FT4 – New Digital Mode Designed for Contesting


FT4 new digital mode announcement

Joe Taylor, K1JT, Steve Franke, K9AN, and Bill Somerville, G4WJS April 22, 2019

Public announcement about FT4

The FT4 Protocol for Digital Contesting
The official Public Announcement about FT4

“FT4 is a special-purpose mode designed for rapid-fire contest QSOs. It serves this purpose very effectively, but like FT8 the mode is not useful for more extensive conversations. FT4 uses much less bandwidth than RTTY and provides reliable decoding at much lower signal levels. It has no need for “Super Check Partial” or similar contesting aids, and skilled operators using FT4 will find less motivation to use a DX Cluster or other non-radio aids. All information necessary to score well in a contest can be obtained over the air, during the contest, through one’s own antennas and radios. With FT4 there is little distinction between CQ and S+P operation, so it’s easy to switch frequently between the two ways of finding QSO partners. Stations using low power and compromise antennas can participate effectively in a contest using FT4.”

WSJT-X 2.1 and FT4 Mode

According to the annoucement, the FT4 Mode will be made available with version 2.1 of the popular WSJT-X software.

Starting from April 29, 2019 it will be possible to download the 2.1.0-RC5 including a set of documents that will cover the installation guide and first basic configuration, operating techniques, a more detailed FT4 protocol description and a schedule of upcoming test schedule. The final stable release, of WSJT-X 2.1 software is planned to be made available for July 15, 2019.


WSJT-XK1JTWSJT-X implements communication protocols or modes called FT8, FT4, JT4, JT9, JT65, QRA64, ISCAT, MSK144, and WSPR, as well as one called Echo for detecting and measuring your own radio signals reflected from the Moon. These modes were all designed for making reliable, confirmed QSOs under extreme weak-signal conditions. WSJT-X works on Windows Linux and MacOS. This is the official WSJT-X distribuition site.

Download FT4 Announcement