New Digital Mode FT4

Joe Taylor K1JT has announced a new digital mode in WSJT-x V2.1, FT4, which is 2.5 times faster than FT8

FT4 is a digital mode designed specifically for radio contesting. Like FT8, it uses fixed-length transmissions, structured messages with formats optimized for minimal QSOs, and strong forward error correction. T/R sequences are 6 seconds long, so FT4 is 2.5 × faster than FT8 and about the same speed as RTTY for radio contesting.

FT4 can work with signals 10 dB weaker than needed for RTTY, while using much less bandwidth.

FT4 message formats are the same as those in FT8 and encoded with the same (174,91) low-density parity check code. Transmissions last for 4.48 s, compared to 12.64 s for FT8. Modulation uses 4-tone frequency-shift keying at approximately 23.4 baud, with tones separated by the baud rate. The occupied bandwidth (that containing 99% of transmitted power) is 90 Hz

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. Stations using low power and/or compromise antennas can participate effectively in a contest using FT4.

Further information on FT4 -