JT65-HF Comfort 3.3 Review vk4bl 2013
When we moved to this rented house, I was fairly sure that at least for however long we were here, my dx’ing was going to be limited. Before the move I discovered the fun of digital modes like PSK31, JT65-HF. After a few years operating from the shadows, using very comprised antennas for the QRM filled suburbs, I can say that if not for modes like JF65-HF, my radio hobby would have suffered. With low power under sometimes poor propagation, armed with some wire hanging on the balcony. I can and do regularly work the world, sometimes even adding a ‘new one’.
For a long time now I’ve used the JT65-HF package by Joe Large W6CQZ. So many happy hours have been spent using this software; we all owe Joe a lot. Moving on to the reason for this review; Some of you may know there have not been any updates to JT65-HF for quite awhile; I believe Joe has some health issues, which naturally would be his number one concern.
Not sure where but I stumbled onto some information regarding JT65-HF -Comfort, by Matthias DL3VCO. Using Joe’s original code and some considerable work, Matthias has created a new version called JT65-HF-Comfort. I’ll give some links later; you may have to use google to do some translating. There are many helpful features in this application; I am not going to go into all of them. You really should try it yourself.
After downloading the zip file for JT65-HF –Comfort 3.3, I extracted the jt65-hf-comfort-3.exe file and ran it. Excepting all the defaults the program installs itself to the C:\Program Files\jt65hf-comfort-3 directory. As I was most interested in how this all works with my UR5EQF logger, I set the external link for C:\Program Files\jt65hf-comfort-3\jt65-hf-comfort-3.exe as my JT65-HF link in the UR5EQF menu. The first time you run the it does FFT Optimizer having 12 steps, after a little while it starts the program. Which first goes into the Configuration-Log Setup screen. I suggest setting the log path to wherever you keep your .ADI file for current JT65-HF installation. If you are installing on a machine, which has JT65-HF installed most of the other settings can be left as is, you can tweak things later.
TIP: If you are using UR5EQF, you might want to uncheck the LOG QSO=TX OFF box. That way when you log a QSO in JT65-HF-Comfort. All the details will still stay in the UR5EQF log window waiting for you to manually add the QSO to your log. If the LOG QSO=TX OFF box is checked then when you press log QSO in JT65-HF-Comfort, the QSO is cleared from the UR5EQF window.
How does it work?
No problems were encountered at all, although because Mathias based it Joe's original code I was not expecting any major problems. However Matthias has done a great job of improving an already good thing. The highlighting of the information in the decode window, works exactly as it should. Simple to setup and extremely useful. The display of decoded calls on a bar at the top of the waterfall is also handy. Saving the text of decodes and transmissions to files, again nice to have when or if you need it. Being visually disabled, I’ve already used it to go back and check something I missed the first time around.
JT65-HF-Comfort 3.3 is well, comfortable. I don’t know if it decodes better or does anything better under the hood. I’m happy that everything feels the same, just some very helpful additions that really add to enjoyment of the great mode. So far, it integrates with UR5EQF just fine, I’ve spent quite a few hours making some contacts, and have not had any dramas. Actually most of the time I forgot I’m using something new, I hope Matthias takes that as a compliment, It’s not easy to do something a bit different yet keep users feeling nothing has changed. Well done.
Lastly Can we all wish Joe W6CQZ a speedy return to full health, and continued development of JT65-HF. But how lucky are we, that Joe made the source code for his baby available and Matthias DL3VCO has picked it up given us JT65-HF-Comfort 3.3. With people like this supporting JT65-HF mode, we are in good hands. Thank you gentleman.
73 AL (VK4BL)