WSJT-X 2.4.0-rc2 REMOVAL of OBSOLETE ISCAT Mode? #ContestMode #ISCAT


Tony Collett
 

I was just about to download this latest Release Candidate and noticed in the release notes that ISCAT is considered obsolete and has been removed.

Dare I ask why?

Agreed it is not used much but it does work extremely well with Aircraft Scatter type QSO's on UHF.
Please correct me if I am wrong but there is not a mode in the WSJT-X arsenal that replaces it for this so how can it be "obsolete"?
If there is a better mode please educate me as to what I should be using.
FT4 and FT8 do not work well with AS and multiple reflections and I do not see how Q65 can fill the gap?

In addition in the UK there are only 3 MGM modes allowed in contests (apart from in dedicated FT4 or FT8 tests).
Two of these have already been removed from WSJT-X ( JT6M and FSK441) leaving ISCAT the only remaining mode available for exchanging the information required in the RSGB rules.

If lack of use dictates a mode as obsolete then surely JT9 and JT65 are in danger especially since Q65 appears to do the same but better.

I'm probably a lone voice but please reconsider and keep this mode available for future use.

Thank you for reading this
Tony G4NBS


Lance Collister, W7GJ
 

Have you tried any of the various Q65 modes and sequences for your aircraft scatter? It has been reported to work quite well on TEP flutter and I suspect something like Q65-30E may even work on aurora...if we ever get any aurora to test it with ;-)  GL and VY 73, Lance

On 3/5/2021 23:34:46, Tony Collett via groups.io wrote:
I was just about to download this latest Release Candidate and noticed in the release notes that ISCAT is considered obsolete and has been removed.

Dare I ask why?

Agreed it is not used much but it does work extremely well with Aircraft Scatter type QSO's on UHF.
Please correct me if I am wrong but there is not a mode in the WSJT-X arsenal that replaces it for this so how can it be "obsolete"?
If there is a better mode please educate me as to what I should be using.
FT4 and FT8 do not work well with AS and multiple reflections and I do not see how Q65 can fill the gap?

In addition in the UK there are only 3 MGM modes allowed in contests (apart from in dedicated FT4 or FT8 tests).
Two of these have already been removed from WSJT-X ( JT6M and FSK441) leaving ISCAT the only remaining mode available for exchanging the information required in the RSGB rules.

If lack of use dictates a mode as obsolete then surely JT9 and JT65 are in danger especially since Q65 appears to do the same but better.

I'm probably a lone voice but please reconsider and keep this mode available for future use.

Thank you for reading this
Tony G4NBS

--
Lance Collister, W7GJ(ex WA3GPL, WA1JXN, WA1JXN/C6A, ZF2OC/ZF8, E51SIX, 3D2LR, 5W0GJ, E6M, TX5K, KH8/W7GJ, V6M, T8GJ, VK9CGJ, VK9XGJ, C21GJ, CP1GJ, S79GJ, TX7MB)
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JP Tucson, AZ <samcat88az@...>
 

Hi Tony,

Nothing prevents users of that ISCAT mode from creating a separate folder (and should anyway) for the new versions of wsjtx. 

I have (or had) about 8 different folders over the past year; each with its own version.  I only recently deleted the various v2.2.2 & its -rc's & the v2.3.0 -rc's.  So I am down to v2.1.2,  & v2.3.0.



73 - John - N7GHZ



On Fri, Mar 5, 2021, 5:07 PM Tony Collett via groups.io <tony.nbs=btinternet.com@groups.io> wrote:
I was just about to download this latest Release Candidate and noticed in the release notes that ISCAT is considered obsolete and has been removed.

Dare I ask why?

Agreed it is not used much but it does work extremely well with Aircraft Scatter type QSO's on UHF.
Please correct me if I am wrong but there is not a mode in the WSJT-X arsenal that replaces it for this so how can it be "obsolete"?
If there is a better mode please educate me as to what I should be using.
FT4 and FT8 do not work well with AS and multiple reflections and I do not see how Q65 can fill the gap?

In addition in the UK there are only 3 MGM modes allowed in contests (apart from in dedicated FT4 or FT8 tests).
Two of these have already been removed from WSJT-X ( JT6M and FSK441) leaving ISCAT the only remaining mode available for exchanging the information required in the RSGB rules.

If lack of use dictates a mode as obsolete then surely JT9 and JT65 are in danger especially since Q65 appears to do the same but better.

I'm probably a lone voice but please reconsider and keep this mode available for future use.

Thank you for reading this
Tony G4NBS



Tom V. Segalstad
 

Hi Tony,

You should still be able to use the ISCAT, JT6M, and FSK441 modes by using the WSJT program (without "-X"), which many of us use in the European contests above 30 MHz ("VHF+").

73 from Tom, LA4LN

Sent from Outlook Mobile


From: main@WSJTX.groups.io <main@WSJTX.groups.io> on behalf of Tony Collett via groups.io <tony.nbs@...>
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 12:34:46 AM
To: main@WSJTX.groups.io <main@WSJTX.groups.io>
Subject: [WSJTX] WSJT-X 2.4.0-rc2 REMOVAL of OBSOLETE ISCAT Mode? #ISCAT #ContestMode
 
I was just about to download this latest Release Candidate and noticed in the release notes that ISCAT is considered obsolete and has been removed.

Dare I ask why?

Agreed it is not used much but it does work extremely well with Aircraft Scatter type QSO's on UHF.
Please correct me if I am wrong but there is not a mode in the WSJT-X arsenal that replaces it for this so how can it be "obsolete"?
If there is a better mode please educate me as to what I should be using.
FT4 and FT8 do not work well with AS and multiple reflections and I do not see how Q65 can fill the gap?

In addition in the UK there are only 3 MGM modes allowed in contests (apart from in dedicated FT4 or FT8 tests).
Two of these have already been removed from WSJT-X ( JT6M and FSK441) leaving ISCAT the only remaining mode available for exchanging the information required in the RSGB rules.

If lack of use dictates a mode as obsolete then surely JT9 and JT65 are in danger especially since Q65 appears to do the same but better.

I'm probably a lone voice but please reconsider and keep this mode available for future use.

Thank you for reading this
Tony G4NBS

--
Tom (LA4LN)


Jim Brown
 

On 3/5/2021 3:34 PM, Tony Collett via groups.io wrote:
I was just about to download this latest Release Candidate and noticed in the release notes that ISCAT is considered obsolete and has been removed.
Dare I ask why?
Did you study all the doc for 2.4.0-rc1 or -rc2, including the Quick Start for Q65, which clearly state that Q65 is vastly superior to ISCAT for the propagation modes for which ISCAT was optimized. In addition to extensive testing by the design team, there's been a lot of on-air testing on this side of the pond verifying that with an alpha version of the code, and some of it is reported in those doc files.

73, Jim K9YC


Joe
 

Hi Tony,

Decisions to retire little-used modes are never taken lightly, but sometimes we need to make room for new developments. FSK441, JT2, JT6M, JT44, JTMS, QRA64, "Diana", and ISCAT modes have existed in previous versions of WSJT or WSJT-X.  All of these have now been retired.  This has been necessary to keep the software conveniently usable and maintainable.

We try not to do anything that would kill off interesting uses of our software, even by a few.  We have received zero reports of ISCAT being used for aircraft scatter anywhere except in Region 3. We communicated with those users, who decided that capabilities of Q65 would replace (with significant advantage) most of their previous uses of ISCAT. An article about using ISCAT for aircraft scatter was published in DUBUS some years ago, and it produced very little feedback suggesting that anyone else was using it.

   -- 73, Joe, K1JT


Tony Collett
 

I accept I may be missing something Jim, I have read the release notes for RC1 and RC2 also the quick start guide which is what prompted my question but I do not see anything that

"Quote"  >clearly state that Q65 is vastly superior to ISCAT for the propagation modes for which ISCAT was optimized<

I can see plenty in original documentation that says

>ISCAT, MSK144, and optionally submodes JT9E-H are “fast” protocols designed to take advantage of brief signal enhancements from ionized meteor trails, aircraft scatter, and other types of scatter propagation. These modes use timed sequences of 5, 10, 15, or 30 s duration.<
 

While Q65 is

>particularly effective for tropospheric scatter, rain scatter, ionospheric scatter, and EME on VHF and higher bands<

Aircraft Scatter is not mentioned, all the examples given are for other scatter modes where the reflections will be of a longer (slower?) duration while ISCAT can be used with quick periods to take advantage of the short reflections available from planes.

As said if Q65 is OK for Aircraft scatter on 70cms up I will be happy to use it EXCEPT the format of the message is fixed, not free form so Q65 will not be allowed in our contests.

I agree with both Tom and John, perhaps the only way is to keep hold of legacy versions but question remains why is it considered obsolete and removed from the main suite?

Regards
Tony G4NBS


PATRICK COKER
 

Joe and all

I scat is being used to make contacts on 2M and above especially on 10ghz
The very short duration of the plain is need for short time duration , in a short 30 second the plain has come and gone
Were as 10 second timing can generate
A complete contact in the same 30 second period,

As you noted you asked the users of wsjt, but alot are not even on the reflector who use this

Please do not remove

N6rmj
Pat

On Mar 6, 2021, at 9:12 AM, Joe <joe@princeton.edu> wrote:

Hi Tony,

Decisions to retire little-used modes are never taken lightly, but sometimes we need to make room for new developments. FSK441, JT2, JT6M, JT44, JTMS, QRA64, "Diana", and ISCAT modes have existed in previous versions of WSJT or WSJT-X. All of these have now been retired. This has been necessary to keep the software conveniently usable and maintainable.

We try not to do anything that would kill off interesting uses of our software, even by a few. We have received zero reports of ISCAT being used for aircraft scatter anywhere except in Region 3. We communicated with those users, who decided that capabilities of Q65 would replace (with significant advantage) most of their previous uses of ISCAT. An article about using ISCAT for aircraft scatter was published in DUBUS some years ago, and it produced very little feedback suggesting that anyone else was using it.

-- 73, Joe, K1JT


Tony Collett
 

Thanks for your response Joe, I understand not wanting to make the program too unwieldly and the requirement for new modes not to mention all the work that goes on to produce this suite of programs.

Not all of us read Dubus or as Pat says are even members of this forum and reading the release note was the first I'd heard that ISCAT was due for removal.
I am sure Q65 will do what you say it does on the tin but as you say it replaces MOST of its previous uses, not all of it.

As Pat correctly points out - the plane reflection will have finished before a Q65 QSO can be completed, unless there are faster versions in the pipeline maybe but here in Europe we have lost the ability for a free form message which is used even if not being reported.

Guess the only way is to keep old version as has been suggested or be forced to join the increasing number of MSHV users as it does continue to support some of the older modes (certainly not something I wish to do).

Hoping you might be persuaded to change the decision

Regards
Tony


Jim Brown
 

On 3/6/2021 10:31 AM, Tony Collett via groups.io wrote:
Hoping you might be persuaded to change the decision
As a VERY old dog, I continue to try to learn new tricks. I recommend the practice to others.

73, Jim K9YC


Paul Selwood G3YDY
 

Hi Joe,
The use of modes termed you term as "obsolete " are widely used in many contests in Europe.  Indeed the rules state that the only MGM modes allowed are JT6M, FSK441 and ISCAT, known as slow modes and allow the transmission of 6 character Locators again as prescribed by the rules. The newer modes known as fast modes (MSK144, Ft8, FT4 etc)  are banned from contests except dedicated "MGM" contests when 4 character locators are allowed.  I do not see the use of these "obsolete" modes declining in contests in the next few years. Since these modes were removed from your suite of programs I have been forced to used other software  for JT6M and FSK441 the functionality of these are not to my liking. 

Would it not be possible to wrap your "obsolete" modes mentioned above into a legacy suite, and as you retire modes move them to there with  a priviso that says no further work will be carried on these. 

Thank you for all the work you and your team put in to producing these modes that have advanced the way amateurs communicate  in recent years.

73

Paul

G3YDY


Bill Somerville
 

On 06/03/2021 19:52, Paul Selwood G3YDY via groups.io wrote:
Hi Joe,
The use of modes termed you term as "obsolete " are widely used in many contests in Europe.  Indeed the rules state that the only MGM modes allowed are JT6M, FSK441 and ISCAT, known as slow modes and allow the transmission of 6 character Locators again as prescribed by the rules. The newer modes known as fast modes (MSK144, Ft8, FT4 etc)  are banned from contests except dedicated "MGM" contests when 4 character locators are allowed.  I do not see the use of these "obsolete" modes declining in contests in the next few years. Since these modes were removed from your suite of programs I have been forced to used other software  for JT6M and FSK441 the functionality of these are not to my liking. 

Would it not be possible to wrap your "obsolete" modes mentioned above into a legacy suite, and as you retire modes move them to there with  a priviso that says no further work will be carried on these. 

Thank you for all the work you and your team put in to producing these modes that have advanced the way amateurs communicate  in recent years.

73

Paul

G3YDY

Paul,

FT8, FT4, and MSK144 modes all include messages designed explicitly for EU VHF style contests where the rules require exchange of 6-character grid locators, they even include serial numbers and RS style reports to meet those same contest rules. If these modes are "banned" for the reasons you state then I suggest contest ops should ignore that ban and just use the modes anyway.

Perhaps it is this sort of misinformed claptrap that has led to the situation where we have had virtually no feedback on EU VHF Contest mode that has led to defects remaining that could have be rectified long ago, or perhaps it is due to an rather EU-centric insistence to only use a knock-off clone of WSJT-X that doesn't include full full support of the above features, just because it includes modes that have been superseded by superior alternatives.

Sad to say that the Luddism lives on in this corner of the World!

73
Bill
G4WJS.


Jim Brown
 

On 3/6/2021 11:52 AM, Paul Selwood G3YDY via groups.io wrote:
Indeed the rules state that the only MGM modes allowed are JT6M, FSK441 and ISCAT, known as slow modes and allow the transmission of 6 character Locators again as prescribed by the rules. The newer modes known as fast modes (MSK144, Ft8, FT4 etc)  are banned from contests except dedicated "MGM" contests when 4 character locators are allowed.
Perhaps old dogs need to learn new tricks, especially when the new tricks are available to all at no cost and are compatible with the same hardware used by the older modes.

73, Jim K9YC


Reino Talarmo
 

From: main@WSJTX.groups.io [mailto:main@WSJTX.groups.io] On Behalf Of Bill Somerville
Sent: 7. maaliskuuta 2021 2:29
To: main@WSJTX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [WSJTX] WSJT-X 2.4.0-rc2 REMOVAL of OBSOLETE ISCAT Mode? #ISCAT #ContestMode

 

On 06/03/2021 19:52, Paul Selwood G3YDY via groups.io wrote:

Hi Joe,
The use of modes termed you term as "obsolete " are widely used in many contests in Europe.  Indeed the rules state that the only MGM modes allowed are JT6M, FSK441 and ISCAT, known as slow modes and allow the transmission of 6 character Locators again as prescribed by the rules. The newer modes known as fast modes (MSK144, Ft8, FT4 etc)  are banned from contests except dedicated "MGM" contests when 4 character locators are allowed.  I do not see the use of these "obsolete" modes declining in contests in the next few years. Since these modes were removed from your suite of programs I have been forced to used other software  for JT6M and FSK441 the functionality of these are not to my liking. 

Would it not be possible to wrap your "obsolete" modes mentioned above into a legacy suite, and as you retire modes move them to there with  a priviso that says no further work will be carried on these. 

Thank you for all the work you and your team put in to producing these modes that have advanced the way amateurs communicate  in recent years.

73

Paul

G3YDY

Paul,

FT8, FT4, and MSK144 modes all include messages designed explicitly for EU VHF style contests where the rules require exchange of 6-character grid locators, they even include serial numbers and RS style reports to meet those same contest rules. If these modes are "banned" for the reasons you state then I suggest contest ops should ignore that ban and just use the modes anyway.

Perhaps it is this sort of misinformed claptrap that has led to the situation where we have had virtually no feedback on EU VHF Contest mode that has led to defects remaining that could have be rectified long ago, or perhaps it is due to an rather EU-centric insistence to only use a knock-off clone of WSJT-X that doesn't include full full support of the above features, just because it includes modes that have been superseded by superior alternatives.

Sad to say that the Luddism lives on in this corner of the World!

73
Bill
G4WJS.

Bill and Paul,
Situation in the northern corner of Europe is not that bad and we have used EU VHF mode a lot in NAC contests. Especially the latest version of it is an excellent as it contains all needed elements as Bill stated.
I have faint recollection that it used in UK at an 80m activity as well.

73, Reino OH3mA


Stewart Wilkinson
 

On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 01:25 AM, Bill Somerville wrote:
Perhaps it is this sort of misinformed claptrap that has led to the situation where we have had virtually no feedback on EU VHF Contest mode that has led to defects remaining that could have be rectified long ago
I think I got to actually use EU VHF Contest mode just once (perhaps twice) before the RSGB CC changed the rules for the MGM contests, on the basis of it being broken without any indication that I am aware of from them as to what was wrong, which means I had very little chance to test the mode and work out what was good or what might be wrong with it.

The problem I see with EU VHF Contest mode being used in contests where most of operation is on other modes (i.e. SSB/CW) is that unless I've missed something setting up the serial number that is to be sent is hard to do.

I am not a user of data mdoes in non-MGM contests - mostly because I am not really familiar enough with using modes other than FT8 / FT4.


Bill Somerville
 

On 07/03/2021 09:15, Stewart Wilkinson via groups.io wrote:
On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 01:25 AM, Bill Somerville wrote:
Perhaps it is this sort of misinformed claptrap that has led to the situation where we have had virtually no feedback on EU VHF Contest mode that has led to defects remaining that could have be rectified long ago
I think I got to actually use EU VHF Contest mode just once (perhaps twice) before the RSGB CC changed the rules for the MGM contests, on the basis of it being broken without any indication that I am aware of from them as to what was wrong, which means I had very little chance to test the mode and work out what was good or what might be wrong with it.

The problem I see with EU VHF Contest mode being used in contests where most of operation is on other modes (i.e. SSB/CW) is that unless I've missed something setting up the serial number that is to be sent is hard to do.

I am not a user of data mdoes in non-MGM contests - mostly because I am not really familiar enough with using modes other than FT8 / FT4.

Stewart,

perhaps you did not notice the "Tx #" spin box control right in the middle of the WSJT-X main window which allows the user to set the next serial number to be transmitted?

73
Bill
G4WJS.


Tony Collett
 

Bill - perhaps you need to read the RSGB contest guidelines in order to understand the problem better?

Yes in Data/MGM contests all digital modes are allowed and yes it is unfortunate that the RSGB deemed the EU contest mode unsuitable, however they have embraced FT4 and FT8 standard mode for these types of contests.

My original point is that in other traditional contests which are predominantly SSB/CW events the use of any form of FT4/FT8 or MSK144 is NOT ALLOWED. For example the March contest that was on this weekend. The rules do however allow us to use what are now "obsolete" modes which included ISCAT (as well as JT6M and FSK441) because they are freeform messages that enable a "proper" contest exchange identical to the analogue modes. RSGB have stated that use of formatted messages as used in FT4 and FT8 will never be allowed in this type of contest so presumably Q65 will also not be allowed.

The other original point/question remains - What mode is as good on 70cms upwards for use on short Aircraft Reflections?

It is all well and good saying Old Dogs learn new tricks, I agree and welcome trying these new modes and am forever grateful for FT8 allowing me to work things unimaginable a few years back.

But there is another saying - Don't throw the Baby out with the Bathwater.

PLEASE reconsider instead of forcing us to use other programs which we do not wish to do.

Regards
Tony G4NBS


Bill Somerville
 

On 07/03/2021 15:30, Tony Collett via groups.io wrote:
Bill - perhaps you need to read the RSGB contest guidelines in order to understand the problem better?

Yes in Data/MGM contests all digital modes are allowed and yes it is unfortunate that the RSGB deemed the EU contest mode unsuitable, however they have embraced FT4 and FT8 standard mode for these types of contests.

My original point is that in other traditional contests which are predominantly SSB/CW events the use of any form of FT4/FT8 or MSK144 is NOT ALLOWED. For example the March contest that was on this weekend. The rules do however allow us to use what are now "obsolete" modes which included ISCAT (as well as JT6M and FSK441) because they are freeform messages that enable a "proper" contest exchange identical to the analogue modes. RSGB have stated that use of formatted messages as used in FT4 and FT8 will never be allowed in this type of contest so presumably Q65 will also not be allowed.

The other original point/question remains - What mode is as good on 70cms upwards for use on short Aircraft Reflections?

It is all well and good saying Old Dogs learn new tricks, I agree and welcome trying these new modes and am forever grateful for FT8 allowing me to work things unimaginable a few years back.

But there is another saying - Don't throw the Baby out with the Bathwater.

PLEASE reconsider instead of forcing us to use other programs which we do not wish to do.

Regards
Tony G4NBS
Tony,

much of the EU VHF and up activity in contests recently has been in activity contests, these were introduced to try and get *any* activity on bands that became deserted when less than full licence holders were granted HF privileges. In this scenario I would expect any mode to be allowed in contests so long as band plans and licence limits are adhered to. As for allowing one or anther digital mode because it allows free form messages that allow the particular contest exchange versus another digital mode that specifically includes messages that allow the same contest exchanges - WTF! There must be some bias against WSJT-X or its authors otherwise it make no sense at all.

For AS on UHF and up, have you tried MSK144? Have you tried FT4? Have you tried Q65-15B or Q65-15C? All may have advantages depending on signal strengths, and Doppler shifts.

73
Bill
G4WJS.


Mike Phipps
 

If you absolutely need ISCAT, you can continue to run WSJT-X v2.3.0, which supports ISCAT.

If you need a mode that still supports freeform text to comply with RSGB’s contest rules, you might try using JS8 (and the JS8Call software) instead. That mode is freeform by definition, and you can run it in 6, 10, 15, or 30 second slots (for turbo, fast, normal, and slow submodes, respectively).


Mike K8WU

On Mar 7, 2021, at 10:30 AM, Tony Collett via groups.io <tony.nbs=btinternet.com@groups.io> wrote:

Bill - perhaps you need to read the RSGB contest guidelines in order to understand the problem better?

Yes in Data/MGM contests all digital modes are allowed and yes it is unfortunate that the RSGB deemed the EU contest mode unsuitable, however they have embraced FT4 and FT8 standard mode for these types of contests.

My original point is that in other traditional contests which are predominantly SSB/CW events the use of any form of FT4/FT8 or MSK144 is NOT ALLOWED. For example the March contest that was on this weekend. The rules do however allow us to use what are now "obsolete" modes which included ISCAT (as well as JT6M and FSK441) because they are freeform messages that enable a "proper" contest exchange identical to the analogue modes. RSGB have stated that use of formatted messages as used in FT4 and FT8 will never be allowed in this type of contest so presumably Q65 will also not be allowed.

The other original point/question remains - What mode is as good on 70cms upwards for use on short Aircraft Reflections?

It is all well and good saying Old Dogs learn new tricks, I agree and welcome trying these new modes and am forever grateful for FT8 allowing me to work things unimaginable a few years back.

But there is another saying - Don't throw the Baby out with the Bathwater.

PLEASE reconsider instead of forcing us to use other programs which we do not wish to do.

Regards
Tony G4NBS


Stewart Wilkinson
 

On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 02:12 PM, Bill Somerville wrote:
perhaps you did not notice the "Tx #" spin box control right in the middle of the WSJT-X main window which allows the user to set the next serial number to be transmitted?
Seems not  (or if I did see it at all didn't know what it did).
I'm not great at reading instuctions (unless I have too) either !