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It is known that the performance of a SOVA (soft output Viterbi algorithm) turbo decoder can be improved, as the extrinsic information that is produced at its output is over-optimistic. A new parameter associated with the branch metrics calculation in the standard Viterbi algorithm is introduced that affects the turbo code performance. Different parameter values show a simulation improvement in the AWGN channel as well as in an uncorrelated Rayleigh fading channel. By choosing the best value of this parameter, a coding gain improvement of 0.25 dB at BER of 10-5 is achieved compared to existing schemes.