WSJT-X Split Operation and Why Use It
Modern HF transceivers are capable of using “Rig” for Split Operation, however most Hams end up using “Fake It” because of either radio problems, timing issues or just plain simplicity. I have been using “Fake it” for a long time and just recently revisited using “Rig”. Both work very well. Note: If you are using the Icom 7300 or 7610 and Ham Radio Deluxe for the Rig in WSJT-X, you will have to use “Fake It” for Split Operation.
Split Operation Explained
The Split Operation that I am talking about here is the setting on the Radio tab in WSJT-X. For split we have three choices, Fake It, Rig or None.
There is another split method that we can use when trying to make contacts and that involves using the option in WSJT-X to “Hold TX Frequency”. More on that later.
What is Split Operation and why is it useful?
Significant advantages result from using Split mode (separate VFOs for Rx and Tx) if your radio supports it. If it does not, WSJT-X can emulate such behavior. Either method will result in a cleaner transmitted signal, by keeping the Tx audio always in the range 1500 to 2000 Hz so that audio harmonics cannot pass through the Tx sideband filter. Select Rig to use the radio’s Split mode, or Fake It to have WSJT-X adjust the VFO frequency as needed, when T/R switching occurs. Choose None if you do not wish to use split operation. – WSJT-X Manual
The Case For Using Split Operation
I think it’s important to use Split Operation in the WSJT-X settings and here’s why.
Let me show you what I found out from operating PSK31.
If you ever operated PSK31 you may have noticed when moving too far off center that the power output level will go down. To compensate for this, some software (WinWarbler) offers the option to optimize or set the transceiver frequency to achieve optimal offset. It will shift your frequency for you.
This is basically what the Split Operation will do in WSJT-X, but WSJT-X does it on the fly. It uses the optimal offset and puts your TX audio in the range of 1500 to 2000 Hz automatically for you and leaves the RX frequency alone. Nice!
With WSJT-X and using “None” you may not see the loss of power if transmitting out of 1500 to 2000 Hz like when in PSK31 mode, but there is the risk of creating IM within the TX passband.
If I look at it in terms of my experience with PSK31, I’m going to naturally want to use Split Operation in WSJT-X. I’ll have a cleaner signal and I think it increases my chances of making the contact. Also, a cleaner signal makes everyone around me happy.
Holding the TX Frequency
The other split reference we here about is using the option, “Hold TX Frequency”.
I always use “Hold TX Frequency” when calling CQ, because I don’t want to lose my TX frequency.
Some experienced users exclaim, “Don’t call me on my transmit frequency”. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but makes sense, especially in a DX pileup situation.
If you select the option “Hold TX Frequency” in WSJT-X to hold the TX frequency and then place your red TX indicator in a clear spot on the waterfall (wide graph) it may help you get the DX station that everyone is calling.
The reasoning behind this: Others will be calling the DX station on the DX stations TX frequency (simplex). So instead of getting caught up in the pileup, try this split method.
I know many Hams use this method, because when I call CQ others respond off of my TX frequency.
I have to admit though, to this date, I’ve been disappointed. I don’t know why, but I have better success using simplex and calling a station on it’s TX frequency. I still think split is worth trying when calling a DX station and I’ll continue to try it for North American stations too. Just my 2 cents on that subject.
I encourage everyone to try using Split Operation, either “Rig” or “Fake It”. It may take a little getting used too. If it doesn’t work for you then use “None”. It’s not the worst thing, especially if you don’t use excessive power. You could also try to stay in the 1500 to 2000 Hz range too.
I hope you find this information useful. Thank you for coming by and I hope to hear YOU, on the air!
So how do you use the “Hold TX Frequency” option?
If you have any questions or comments, please post them below. Your experience will help someone else. I’ll do my best to answer questions and reply.
UPDATE: Very informative comments below. I just want to clarify using Split Operation as mentioned first. If using Rig or Fake It, it just shifts your TX frequency to put your TX in the sweet spot of 1500 to 2000 Hz. When using it, if your TX and RX indicators are lined up on the same frequency in the wide graph, you will still not be running the traditional split mode, it is simplex, ie. calling on the TX frequency of the other station. Thanks so much for the very informative comments.
Doesn’t using split tie up twice as much band width??
The FT8 band portion is already crowded most times
Nice to hear from you and that’s a very good question. Using Split Operation, there’s no question is doesn’t, but I think you are referring to plain old split when making QSO’s. According to the experts, the short answer is no. See section 9.3 in this Hinson Tips for HF DXers.
Here’s his explanation:
What do you think?
I am very impressed with FT-8 and us it a lot. However, I don’t like using split with FT-8 for the following reasons.
1. When using split the required bandwidth is doubled. When not using split both sending and receiving stations use the same frequency and 50 Hz bandwidth. When using split each station is using 50 Hz for a total bandwidth of 100 Hz.
2. Split causes interference. A station calling CQ picks a clear frequency and the answering station blindly picks a different frequency that may not be clear for the calling station. This creates the possibility of interference to other stations on those frequencies. This often occurs when a desired DX station calling CQ is simultaneously called by multiple stations.
When the band isn’t busy, split works fine. When it is very busy split doesn’t work well, creates interference and uses double or more of the bandwidth.
FT-8 is amazing. I have called CQ and then simultaneously copied and worked 2 or more stations answering on the same frequency.
It will be interesting to see how FT-8 works out on field day. My guess is that if propagation is good the existing 20 Meter 3 KHz FT-8 window will expand to about 13 KHz or more, perhaps from 14.070 to 14.083 MHz.
It’s nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting.
If I understand you correctly you are referring to just plain old spilt and not Split Operation, ie. Rig and Fake It.
That’s pretty much how I see it. When the band is so busy it’s hard to find a clear spot to put my TX indicator, hi!
Thank you so much and I appreciate your taking time to comment.
I hope to hear you on the air.
Rich, I have found that with the 7300, if you use “rig” for the split and you change the band you are operating on, as an example 40 meters to 30 meters, your receiver changes to the frequency that is that your switch to automatically with WSJT-X, but your second VFO does not change frequency on the transmit. The 7300 will try to transmit on 40 meters when you change to 30 meters for receive. Do not have my 7610 set up for WSJT so I do not know if it does the same or not. When you check the “fake it” box, the 7300 switches both transmit and receive correctly. 73, Ray AA4EZ
Nice to hear from you and thank you for the comment. I was just on another forum last week and was mentioned the same thing about the 7300. I would have to make sure and sync the VFOs when changing bands. It was a little cumbersome and that’s why I started using Fake It.
I tried “Rig” with my 7610 and it worked perfectly. I am using The Icom 7610 for the Rig in WSJT-X. Using Ham Radio Deluxe for the Rig in WSJT-X still causes problems for me.
I was going to go back and test it with the 7300 and using the Icom 7300 as the rig just to see if something had changed.
Thank you for commenting and thank you for the reminder about the 7300.
Thanks for a nice article as always.
I always work split and ALWAYS call the DX off his channel. I have had astounding success with this and am surprised that you have not. Okay, I may have to call for over 10 mins, but I invariably snag ’em. I have also started to stop sending the line with my locator. It makes for much quicker QSOs.
73 de Guy G4DWV 4X1LT
Nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting.
It is strange, but it seems like simplex works better for North American stations. How can it be??? With the software the QSO partner will see my callsign in the RX window just as if I was calling him on simplex. It seems very odd.
I am wondering if it has something to do with the software and timing. Maybe simplex will be seen 1st by the software if “Call 1st” is checked on the receiving station??? It is a mystery.
When 20 Meters is so very busy it is sometimes hard to find a clear spot, so it seems using simplex is the only way. I’ll have to look into that some more and see if I am missing anything. How do you find a clear spot or do you go simplex too?
I appreciate your taking time to comment. I will continue to try it more and see. Maybe it is just a quirk and over the long run it will even out for me.
I hope to see you on the air.
I am using the Icom 7300, HRD, and WSJT-X with FT8. Audio with Codec, I have followed your instructions with the one USB cable. I get a green signal when I press the button and red with PTT. My problem is I get little power output. I followed all the internal radio connections on the 7300. I am getting signals coming in. I can call CQ and still very little power output. I have the pwr set at 100 watts on the radio and trying to control the slider on the software cannot make the power go higher.
Nice to hear from you and thanks for commenting.
In the radio, look and see if your USB MOD Level is around 40%. You can increase that to increase power. DATA MOD should be USB.
If you’re using Windows go into the Sound and Playback Devices. Look for the USB Audio CODEC and open it. Go to the Levles tab and see what it is set to. 30 to 50 is a good starting place.
Set the Slider to 1/2 and try the Tune button. You should have plenty of power. I adjust mine in Windows and then WSJT-X. I leave the radio alone most of the time. Once you get it set, you won’t have to touch those again.
If you still need to decrease power you can turn down the RF Power on the radio.
I should do another video on this and WSJT-X. Thanks for the question and I hopes this helps.
Let me know,
I did what you said above: however, the radio jumps out of the USB-D when transmitting to USB on 14.074
I am using the 7300, on the WSJT-X, on settings, the Radio: Rig is Ham Radio Deluxe, Network server is blank, Mode: I have tried all three, None, USB, and Data/pkt, and the rig jumps out of USB-D to USB when transmitting or when it stops transmitting, it jumps out of USB-D to USB.
Thanks you for all you help.
Yes, use Data/Pkt for mode. Use Fake it for the Split Operation.
When using Ham Radio Deluxe for the Rig in WSJT-X I had problems too when using Rig for Split Operation. Use Fake it and it’ll be good.
Thanks for commenting and let me know.
Did you get a solution on this? I have the exact same problem.
Hi Rich . Having trouble getting a copy of Ham radio deluxe to match my Icom 7300 ,There are no old copies ,just new available, Are Canadians cut off? Tnx for the great job you are doing, Bob VA3RE
Nice to hear from you and I certainly hope not, hi.
I believe you can download the last free version here.
It doesn’t have the Icom 7300, but there is a workaround. Just use a different radio (7700) and change the CI-V address and make it the 7300s which is 94.
I hope this helps.
Thanks for all your help, Rich. I have done everything you suggested, and I am unable to make WSJT-X work correctly. I get one thing working, and another thing messes up. I have tried v. 7, 8, 9 and still, something is not quite right. The latest problem is switching out of USB-D goes out to USB when it stops transmitting. I have tried many different ways. I have probably spent 20+ hours trying to make it work.
Thanks for all your effort. I am not one to give up, but, I am tired of trying.
Thank you for commenting, I am sorry to hear that, but it has happened to me too. After a while go back and try it again. Sometimes when I take a rest, I figure out what the problem is later.
Today I am not using Ham Radio Deluxe as the rig. I have the Icom 7300 as the Rig in WSJT-X and I can use either Fake it or Rig for Split Operation. I can just leave Ham Radio Deluxe Logbook open and JT-Alert will log into it automatically. There’s a article and video here. I don’t know if you’ve attempted JT-Alert, but it is a worthwhile program for Hams who use WSJT-X a lot.
I have not Failed:
I have only discovered 10,000 ways that don’t work.
Hope to hear your on, take care and 73.
I have been using Rig with my 7610 and notied when it is time to transmit, the radio seems to start, resets and starts again and continues. I can hear the relays click twice. I will try fake it and see what happens. Enjoyed the conversation about split mode. It will make me a better operator. Going to use Hold Transmit.
I sure wish we could post picture here at your website.
Yes, I have used fake it a lot and it works very well. The siftware will alter the TX freq. on the radio.
I have 7610, WSJT JT alert. Works ok but VFO changes from USB-DATA to USB by itself sometimes. Any ideas?
Nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting.
In WSJT-X try Data/Pkt. for MODE.
You may also want to use Fake It for Split Operation in WSJT-X.
See if that works.
What I found happening with my IC-7300, when setting Rig to
IC-7300and using split & “Rig” in WSJT-X was that WSJT-X does *not* tell VFO-B to go into USB-D. I had to manually set VFO-B to USB-D.
So I decided to just go with “Fake It” instead. It does everything “Rig” does and I don’t have to worry about forgetting to set up VFO-B properly.
Thank you so much for posting the information here. “Fake it” does come in handy.
Thank you very much for your blog and even for the time you spend.
I am reading (Google translator) this part that interests me about how to understand.
But is it possible that you have some video?
I will appreciate your response.
73 Edmundo Ce2EC
Thank you for commenting and it’s nice to hear from you.
I mention it in video but not much.
It is good for a cleaner signal.
I’ll try to work it in a video more.
Thanks Rick for your answer,
I hope you have time and make the video.
Hello! Tell me how to set up WSJT-X to work simultaneously with two, with three stations ???
Nice to hear from you and thanks for commenting here.
Just start WSJT-X and connect to the first station (radio). Then start another WSJT-X session and connect to the second station (radio).
You could have shortcuts to start these and connect to the proper radio. The shortcut”target” path needs to be something like: C:\WSJT\wsjtx\bin\wsjtx.exe –rig-name=Icom
I think that will work, I have not tried it yet.
Hope that helps and 73,
What problem are you asking about John?
If you’re radio changes from USB-D to USB, try using none for Split Mode. Then use your radio to set the mode.
Every time I seem to have a problem your channel or page has the answer. I was playing around with the radio and changed it to rig. It seemed to work ok and then in FT8 when the feq split on transmit the entire display would flicker or distort for a fraction of a second. I couldn’t figure it out and moving back to Fake it fixed it.
Nice to hear from you and thank you so much for commenting. I really appreciate it. Thanks for visiting my webpage and watching the videos.
Hi; i am new to both Ham Radio and Ft-8. Right now I am using WSJT-X on Linux and a Yaesu FT 450D. None is checked under split operation. I find that I do not have to move my Tx frequency on the 450D for qso’s on any band in FT-8 and it works fine. The problem I have is all my contacts are recorded as “wrong band”. The WSJT-X program saves them on the band actually worked, but the receiving station is receiving on a different band. Will that change if I check “fake it’
Nice to hear from you and congrats on your station. I hope you enjoy Ham Radio as much as I do.
Fake It is used to keep your transmit freq. in the sweet spot. I recommend using it.
I am not sure I fully understand, you are working different bands or different frequencies?
What I do is leave my 450D on 17 meters (18.100) and just change bands on the wsjt-x software. It works, but as I said above, I get wrong band errors coming back on station logs (QRZ, LotW, EQSL) from other stations.
OK Ed let me see if I understand you correctly. Your radio is transmitting on 18.100. So even though you switch bands within WSJTX, your radio stays on 18.100. If your radios frequency display stays on 18.100, then that is the band you are transmitting and receiving on regardless of what WSJTX indicates.
If you switch bands with WSJTX and your radios not switching bands along with it then you do not have rig control.
Did you setup rig control in WSJTX and press the TEST and TEST PTT in the setup page? WSJTX frequency display should be the same as your radios.
Let me know. I’m not sure if I’m understanding you. Best 73!
I have flrig software to do rig control. I guess that isn’t working properly as the display on the radio doesn’t change and match the display on flrig. I guess I will have to work on that. thank you for your reply.
That should get your rig working And make things much easier. Thank you and best 73!
Sorry about the double post. We had a power flash and I wasn’t sure if it posted.
After reading your reply I did some checking and found that I never bought the serial to USB adapter cable so the rig control was not working at all. Oops. Thanks for your help
OK! Thanks for posting what you found out. Take care, be safe and that’s 73!
One thing I noticed when I use the Hold TX Freq is that my Enable TX doesn’t turn off when the caller responds to someone else. With the checkbox off, it will stop my xmit. It seems like the logic only applies when it sees someone else’s call on the Tx freq. Any way to enforce good behavior here?
Hello and thank you for commenting.
That is a very good point you make and many operators will continue to call the station even though they are busy. Many are not very familiar with FT8 and WSJT-X. Hopefully it is just a learning curve.
I will try to remember to make your point in my next video and put it in writing.
We could make TX Macro “Wait Your Turn”. Hi Hi!
Thank you again and best 73, stay safe!
I still use “none” and not split with 7610 because the tax chain is very linear and I don’t see any harmonics in the tx spectrum scope. Using fake it causes enough delay that a short burst of noise fills the spectrum scope. I have observed other transmitted signals that generate the noise burst. So it is cleaner to use none. You can see the noise if you start a ft8 transmission after the start of the period or abort early. It must have to do with wsjtx not being phase continuous at those times.
It’s nice to hear from you and thank you so much for commenting.
That is very interesting and I’ll have to take a closer look when I get home. Recently I’ve been using split through the radio and not fake it. 7610 handles it extremely well and the 7300 does too. I find the 7610 just a little quieter.
Thank you again and it’s something I look forward to checking out when I get home. Best 73!
Is this same for JS8CALL
It’s good to hear from you and thank you for commenting here. Yes, they are almost identical.
Best 73 and good DX,
I have noticed a bug or something i’m doing wrong.
Whenever I chase DX thats using F/H mode, my rig jumps out of USB-D mode to USB and obviously no TX of the signal from WSJT-X. My Heil mic becomes “live”
This issue has always happened with my IC7300 and I’ve recently got an IC7610 and the same thing happens. I have DATA/PKT selected and use “fake it” for split operation.
This is peeing me off as everytime it happens I have to quickly change the mode from USB to USB-D on the rig right at the start of the tranmission.
73 VK4VO Shaun
It’s nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting here.
It’s a glitch when using Ham Radio Deluxe as the Rig in WSJT-X. Instead of DATA/PKT use NONE and set the mode using the radio. It will stay there.
I use a CI-V cable for rig control in WSJT-X, so I’m able to use the Icom 7300 (or 7610) as the Rig under the Radio tab. Then when using DATA/PKT it stays in USB-D mode.
Try that and let me know if it’s something else. Your comments here will help others as well so thanks again for taking time.
Best holiday wishes and 73 and good DX! de KØPIR
I really like reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!
Thank you for visiting my website and thank you for commenting. Very best to you and yours and a happy New Year’s.