Monday, June 10, 2019

FT4 Beta "Release Candidate 7" in Use Until Mid-July

Sample FT4 screen (from WSJT-X website)
An improved "release candidate" version of the WSJT-X 2.1.0 digital program suite – including the new contest-focused FT4 mode – was made available for testing in early June and should be in use through the end of the CQ World Wide VHF Contest on July 2, although its availability during the contest is uncertain. 

Release candidate 7 was issued after a "serious bug" was discovered in version 6, according to the ARRL. The newest version features several enhancements over previous release candidates. A mock contest was held on June 4 and 5 to test the new software under "real-world" conditions. Co-developer Joe Taylor, K1JT, reported on that he operated for approximately three hours, making 143 contacts in 29 states, 5 Canadian provinces and 15 DX locations. 

FT4 will not be available for use during the ARRL June VHF Contest or ARRL Field Day. It is unclear whether it will be available during the CQ World Wide VHF Contest on July 20-21, as Taylor says he anticipates a "general release" version of the software by "mid-July." For more about FT4, see June CQ's "Contesting" column and the July issue's "VHF-Plus" column.
In a related item, the ARRL reports that the latest TQSL update for its Logbook of the World (LoTW) program includes FT4 as a submode of MFSK. In addition, the 11.8 update includes two new satellites, AISAT-1 and PO-101.