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New WSJT-X 2.0-rc5 Beta Version Now Available, First “Serious” FT8 Contest this Weekend


A fifth “candidate release” — or beta version — of WSJT-X 2.0 now is available for download and use by beta testers. WSJT-X Developer Joe Taylor, K1JT, says WSJT-X 2.0-rc5 is stable, works well, and fixes known problems in RC4, the most-recent beta version released in mid-November.

“It is likely that the General Availability (GA) release of WSJT-X 2.0, scheduled for 2 weeks from today, will be nearly identical to RC5,” Taylor said on November 26. He also announced that a final FT8 “practice contest” would take place on Saturday, December 1, 0200 – 0300 UTC (Friday evening, November 30 in North American time zones).

The first “serious” FT8 contest — the FT8 Roundup — is set for the December 1 – 2 weekend. In the brand-new operating event, radio amateurs worldwide will contact and exchange information with other amateurs using FT8 on 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. Any station may work any other station. The exchange is signal report and state/province for US and Canadian participants. Non-US/VE stations will transmit a signal report and consecutive serial number starting with 001.

Taylor also noted that the ARRL RTTY Roundup January 5 – 6 will, for the first time, permit the use of FT8 as well as traditional RTTY.

Changes in RC5 relative to RC4 include correcting the “worked before” logic for color highlighting, removing the 5-minute mouse timer, displaying and logging in UTC for contests, improving the layout of Working Frequencies and Station Information tables, and allowing deletes and editing in Fox and Contest log windows.

“You may need to invoke Settings | General | Colors | Reset Highlighting on your first program start with this version,” Taylor said. Comments and suggestions have been streaming into the WSJT Development Team via the WSJT-X Development reflector. The Quick-Start Guide to WSJT-X 2.0 has again been updated to reflect the changes.

The Development Group recommends using RC5 in the conventional FT8 sub-bands at audio transmit frequencies of 2,000 Hz and higher. The latest beta versions are not backward compatible. Users of version 1.9.1 and earlier will be unable to decode RC4 and later transmissions, and vice-versa, Taylor pointed out.

“As more users upgrade their software to WSJT-X 2.0 — and particularly after the General Availability release on December 10 — the new protocol should start to dominate the conventional FT8 sub-bands,” Taylor said. “As soon as possible after December 10, everyone should upgrade to WSJT-X 2.0.” He urged those on the email reflector to spread the word that upgrading to version 2.0 after December 10 is very important. “There will be no looking back!” he said. Download links for RC5 on Windows, Linux, and macOS are found on the WSJT-X web page.

Users finding any unexpected behavior with WSJT-X 2.0-rc5 should subscribe and send a detailed report to the WSJT-Development reflector.



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