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                      JTDX-Helper for JTDX v2.2.0

The JTDX-Helper program was developed as macro extension for the JTDX using the Quick-Macros program. The Helper interprets the received messages of JTDX and acts according to the own pre-programmed QSO strategy. The delivered EXE file contains the licence for Quick-Macros.

The JTDX-Helper controls JTDX via virtual mouse and keyboard commands. When the JTDX-Helper is running, you should not use your computer for other applications, as the mouse focus will be caught by JTDX-Helper every  7,5 or 15 sec respectively, depending on FT4 or FT8.

The features in v.2.0:
- The configuration file "config.txt" contains all information required for JTDX-Helper.
- No location specific "ownloc.txt" required. The DX distance will be evaluated based on the grids locations.
- Enhanced S/P calling strategies allow specifying "wanted" DXCCs, grids, prefixes or specific callsigns
- No need to restart the JTDX-Helper after changing the configuration file.
- Band-Hopping allows more than one entries for a band, so FT4 and FT8 cycles can be specified.
                    
                               

 

 

The human interface:

Own call
/ grid: 
Your callsign and grid location, they should be entered once into the config.txt file.

Edit config:
Opens the configuration file "config.txt" with the built in Windows Notepad. After saving the configuration, the settingswill be activated at the next start of RUN,  S/P or Band-Hopping cycle. No restart of the program is necessary.

Auto Frq:
If “Auto-Frq” is checked in RUN mode, the Helper starts to find a free frequency for transmission. The transmitting frequencies of all received stations are logged. From this data the JTDX-Helper calculates the most usable free frequency between 500 and 2800 Hz. A channel is indicated as "free" if no message were received on the given frequency during the last four sequences.  For transceiver with narrow IF-filter the upper frequency can be limited using the MAX-AF command line in config.txt.
"Auto-Frq" works only in RUN-mode. When RUN is active during "Band-Hopping", "Auto-Frq" is activated automatically and JTDX is forced to "TX/RX-split".
Please note that only valid FT8 or FT4 signals can be regarded when searching a free frequency. On this reason it can happen that the frequency is set to a non-FT8/FT4 signal, e.g. noise, RTTY, MFSK or any other signal.

Free channels / Use:
If "Auto-Frq" is selected in RUN-mode, it shows the number of free channels and the selected frequency


Start „Run Mode":
In „Run-mode“ JTDX-Helper calls CQs continuously. Successfully completed QSOs will be logged automatically. After completing or aborting a QSO due to timeout, it restarts calling CQ again. The Helper manages its own timeouts and repetition limits. If no answer, or not the expected answer is received after the third attempt, the QSO will be indicated as "broken". If no call received after the predfinable MAX-CQ value (see config.txt), the Helper goes into a short “sleep cycle”. After expiring the sleep time it starts calling CQ again.
- No sleep phase is inserted if "RUN<->SP" or "Band-Hopping" is active.
- Incoming calls are accepted during the whole RUN-cycle, also during the sleep time.
- If the "Auto-Seq" strategy "Prefer-Wanted" is selected, "Wanted" stations calling CQ are called if nobody answers to our CQ. "Wanted stations can be specified in "config.txt" by prefix, DXCC or grid-location. High priority statios e.g. "New-DXCC" or higher are considered always as "Wanted".


Start „S/P Mode“:
In „Search and Pounce“ 
mode the Helper selects one station from the stations calling CQ . QSOs will be executed, successful closed QSOs will be logged automatically. QSOs will be broken if the called station returns to another station or does not answer, or answers with an unexpected message three times. Stations with broken QSOs are postponed for approx. 7 minutes to allow making QSOs with other stations.
The JTDX-Helper selects the CQ calling station according the selected "Auto-Seq" strategy and the priority settings in the "Notification" page of the JTDX parameter settings. The lowest priority is "New Call on Band/Mode" the highest is "New CQZ". 

Auto-Seq Strategies:
JTDX-Helper provides several S/P strategies

Best-S/N:

The highest priority messages are called first. If more than one messages are received with the same priority, the message with the better S/N ratio will be called first.

DX-only:
When
selecting “DX-Only”, only DX stations will be called. A stations are considred as "DX", if the calculateed distance between the own grid location and  the grid of the CQ callingd station increases the specified "DX-KM" or "DX-MILES" value. (see "config.txt").
The Helper will not call stations calling CQ DX if the "DX" criteria is not fulfilled. Also no directional CQs will be called if the CQ-extension is not matching to one of the "OWN-AREA" in "config.txt".

Prefer-DX:
As with "DX-only", but if there are no DX-stations, non-dx stations are called according to the "Best-S/N" rules.

Most-distance:
Stations with the largest distance (based on the distance of the grid locations) are called first.

Prefer-wanted:
Stations matching to one of the specified "WANTED" entries in "config.txt" are called with higher priority. In RUN-mode, CQ-calling stations, matching to one of the "WANTED" criteria are called if nobody answers to our CQ call.
In both cases stations with priority "New DXCC" or higher will treaded as "wanted".

Only-wanted:
If this option selected in S/P mode, only stations are called matching to one of the specified "WANTED" entries in "config.txt".  Stations with priority "New DXCC" or higher will considered always as "wanted".

Wanted-73=CQ:
When selecting this strategy, stations matching to one of the "Wanted" entries are called if they send CQ, 73 or RR73.  This setting forces JTDX to activate "TX/RX Split". Do not deselect this setting to avoid calling stations on the QRG of their QSO-partner. This strategy setting requires operator interaction and cannot be selected for Band-Hopping.

Halt (Stop): 
Stops RUN, S/P and "Band-Hopping" activities.
It is not possible to switch direct between the modes. You should always press Halt first. Stopping is a "hard" stop, QSOs will not be completed.


Automatic switch between RUN and S/P: 
 <-- X-->
When starting RUN or S/P with this feature checked, the selected mode ends after the predifined unsuccessful QSO attempts and changes to the other mode.  Running QSOs will be completed before switching. The maximum attempts can be specified in "config.txt". MAX-S/P is for S/P-mode, MAX-RUN is for RUN-mode.
A QSO is unsuccessful if it was broken due to timout or missing answer. The current and maximum number of attempts are showed in the box below "<-o.>".
This mode can be selected for "Band-Hopping" with the command "XCHG".

Mode button:
Switches between FT8 and FT4. It forces switching JTDX in the required FT-mode. In contrast, if the mode is changed in JTDX, JTDX-Helper does not change the mode. When starting RUN, S/P or "Band-Hopping", the Helper checks whether the modes are consistent. If not, an error message is issued indicating the FT-mode inconsistency.


The entries in config.txt:
- MY-CALL=           ; enter your call-sign
- MY-GRID=           ; enter your four character QRA-grid
- MY-AREA=          ; enter your country and continent separated by "space" e.g DL EU or K NA USA.
- DX-KM=              ; specify the minimum DX distance in Km  The line "DX-MILES" should be removed.
- DX-MILES=          ; specify the minimum DX distance in miles. The line "DX-KM" should be removed.
- MAX-CQ=            ; the maximum number of CQ calls in "RUN"-mode if no XCHG of Band-Hopping not used.
- MAX-RUN=         ; maximum number of QSO attempts in RUN-Mode
- MAX-S/P=           ; maximum number of QSO attempts in S/P-Mode
- LOGGING=         ; Logging level ON, MSG or EXPERT. Log is written into the file "log-<YYYYMMDD.txt"
- MIN-LEVEL         ; in S/P mode stations with lover S/N are ignored (default =-24)
- MAX-AF=            ; Stations above the specified frequency are ignored.
- EXCLUDE-DXCC  ; list of unwanted DXCC countries separated by "space".
- EXCLUDE-CALL   ; list of callsigns should not be worked. "W1A" e.g. would block all calls starting with W1A
- WANTED-GRID   ; list of wanted grid locations separated by "space". Two or four characters grids are allowed
- WANTED-DXCC   ; list of wanted DXCC items separated by "space"
- WANTED-CALL    ; list of callsigns you want call. "W2A" would match to all call-signs starting with "W2A"

Exclude DXCC / Call:
Both exclude lists are active in all the S/P strategy modes,

Band-Hopping:
First, the available bands have to be listed, divided by spaces. Maximum 10 bands can be entered
BANDS=160 80 40 30 20 17 15 12 10 6
- The bands in the band selection menu of JTDX must be in the same order for both FT4 and FT8.
- if you need 60m insert it between 80 and 40m, delete e.g. 6m.
- In all lines two time ranges can be specified, the RUN/SP-mode , the FT-mode and the Auto-Seq strategy.
- In S/P and XCHG mode all Auto-Seq strategy settings, except "Wanted-73=CQ" are allowed.
- In Run-Mode only "Prefer-Wanted" is allowed. It enables to call "wanted" stations when they calling CQ.

- The command syntax:
 <band>:<time-range1>,[<time-range-2>],RUN|S/P|XCHG,[FT4|FT8],[<Auto-Seq strategy>]
- Time-ranges are local computer-times, no UTC!!!

The selectable "Auto-Seq" strategies (case intensive):
- BEST-S/N
- DX-ONLY
- PREFER-DX
- MOST-DISTANCE
- PREFER-WANTED      ; this is the only selection allowed in a RUN-cyclus
- ONLY-WANTED

- The not used bands can be deleted or invalidated by "#" at  the beginning of line.
- "FT8" and "Best-S/N are default, not necessary to specify, however the entries will be accepted.
- The number of "Band-Hopping" lines is not limited, one band can be entered several times, eg. for FT4 and FT8
- Band-Hopping starts with the first line, where the current time matching to the time range.
- If no entry found with active time range, the Band-Hopping box shows "IDLE"

Examples:
40:0-1700,1800-2400,XCHG               starts FT8 mode on 40m with automatic switching between RUN and S/P.
20:0-1700,1800-2400,RUN,FT4          starts FT4 RUN-cycle on 20m in the specified time range.
15:0900-1300, S/P,Most-Distance     starts FT8 S/P cycle on 15m using the "Most-Distance" strategy.

Important Notes:
Configuration entries:
- Basic operation is possible with the first four lines. Default values will be taken for all other entries.
- All lines can be disabled inserting "#" at the beginning of the line.

JTDX offers lots of useful functions for auto-sequencing. I mostly tested it with AutoSeq 1, but 2 and 3 should also work.
This version was tested with JTDX-2.2.0-rc152.  No older versions are supported. Correct function with future versions cannot be guaranteed.

Critical JTDX paramter settigs, could block the JTDX-Helper:
- In "Generall" settings select:
     Blank line between decoding periods
     Tx-messages in RX frequency window
     Show  DXCC names and Show prefix not name
- The "Radio" and " Audio" parameter have to be set up according your station
- Do not enable any checkboxes in the "Sequencing" folder of the parameter menu.
- Enable automatic logging of QSOs
- Set the required frequencies. Only the first 10 can be used for Band-Hopping
- Select the notifications according your preferences. At least "NEW-CALL" should be selected
- Do not select any filter in the "Filters" folder
- Do not use "Dark-Style", the language must be Englisch.
- Do not change the Text size in JTDX.  Windows must bei in 100% Application size

Critical settings in the JTDX Main Window:
- Set the "Decode" parameter according to your computer performance. The "Decode" phase should be completed at the latest 0.5 sec after starting the next cycle.
- AutoSeq:  "1", "2" or "3" should be selected. The JTDX-Helper uses its own sequencing and timeout supervision.
- The "Menu" box shall be checked, the "Spt" box may not be checked.
- "Hound" mode may not be selected. This mode is not supported by the JTDX-Helper
- Select folder "1" in the DX area, so that the messages TX-1 to TX-6 can be selected.
- AnsB4 can be selected if required
- All other buttons are operated by the JTDX-Helper automatically

Do not change the windows geometry. Both the main JTDX session and Wide-Graph is set for the correct size at program start. - Do not move the JTDX windows so that parts of the windows are outside of the desktop.
For correct working of Band-Hopping, set the vertical tiling as showed below. The "up" arrow of the scroll bar must be in alignment of the "e" of "Language".


Correct settings of the Wide-Graph Window:
- Bins/Pixel = 3
- Start 500 Hz
- Do not change the size of the window, keep the full window on the desktop.

Installation and Initial Setup
Download  the JTDX-Helper-exe-file,  copy it into a directory of your selection.
Start JTDX, then the JTDX-Helper. At first start, the callsign and grid fields are empty. Open the configuration file  clicking to the "Edit Config" button. Fill the first four lines according your station and store the changes. Notepad can be closed. At next start of  S/P or RUN,  your callsign and grid will be displayed in the "Own call/grid fields. Now the JTDX-Helper is ready to use.

Download the latest version:  JTDX-Helper-2.0d.exe

See the german language manual:
JTDX-Helper-Manual-DE.pdf

Bug reports to:
dg5lp@darc.de