JS8Call Messaging: Home

Using these messages can be useful during exercises, operations or emergencies to reach others as the messages can be accurately conveyed over extremely long distances. It is preferable to try to use messaging with acknowledgements for important messages. One of JS8Call's primary strengths is to be able to store a message at your station or a 3rd party, for later retrieval by the destination station (store and retrieve) so use this tactically to your advantage especially as propogation conditions vary, and also consider how special group call signs can be used to your advantage to target specific stations.

Thanks to Alister ZS1OK for providing a lot of valuable input below.

Preferred Settings:

  • Ensure ‘Auto Reply’, ‘Enable Heartbeat Network’ and “Enable Heartbeat Acknowledgements’ are all enabled.
  • Enable “Simultaneous decoding of All Speeds” on PCs and Raspi 4’s. Rasp 3’s may suffer.
  • JS8Call frequency for 60m in ZA (is not a default in the software): 5,163 kHz
  • Consider updating your Station Info in settings (Settings->General->Station) to reflect alternative means of contacting your station as this will be broadcast to PSKReporter site as well as to querying stations eg. "I am monitoring 145.700MHz repeater" or "Relay via ZS1DCC".

Valuable Operational Tips:

  • For operation in a very busy environment (exercise or emergency), select a single TX frequency band and try stick to it. Frequency hopping confuses everyone. An exception may be if there are a few bridging stations which can relay manually between two bands which are in use (not everyone can operate on multiple bands). With such bridging you end up with two isolated bands where stations cannot communicate to stations on the other band.
  • When you hover your mouse over a callsign in the right-hand "Calling Stations (CQs) Screen" it opens a small window which shows which stations that callsign can hear, and who can hear that callsign. Use this info to plan your message relays via those 3rd parties.
  • Use the JS8Call message store and forward capabilities - it takes most of the effort from you. Other stations should be calling QUERY MSGS to check for stored messages.
  • When using Stored Messages, you will receive an ACK when your message is successfully received (it is a checksum that checks the message is fully and correctly received). If you don't receive an ACK, then you know you have to resend the message, until you get an ACK. Use this functionality instead of repeatedly trying to ask a station if they have received a direct message.
  • Store messages locally on your stations for others to collect. Then you have no pain. GOLDEN TIP: When others beacon (Send Heartbeats), your station replies that it also has a message for them (WATCH out for that appended MSG in a beacon ACK). This means a plain Heartbeat will also be checking for stored messages for you = less messaging traffic!
  • Query either @ALLCALL or other relevant group for messages. Then retrieve messages from them using the MSG they provide. Store messages for later retrieval at stations who can hear your destination station ie. a 3rd party both of you can reach.
  • As one gets to know JS8Calls in-depth messaging features, it helps to make life much easier for you. It takes time to get to know and test these features - and messages don't always get through correctly as well - hence the notion to use the ACK feature built-in to JS8Call.
  • For JS8Call to respond appropriately for Emcomm use it has to be configured correctly and using it to auto-respond as much as possible. This allows stations to operate without manual intervention for relaying, storing messages, sending ACKs, proving station INFO or STATUS, and more. The more stations available in this manner, the more nodes there are to cover blind spots.
  • Be aware that if a station is selected (highlighted) in right-hand window the messages are only directed to that station and will not go out to a group or anyone else. This is a common operator error. Right-click on the selected station choose 'Deselect' or click on the 'Deselect' button below the message input box.
  • Consider when an operation or exercise begins, to first dedicate a period of time to identify all stations and locations before messaging just commences. If station info in JS8Call has been temporarily replaced with operational info, a simple @group INFO? or even @ALLCALL INFO? will return that information.
  • To be verified still: If a team comprises two or more stations working together, they could set their team name as a @group in JS8Call (up to 8 characters) so that any message sent to that @group which reach whatever stations were participating in it. Need to verify if such messages directed to the group would highlight in colour like messages directed to a station.