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jul 24

WSJT-X Version 1.8.0-rc1 – New FT-8 DigiMode – Ham Radio for the Fast & Furious

WSJT-X Version 1.8.0 includes a new mode called FT8,

developed by K9AN and K1JT

 

Brief Description of the FT8 Protocol
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WSJT-X Version 1.8.0 includes a new mode called FT8, developed by K9AN
and K1JT. The mode name “FT8” stands for “Franke and Taylor, 8-FSK
modulation”. FT8 uses 15-second T/R sequences, provides 50% or
better decoding probability down to -20 dB on an AWGN channel, and
maintains good performance on Doppler-spread fading channels. An
auto-sequencing facility includes an option to respond automatically
to the first decoded reply to your CQ. FT8 QSOs are 4 times faster
than those made with JT65 or JT9. FT8 is an excellent mode for HF
DXing and for situations like multi-hop E_s on 6 meters, where deep
QSB may make fast and reliable completion of QSOs desirable.

Some 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, tone spacing 6.25 Hz
– Constant-envelope waveform
– Occupied bandwidth: 50 Hz
– Synchronization: 7×7 Costas arrays at start, middle, and end
– Transmission duration: 79*1920/12000 = 12.64 s
– Decoding threshold: -20 dB; several dB lower with AP decoding
– Multi-decoder finds and decodes all FT8 signals in passband
– Optional auto-sequencing and auto-reply to a CQ response
– Operational behavior similar to JT9, JT65

We plan to implement signal subtraction, two-pass decoding, and use of
a priori (AP) information in the decoder. These features are not yet
activated in v1.8.0.

We haven’t yet finalized what the three extra bits in the message
payload will be used for. Suggestions are welcome!

 Joe, K1JT, for the WSJT Development Team

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