Monday, 24 May 2021

IC-705 & FT8 TIME-SYNCING

TIME IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS

When you fancy playing FT8 outdoors on the top of a big hill in the middle of nowhere, just bear in mind that you often find yourself in a location which has no access to wi-fi or even mobile phone signal.

In these circumstances, you might as well switch to some SSB Voice activities because without a perfectly synced clock on your computer, FT4/FT8 just isn't going to function well. But don't worry, because your amazing little IC-705 has built-in GPS which can output its data in NMEA format and your computer (with an app) can make use of that data, extracting the time component from it.

So how do you go about setting it up? It's easy!

First of all, go into the radio's MENU....

  • Make sure you're on Pg 1
  • Click SETTINGS
  • Click CONNECTORS
  • Click USB (B) FUNCTION
  • Click GPS OUT to ON
  • Go back to the MENU and go to Pg 2
  • Click GPS
  • Click GPS TX Mode
  • Select NMEA
Now check that your GPS Icon at the top of the screen is steady (not flashing). That means it's locked onto satellites and is ready to use. You can double-check by going back into the GPS menu and looking at GPS INFORMATION to make sure your Lon/Lat coordinates are correct. That's your work completed on the radio.

On your computer (Laptop, Notebook, Tablet), download a program called BktTimSync from HERE.

Install the software and complete the setup.....

  • Click "ENABLE GPS" 
  • Enter correct COM #
  • Select BAUD 9600
  • BITS = 8
  • BITSTOP = 1
  • PARITY = N
  • PROTOCOL = NMEA
  • Click SYNC ON SYSTRAY
  • Click SYNC ON STARTUP
Check that the GPS Coordinates look correct. All other settings seem to be okay at their default readings. Please note that if you wish to use this software at home where wi-fi is available, untick the ENABLE GPS and tick the NTP instead.

If you don't know which COM port number is the right one, remove the IC-705 USB Lead from the computer, open up DEVICE MANAGER and look down the list at Ports (COM & LPT). When you plug your IC-705 in, you will see a new COM number appear - that's the one! 

When you run your FT8 software, you should find that your DT Timings are super accurate. Don't forget to make a small donation to the author - anything helps :-) 


ENJOY :-)

Thanks for visiting - please take a minute to leave a comment below 

73, Tom, M7MCQ.


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