In a post to the WSJT-X email group today, Joe Taylor K1JT hinted at some ongoing experimentation of a new digital mode with sub-modes. His post was a response to a question about a very early version of the weak signal WSPR mode (version 7) back in 2008. Back then, there was a facility for QSOs to be made between radio amateurs but it was later dropped. Joe included a link to an early Quick Start guide and background information that makes very interesting reading and is worth checking out! (link below)
Importantly, however, was the news that the brilliant development team behind WSJT-X is continuing with further experimentations in digital communications. There is no timeline or, indeed any indication that a new mode will see the light of day….but we certainly appreciate their energy and commitment to this fascinating aspect of the radio hobby.
Here’s Joe’s response in the WSJT-X group today:
It was a nice idea, from an experimenter’s point of view. The mode had WSPR sensitivity: we even made some easy EME QSOs with it! However, it never gained much popularity. QSO message formats are restricted enough, even with 72 or 77-bit payloads. Making 50-bit payloads serve for 2-way QSOs was probably too much of a stretch.
Your core development team enjoys pushing the communication-theory limits in whatever ways seem applicable to Amateur Radio. We are currently experimenting with a possible mode that would likely have many sub-modes: a wide range of T/R sequence lengths, perhaps 15 s to 5 minutes; occupied bandwidths from 60 Hz down to about 2 Hz; threshold sensitivities down to SNR = -37 dB for the longest T/R sequence lengths; and message formats suitable for both 2-way QSOs and WSPR-like applications.
No promises about when (or whether) such a mode might see the light of day.
— 73, Joe, K1JT
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