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Author Topic: Camping with FT-8  (Read 715 times)
N8EUI
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Posts: 199




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« on: May 06, 2019, 06:56:29 PM »

Hi all,
The family is camping Memorial Day weekend and I'd like to do some portable SSB and FT8. Using FT8 requires clock syncing and the internet will be nada. Any ideas on keeping the timing in sync minus the internet?

73, Tom N8EUI
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VA3VF
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Posts: 2742




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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2019, 07:31:15 PM »

Hi all,
The family is camping Memorial Day weekend and I'd like to do some portable SSB and FT8. Using FT8 requires clock syncing and the internet will be nada. Any ideas on keeping the timing in sync minus the internet?

73, Tom N8EUI
It may be too late for this outing, but an $8 USB GPS dongle from eBay, with the free BktTimeSync software, will do the trick.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/GPS-Smart-Antenna-VK-172-NEW-USB-GPS-Receiver-Ublox7-for-PC-laptop-Windows-S9N8/122691923164?hash=item1c91022cdc:g:7E8AAOSwGOtZsY-7

https://www.maniaradio.it/en/bkttimesync.html

« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 07:49:49 PM by VA3VF » Logged
K0UA
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Posts: 4098




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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019, 08:31:55 PM »

No hot spot on your smart phone?  Or no cell service?  You just need to connect, maybe once or twice a day.
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WA1MOW
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Posts: 38




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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2019, 06:49:44 AM »

Hi all,
The family is camping Memorial Day weekend and I'd like to do some portable SSB and FT8. Using FT8 requires clock syncing and the internet will be nada. Any ideas on keeping the timing in sync minus the internet?

73, Tom N8EUI
It may be too late for this outing, but an $8 USB GPS dongle from eBay, with the free BktTimeSync software, will do the trick.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/GPS-Smart-Antenna-VK-172-NEW-USB-GPS-Receiver-Ublox7-for-PC-laptop-Windows-S9N8/122691923164?hash=item1c91022cdc:g:7E8AAOSwGOtZsY-7

https://www.maniaradio.it/en/bkttimesync.html



You can get the same dongle off of Amazon next day for $13.99
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WO7R
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Posts: 3894




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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2019, 01:02:30 PM »

With care, and a couple of practice tries, you can set the internet time manually from WWV.  If you go under "settings" and look up time, you can find it on any version of Windows.  On Windows 10, it is "Settings" then search on "time" then "Date and Time".  Turn off "Set time automatically" (you are out of reach of the internet anyway) and then click on "change".

Just prepare it for the "next minute and (on some Windows' versions) zero seconds" and press the OK button at just the right moment of the "beep".

You only need to be within two seconds these days and you should be able to manage about a half of a second.  Remember, it does not need to be perfect.

What if you can't hear WWV?  This would not work for everyone but it could work for just you is that you "crowdsource" the time from WSJT-X itself.

Listen on (say) 20 meters.  See what it says for DT for many stations.  Take a rough average and you will know what to correct.  But, if you are too far off, you won't decode anything.  There is still a way.

In that case, use your phone or pocket watch.  It is not likely to be off farther than 15 seconds nowadays, but even if it is, it ultimately won't matter.

When your phone/watch tells you it is going to be at  xx:yy:zz seconds and zz is about to "turn over" set the Windows setting for the next minute.  That is, zz is maybe 47 or 55 seconds.  So, set yy to the next minute of that hour.  When you hear the "music" of the FT8 stations start, press OK and then see what the DT interval is.  You should be decoding, at least.  It might take a couple of tries.

In your shoes, that is what I would try to synch it up.  Your log may be off depending on how good/bad your watch is, but it should be well within the "matching" tolerances of LOTW and Clublog, so who cares if you are a minute or two off?  It's synching to the "same" 15 seconds is what is critical here.
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SOFAR
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Posts: 1418




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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2019, 01:35:59 PM »

https://time.gov

Also, (303) 499-7111
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WA2ISE
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Posts: 1273




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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2019, 02:52:42 PM »

You could adjust the computer's time until you get the "DT" close to 0.0   But that means you get some successful decodes to begin with.  You could listen by ear to the FT8 received audio to get a sense of when everyone's transmissions start and stop.  Try to set the computer time at zero seconds halfway between the stops and starts of transmissions (a few second gap).  And see if you start decoding. 
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VA3VF
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Posts: 2742




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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2019, 04:20:25 PM »

Nothing beats sync'ing to GPS, but manual adjustments are feasible for FT8.

It should work with DTs up to 2 seconds. FT4 is more stringent. During my FT4 tests, the most was a DT of 0.5 seconds. This would require many atempts to narrow down manually.
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WO7R
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Posts: 3894




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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2019, 02:33:16 AM »

Quote
You can get the same dongle off of Amazon next day for $13.99

It's great when it works, but I have had quality control problems ordering those kinds of dongles.
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VA3VF
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Posts: 2742




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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2019, 03:22:59 AM »

Quote
Quote
You can get the same dongle off of Amazon next day for $13.99

It's great when it works, but I have had quality control problems ordering those kinds of dongles.

Bad luck. I ordered 3 of the GPS dongles, no problems.

I had problems with some soundcard type dongles.
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N8EUI
Member

Posts: 199




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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2019, 08:00:21 PM »

Thanks, everyone for the information.
What about using one of those USB GPS "pucks?" I've heard many hams have had success using them to access the GPS satellites to time sync their laptops for FT8 operation. Any thoughts on that?

Tom, N8EUI
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W5DXP
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Posts: 4646


WWW

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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2019, 05:23:36 AM »

https://www.theinternetpatrol.com/how-to-connect-your-computer-to-the-internet-using-your-cell-phone-as-a-wireless-internet-connection-or-tethered-modem/
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My antenna says, "What makes me happy is when the tuner is adjusted for maximum available current through my radiation resistance!" 73, Cecil, w5dxp.com
AD0YO
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2019, 10:17:23 AM »

I will be having this time problem this summer while camping in the Rocky Mountains in places where the nearest cell service is 10-20 miles away. That includes Field Day.

I will try the GPS solution here at home before I go to the mountains.
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