning bolt" ⌁ at the end of the message?

This is a special character, its called an ala . It is a symbol to indicate the End of Transmission, the last frame of the message has been transmitted with nothing else to follow. This means you get a visual indicator that the transmission is done and you can begin transmitting a reply.

 

What are Directed Messages?
There are special directed messages that you can send to stations to have them automatically reply if they have AUTO enabled. They are comprised in the form of [CALLSIGN][COMMAND].

eg

M0IAX? – request signal report from M0IAX

KN4CRD$ – request KN4CRD to tell you what stations he can hear (replies with the top 4 ranked by SNR)

OH8SHN>73 THANKS FOR THE QSO – displays the message in a message box in OH8STN’s FT8Call window

 

Available commands:

 

  • ? – What is my SNR?
  • @ – What is your QTH (station location)?
  • & – What is your QTC (station message)?
  • $ – What stations are you hearing? (Will transmit the top 4 ranked by SNR)
  • QSO [CALLSIGN]? – Can you communicate directly with CALLSIGN?
  • >message – Please (optionally) relay this message and display it in a reply dialog.
  • #message – Please ACK if you receive this message in its entirety
  • AGN? – Have the station automatically retransmit their last message
  • QTC – Send station message
  • QTH – Send location message
  • GRID – Send a long-form grid locator (to be spotted on a map via PSKReporter & APRS-IS)
  • QSL? – Did you receive my last transmission?
  • QSL – I received your last transmission
  • YES – I confirm your last inquiry
  • NO – I negative confirm your last inquiry
  • HW CPY? – How do you copy?
  • RR – Roger. Received. I copy.
  • FB – Fine Business
  • QRZ? – Who is calling me?
  • 73 – I send my Best Regards / End of Contact

You can also type any of these commands into the message box directly once you know them.

What is ALLCALL for?
ALLCALL allows you to send one of the directed messages to anyone listening. If they have AUTO enabled their station will automatically act on the command you sent.

For example, lets say you’ve been listening for a while and you are waiting to chat to your buddy but his callsign hasn’t appeared in your heard list. Here you can right click on ALLCALL select Directed to ALLCALL->BEACON REQ [CALLSIGN]?.

once selected the text will be put in the message pane, now just replace the highlighted text ([CALLSIGN]) with your buddy’s callsign

eg

ALLCALL BEACON REQ KN4CRD?

Now click send

Once the message has sent, if you are being heard and stations have AUTO enabled stations who have KN4CRD in their heard list will reply to you, you could then send a relay message through any one of them!

Some options in the menu are disabled as they are not relevant to ALLCALL, so try right clicking on one of those stations that sent you a reply and send them a message or use the relay to send to your buddy.

Can I change the order of the Stations in my JS8Call heard list?

In the main menu bar select “Window”, then select “Sort Call Activity By” and finally click the option required.

How do I send a message that will show in a pop up window?
One of the types of Directed Messages in JS8Call will show in a dialog box on the receiving station, from which they can send you an ACK if they so wish. SO if you want to get a station’s attention then here’s how:

Right click on the station’s callsign, select the menu option “Directed to <callsign>” then select the option “>[MESSAGE] …”, and enter the test of the message in the composition pane. Send the message and if the selected station receives it, it will show in a pop up message box. eg

OH8STN>GOOD EVENING!

How do I send a relay message?
One of the types of Directed Messages in JS8Call is a relay message, this  allows you to send a message to a station that cannot hear you via another station (or stations) who they can hear, here’s how its done.

Right click on the station’s callsign, select the menu option “Directed to <callsign>” then select the option “>[MESSAGE] …”, This will populate the message composition pane with their callsign and [MESSAGE]. Now replace [MESSAGE] with the callsign of the station you want to relay to followed by another “>” and then the messsage eg.

OE2RXN>OH8STN>THIS IS A RELAY MESSAGE

and click send, once the first station has received the message it will then be relayed to the next station (and so on if you add more than one)

Can I automatically send my Logged QSO to my logging software?

The answer is Yes. BUT only if your logging software supports reading a UDP Port ADIF broadcast.

In this example we set up Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) version 6.4.0893 to receive the JS8Call log entry, We also had HRD set up to forward new log entries to a  qrz.com log.

First we need to ensure that the UDP Port is ready. In the JS8Call settings/Reporting Tab make sure that the “Enable logged contact ADIF broadcast” is enabled by clicking the check box. Make a note of the “N1MM Server Port”. the default value is 2333.

next we need to open HRD Log and update its settings.

In the HRD Log go to the tools menu, then “Configure” and select “QSO Forwarding”

In the QSO Forwarding settings in the “UDP Receive” section we need to place a tick in the box next to “Receive QSO Notifications using UDP from other applications”, then we enter the port number we made a note of in the JS8Call settings (2333) into the :Receive Port” box, then select your log database in the “Target Database” and in “My station fields should be” select “Merged” (you can try other settings, but this is what we set).

Once that’s done, the next time you log a QSO in JS8Call it will be added to your HRD Log database (you can set HRD up to forward to online logs if you wish – Currently we have only seen qrz.com logs accept the JS8 mode)

Installation Guides

 

How do I install JS8Call on my Mac?
Firstly download the installation package from the download link.

Once downloaded open a finder window and go to where the file was downloaded to (Usually “Downloads”)

Double Click on this file and it will open the terms and conditions. Click Agree to continue

This will open a finder view of the installation package

If you have not installed JS8Call or WSJT-X before you will need configure some shared memory, if you have installed and successfully run either application you can skip this step. (Please read the ReadMe.txt file for ,more info – this is just a quick start guide)

First Drag the file named sysctl.conf from the installation package window to your Mac Desktop

Next you will need to open a terminal window and enter some commands

To do this, open Launchpad and in the find box type terminal and press enter.

 

now you need to enter the commands that are in the ReadMe file. Enter them exactly or it won’t work correctly.

sudo cp $HOME/Desktop/sysctl.conf /etc/

sudo chmod 664 /etc/sysctl.conf

sudo chown root:wheel /etc/sysctl.conf

Now you need to restart your Mac for the changes to take effect.

Once you have restarted then open a terminal window and enter

sysctl -a | grep sysv.shm

shmmax 14680064, if not then please refer to the ReadMe.

Now all that’s left to do is to Open the insallation package again and drag the JS8Call icon to your Applications folder

This will copy the app to your Mac and you will be able to find it in your Applications Directory in finder.

 

Video Tutorials

How To send you location to the APRS Network
One of the great new features of JS8Call is the ability to send messages to the APRS network. For most messages you need to know the correct way to format the message, sending your position is built into JS8Call and is very easy to do, Julian shows us how in this tutorial video on the official JS8Call youtube channel.

Beacon FAQ & How To

How to Download the JS8Call software

Simple, just click the button to go to the downloads page!