here comes FT4 - JT contest digital mode

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====== Forwarded Message ======

Date: 4/22/19 11:34 AM
Received: 4/22/19 11:37 AM -0400
From: (Joe Taylor)
To: (WSJT software development)

To:   WSJT-X users interested in testing FT4
From: K1JT, K9AN, and G4WJS

Soon after the "FT8 Roundup" held on December 1-2, 2018, we
started serious work on a faster, more contest-friendly digital
mode that can compete with RTTY-contesting QSO rates while
preserving many of the benefits of FT8.  The result is FT4 -- a
new digital mode specifically designed for radio contesting.

Over the past month a small group of volunteers have been
conducting on-the-air tests of FT4.  The early tests were very
successful and helped us to make a number of important design
decisions.  We believe FT4 has considerable promise for its
intended purpose.

We'll soon be ready for testing by a larger group.  If you might
be interested in participating and offering your considered
feedback, please read the descriptive document "The FT4 Protocol
for Digital Contesting", posted here:

We plan to post downloadable installation packages for WSJT-X
2.1.0-rc5 on April 29, one week from today.  The document linked
above includes

  - Instructions for installing WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc5 and FT4 configuration

  - Operating instructions for FT4

  - Basic description of the FT4 protocol, modulation, and waveform

  - Detailed sensitivity measurements for FT4 under a wide
variety of
    simulated propagation conditions

  - Schedule for upcoming test sessions

Please consider helping us to make FT4 a successful mode for
digital contesting

With best wishes and 73,

     -- Joe (K1JT), Steve (K9AN), and Bill (G4WJS)

Photo of Chris Tate  - N6WM

Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Posted 1 year ago

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Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Very interesting mock-contest testing - sounds like fun!



Photo of Chris Tate  - N6WM

Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Well in any case it should work effectively with the flex ecosystem.
Photo of John - K3MA

John - K3MA

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I wonder how they will prove that the operator is actually at the radio and computer making the contacts.  I know several people that are using automated systems to work FT8 contacts with no physical presence.

Photo of Pat N6PAT


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How do you know if a Flex op is really in NE when they could be operating remotely from FL?
Photo of Joe N3HEE


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It doesnt matter where the OP is located.
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Same way you prove that people aren’t using excess power or breaking other rules.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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The usual concerns of contestant propriety in meeting a contest's rules are a valid reflection on the variable interpretations and variances in personal ethics that face all contests. 

Advances in technology perhaps bring forward new nuances to consider while the core basis of a competition - that contestants trust each other enough to consider relative scores accurate - remains unchanged.

The mock-contests testing FT4 may bring out some new deep concerns, as otherwise there is little novel about FT4 different than many other forms of contesting.

The FT8 QSO, as mentioned, is fairly automated and most certainly hams have experimented with fully unattended QSO automation. 

Whether such automation is flirting with our rules we operate under, and our custom that we communicate with people via technology is challenged by such experiments.  

There well could be an argument that my running an instance of WSJT-X on FT8 while typing this community post is more hands-off than some of us might draw the line.

In a competition where the ultimate prize is personal honor it would seem a discord to one's own personal honor to cheat to take a higher spot.  YMMV as this is well into areas where people's opinions and actual actions do vary.


Back to the FT4 experiment, the scheduled mock-contests sound like a fun way to field test a new mode.  Hope many of us have a chance to participate!



FT4 Thread  (more info in comments)