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SliceMaster and WSJTx for FT8 and other modes

How to get FT8 up and running on your Flex 6000 series radios with WSJTx and SliceMaster. DX Clusters spots as well for SmartSDR and Maestro.

Video Transcript

This video’s full transcript has been provided below for your convenience.

Good day, it’s Mike from Flex Radio, and we’re going to quickly go over how you get spots on SmartSDR or your Maestro, and the quick configuration of WSJT using SliceMaster, rather than the little more convoluted one on the video I showed about a month or two ago. After you get SliceMaster installed, and it installs like any other program, this is the icon you’re looking for if it’s buried on your desktop somewhere. We want to start it and up comes SliceMaster. In the right hand side of your screen, you’ll see a couple of popups that say now connected to the radio. I’m using a 6300 in this case, so we have only A slice and B slice. This is where we want to go first, WSJT.

We want to launch it, let’s say by mode. And by mode means any time that mode on that slice is switched into digital mode, which of course is usually DIGIU. And we’re going to say the same thing on the B slice, and we’re going to do that because we want to be able to run two copies of WSJT at the same time. We’re going to say by mode. And notice this is key, settings for A Dax one, settings for B Dax two. That’s what I recommend. You can change them but it needs to be unique. So again, because it’s a 6300, we only have Dax one and Dax two, and we do need to make sure that the Dax is running. This is a slightly different Dax panel. You’re going to see it shortly once we release the next version, but you’ll see RX streams, et cetera. So slide that out of the way. And we bring this back into play. This looks familiar. I’m going to kill that. And for the moment we’re looking at just SmartSDR.

Where do we set Dax for, this is slice A, Dax, and we want to select channel one key thing. Got to have that, or it will not work. All right, we’re done pretty much with slice master. Although I should show you one thing I forgot to mention. If you want to receive spots from a packet cluster, the three dots here, look down to here. We want spots, send spots to radio. Enable overlays is pretty cool, but we don’t want that right now. And don’t worry about N1MM unless you’re actually using it. You can tell that to vsevencc.net. In my case, this checkbox is for my local packet cluster here, or whatever. You want to modify this, the format is in the yellow popup. The other thing that’s very interesting here. If you hold your mouse over the banner at the bottom, you’ll see a bunch of messages that are log messages that may help you debug a problem.

All right. So we’ll get rid of, not get rid of SliceMaster. We just don’t need it anymore. We’ll put it out of the way. Don’t close it. We’re going to change our mode to Digi U and you’ll see things start to spin and, give it a second, and that’s it. We are on six meters. We just want to adjust because I was off frequency. So three 313 and that’s it. We’re on WSJT and FT8 and one slice. Okay. So that’s slick, but it’s meteor scatter season. Of course, this is last week from the time I’m recording this. So let’s start another pan adapter so that we’ve got two, and it’s also 1313, but we’re going to go to MSK144.

So MSK144 is the frequency we use for media scatter. So this is B slice. Remember we said B and Dax two. Those has to be two and same flag or not flag, same slice B. All right. Let’s change this over to Digi U, because it’s the mode we want it to be in, and we’ll see that spins and we’re going to pop up. And this is the second slice and we’ll wait for it to finish logging into the radio. And I’m going to change my mode to MSK 144, and I’m going to change my operating frequency to 260. So now we’ll just get the other copy of Dax one up here. We now have two copies of WSJTX running, different modes, different slices. And you can see this. One’s the Dax one, and this one over here is the Dax two. You’re done.

[5:00]

Okay. Let’s do a little bit it of advanced stuff. We’ll go back to SmartSDR here. Let’s take this second slice down here or the first one, it doesn’t matter. And we’re going to flip to 40 meters.

This is a 6300. So I only have one spectral capture unit. So it’s going to really take us off six meters antenna and we’re going to switch over to the 40 meter antenna. So we flip over here to 40 and we’ll just drag this over a bit. My waterfall speed has turned pretty slow. So we’ll drag this down so we can see a bit more, and we’re going to transmit on antenna one. So what we’ve done is we’ve flipped to 40 meters. We’re in digital U and look what we have. We have actually two copies of WSJT running. One of them is still on six meters. Now we’re sharing a common antenna, so it’s not the right antenna and there’s no six meter activity, so let’s just get rid of that. But we’ll see the 40 winter one is on Dax one, like we were saying, and look at all the spots pop up.

But the nice thing is I’m going to just drag this out of the way for a minute and show you, and we’ll close that slice because we don’t need it. But look at all the 40 meter spots. So we can do a few things here. We’ll bring this over here so you can see it. And then you’ve got some spots adjustments. We can see how many levels. So seven levels is what I have, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. You’re going to have less, like that, and we’ll slide it up to six or seven. If you’ve got less, it’s a real estate. You can decide if you want them buried down here in the mud or up here, a little higher. You can change your font size. What’s really cool too, is you hover your mouse over it. You’ll get some detail. What’s really nice about what SliceMaster does is it reads the older text file that WSJT is using, and then it actually overlays it in the waterfall.

The ones that show up in the packet cluster are not in the right position, they’re just in the carrier frequency. And actually, we’re not even in the right frequency. So let’s tighten that up a bit. Now we’re back on 7074, and you get the idea. So, it’s 9:30 here in the sort of the East coast. We can see a lot of activity on 40 meter WFT8. We can click the CQ button here in case you weren’t aware, and we just see the stations calling CQ. And that’s how you set up multiple copies of WSJT. Feel free to play around with that.

And the one problem I have seen once in a while, if it doesn’t start, make sure you’ve got the Dax channel enabled. That tends to be an issue at times. And if it doesn’t start and you want to start kickstart it, flip this from never and then back to by mode and it usually restarts quite well. Thanks guys. I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick overview of SliceMaster and how it plugs in with a SmartSDR. Oh, I didn’t mention, if this was a Maestro, you’d still do the same thing except using SmartSDR. We would be using the Maestro as interface and yes, the spot still appear in the Maestro. It’s quite cool. Take care and good DX everybody, VH3MW.

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