Digital Ham Radio apps such as WSPR and WSJT-X FT8 are time-synchronous and require the computer clock to be accurate to within a second for signal decoding. 

Running FT8 and others on my Linux Mint system and Raspberry Pi was a fairly easy setup. Thinking that running these digital apps on Windows 10 would be straight-forward, it was just a matter of finding software to synchronize my Windows 10 system clock. References to Dimension 4 for Windows were plastered everywhere so I made the attempt.

As it turns out, Windows 10 and Dimension4 are 100% incompatible. My first attempt was to do the install just like any other app. However, Dimension 4 complained about the Windows Time Service. 

After disabling the Windows Time Service, rebooting and then attempting to run Dimension 4,  I got the proverbial “Error Starting Service” message. Yes, of course I have administrator privileges. 

At this point I gave it one more shot using the “Windows 10 troubleshoot compatibility” install option. After this attempt I ended up with the same idiotic “Error Starting Service” message. 

It seems that Dimension 4  may have been a good app at one time but today it’s a different world. Hams have installed Dimension 4 thinking their PC clock was synchronized but are still unable to decoding incoming signals.

Copied this info from a discussion group about Dimension 4 Vs Meinberg NTP. Found this quote to be amusing but true: “The difference basically is between continuously steering the clock to accuracy versus slapping it upside the head at pre-set intervals. (Basically NTP vs SNTP). However there is no difference for most end users. Use whatever works.”

Basically Dimension 4 has been an unsupported app for a very long time. Don’t know about you but I don’t want any back doors into my O/S. Unsupported apps can lead to a security vulnerabilities where Meinberg is still maintained and is properly installed as a service! Anyone who has knowledge of any variant of ‘NIX knows a service is the proper way to run an app on any client or server.

Unlike prior versions of Windows, Windows 10 now has greater control over apps that affect system internals such as the system clock. Last updated in 2004, Dimension 4 knows nothing about the additional security features of Windows 10. 

The moral of the story is, despite all these references to Dimension 4 everywhere, install MeinbergNTP for Windows. Meinberg NTP for Windows is also a free app and is the official Network Time Protocol client software. The NTP deamon has been around for eons on all ‘NIX operating systems. Nothing will ever keep your Windows 10 system clock more accurate than Meinberg NTP for Windows.

If you happen to be one of those Elmers who talks about Dimension 4…PLEASE STOP!!! Dimension 4 is just a very old, unsupported program.

Click here for the Meinberg NTP app.

Click here to check your PC clock’s accuracy. 

Chick here for the WSJT-X app. 

Click here for WSPRnet