Hi folks!

Happy to announce 0.8 of JS8Call. This is a backwards incompatible release (which is the primary reason for it being released right when 0.7 expired). So, head over to the Download Page to snag your copy: https://groups.io/g/js8call/wiki/Download-Links to enjoy the new features!

Plenty of big changes included in 0.8, so make sure you check out the documentation: https://docs.google.com/document/d/159S4wqMUVdMA7qBgaSWmU-iDI4C9wd4CuWnetN68O9U/edit?pli=1# Most importantly, there’s a new “Getting started” section in the documentation that is very helpful for knowing the important things you should pay attention to when setting up your station.

So, what’s new in 0.8?

  • First, I fixed a big decode issue, so 0.8 should be much better for decodes where time has drifted between stations. But, because of this and some message format changes, 0.8 is backwards incompatible with 0.7.
  • A few directed commands are a little more verbose so they are easier to remember and easier to read. No more “?” vs “@” vs “&” vs “^” vs “*”. Those still work for now, but the preferred method is the long-form “SNR?” “QTH?” “QTC?” “GRID?” “STATUS?” because they also correspond to the result ala:   KN4CRD: K0OG SNR -05
  • BEACONs are gone. They are called HEARTBEAT now. The functionality is the same, they are just renamed. But, this helps illustrate the intent of them…to signal that your station is alive and on the air.
  • The idle watchdog timer now only applies to HEARTBEAT transmissions, so it should help to encourage folks to heartbeat while they are near the station control point and can make a QSO. Plus, the idle timer function bugs are fixed, so it works correctly and correctly reports whether or not the station is active.
  • There’s a new Group Callsign feature. It allows you to direct a message to a pre-arranged group name. These callsigns start with an “@” symbol and operate similarly to “@ALLCALL” (notice it also has an “@” sign in front). So, say you want to start or join a group. Head to your settings and add the group name to the group callsigns box. Bingo. You can now direct messages to that group and anybody else who has done the same will receive your messages as if it were an @ALLCALL.
    • The time drift for each station is displayed in the band/call activity lists.
    • The “worked before” status is displayed in the call activity list (with a little checkmark next to the callsign).
  • Saved messages now have macro-like functionality where you can replace values in the message. Like:     “TU UR <SNR> into <MYGRID4> HW CPY?” and it’ll automatically put in their SNR and your grid. Awesome.
  • Sadly… I removed the stations heard command. It was never incredibly useful since it takes many many transmissions to respond with a list that is relevant. I’ll be exploring this again in the future with a better approach.
  • Plus a bunch of bug fixes and tweaks to make the program run smoother.

I hope you continue to enjoy JS8. I encourage everybody to keep an open mind, but to also send me useful feedback. I’m happy to help any way that I can.


Jordan / KN4CRD

And of course, full changelog here:

Jordan Sherer (52):
      Disable stations heard command:
      Ripped out decoded.txt and houndcallers.txt junk
      Added menu for decode depth. Removed some WSPR.
      Moved relay responses into the main window
      Simple buffered directed commands should log immediately
      Reduce late start to 25%
      Removed temp txt file
      Expose transmit delay in configuration
      Do not delete band activity or call activity rows that are selected
      Experiment trying to extend compound callsigns
      Added validation message for callsigns
      Working compound extended callsigns with group identifiers
      Compound callsigns and group callsigns parse correctly
      Added autoprepend back in
      Don’t allow compound calls greater than 9 chars
      Added configuration for groups
      Replace GROUPCALL with actual group calls
      Replace ALLCALL with @ALLCALL
      Updated configuration tooltip and validation
      Bump to v0.8.0
      Remove table configuration from context menu
      Added macro like functionality for saved messages
      Idle minutes should always be incremented
      Hashed messages have a 16-bit checksum instead of a 32-bit checksum
      Added SK short message
      Warning message for stupid messages
      Do not allow text overrides for selected calls during parsing
      Macro for CQ, Reply, QTH, QTC messages
      Added default macro for CQ message
      Bump eol
      Rename beacon to heartbean with pings and ping acks
      Heartbeat commands instead
      Fixed idle timer for idle watchdog
      Better interface for idle timer values
      Replaced character queries with textual queries to make it easier to read
      Time drift columns and show column labels
      Tweak decoder for better decodes under poor conditions
      Average time delta computation
      Restructured data frame packing so we can send more over the wire in fewer frames
      Better labeling
      Reduce late start threshold to 2 seconds
      Fixed typo in varicode
      Update threshold and tones. Cleanup bits
      Average time drift labels
      Rig name in title
      15 seconds is not now
      Added worked before status
      Added compatibility parsing for commands
      Update heartbeat to allow on demand only. Add AUTO requirement for ACKs
      Time drift button labeling
0.8 is not backwards compatible