If you are looking for info on the amateur (“ham”) radio mode called JT65-HF, you’ve come to the right place.  I’m honored to be one of the earliest (#4) GAPA (TARA) JT65 awards recipients, a digital set of Maidenhead awards, records found here, and also #1 for the JT GAPA Pinnacle award.

Here are some articles & notes & links…           


Make sure you know the standard “sequence” (the back-and-forth exchange) of a QSO — each piece takes 1 minute.  Key note: only proceed to the next step if you heard that the other station proceeded to his next step – otherwise, repeat the step you’re on until you hear him proceed.  The buttons in the JT65-HF software show the natural progress of a contact – the first row of buttons if you’re doing the CQ, and the second row of buttons if you’re answering a CQ.

  1. CQ N0RQ EM13         (I CQ)
  2. N0RQ W1AW FN31    (he answers with his grid)
  3. W1AW N0RQ -06       (I send signal report)
  4. N0RQ W1AW R-13     (he sends Roger and my signal report)
  5. W1AW N0RQ RRR      (I acknowledge receipt of his report)
  6. N0RQ W1AW 73        (he sends a standard or freeform 73)
  7. 10W DIPOLE 73         (I send a freeform or standard 73 – contact is over)

To do this in JT65-HF, you can click on the appropriate buttons, OR double-click on the signal you received.  See this picture:


The CQing station would use the row of buttons pointed to by the purple arrows, and the responding station would use the row of buttons pointed to by the red arrows.  OR, you can double-click on the signal you want to respond to (blue arrow area), and the next logical exchange sequence will be generated and sent — refer to steps #1-7 above.


  • Here is an introductory article on JT65-HF, which I was pleased to have published on eham.net.
  • Check out W7GJ’s excellent “JT65 setup checklist for new users“.
  • A note on POWER OUTPUT:  JT65-HF is a weak-signal mode;  that doesn’t necessarily mean QRP, but it does generally mean that you run low-power, usually lower power than PSK31.  Start with 5 watts (or even less, especially up upper-HF bands), increase to 10 if needed, sometimes maybe even 20 or 30w (mainly on lower-HF bands for DX contacts), but please keep it low, so as to avoid blasting the receivers of guys listening for the really weak signals.  A large percentage of my QSOs are easily done with 5w (or less), a quite a few with 10w, and a small minority with 20w or higher.  Check out this Power Calculator…  And see my note down at the bottom of this page about power output I used in 1000 QSOs…
  • What does JT65 on HF sound like?  Click for a 10-second mp3 file that has a recording of 2 JT65-HF signals at the same time.
  • Please take the time to read the well-written manual (and the v1.0.9 addendum), which are the two .PDF files found in your Program Files/JT65HF### folder– it will be worth your while!
  • MANY JT65-HF users use Logbook of the World (LOTW).  This is digital amateur radio, cutting-edge stuff, after all!  We urge you to use LOTW.  Sure, the sign-up may be a bit cumbersome (to maintain integrity), but once done, it is done.  It is a quick and easy (and cheap!) way to get QSOs confirmed.  Go here for some excellent LOTW setup instructions.
  • And if you don’t want to do LOTW, at least consider using eQSLNote:  it is to your advantage to use LOTW and/or eQSL — some guys are much less likely to answer your CQ if there is no easy/electronic way of getting confirmation.
  • TARA has some nice Grid Awards for digital modes, including JT65.  If you get 250 confirmed grids, you can get a certificate, and be placed in the JT65 table near the bottom of this page.  (I got #4! 🙂 )

JT65-HF “BAND OF THE DAY” trial plan (new for 2012, which is mainly to encourage more use of the lesser-used bands):  the ones in BOLD are highlighted because those tend to be the under-utilized bands where we especially want to encourage more use…

DAYs of the month (in UTC/GMT) MHz band USB dial freq(s) in kHz
1st (also 2nd) 1 160m 1838, others?
3rd (also 4th) 3 80m 3576
5th (also 6th) 5 60m ARRL has indicated in this article that most digital modes (which includes JT65) ARE allowed on 60m after all!  Set your rig to proper 60m USB DIAL freqs (I suggest channel 3 first, then 2 as a 2nd option).  Set JT65-HF to DF of +229 or +230 (so your signal is center-of-channel), make sure there are no other signals on the freq, and go!  ARRL-recommended practices are here.
7th (also 8th-9th) 7 40m 7076 (sometimes 7039 outside of USA)
10th (also 11th-13th) 10 30m 10138, give or take a bit (I’ve been setting it on 10137.8 lately, to avoid WSPR/Propnet at 10139)
14th (also 15th-17th) 14 20m 14076 (already a very busy band)
18th (also 19th-20th) 18 17m 18102
21st (also 22nd-23rd) 21 15m 21076
24th (also 25th-27th) 24 12m 24917
28th (also 29th-31st) 28 10m 28076
(do when band open) 50 6m 50276

Software downloads:

  • JT65-HF itself: download the latest software and setup doc – thanks, Joe, W6CQZ, for an excellent program!
  • JT-Utilities, including JT-Alert, superb companion to JT65-HF, with visual/audio alerts and logging tools;  get it, because it is very useful – thanks, Laurie, VK3AMA!

Having VERY accurate PC time is mandatory for this mode — within 2 seconds might work, within 1 second should probably work, but being 0.5 seconds off or less is the norm.  The built-in Windows time sync won’t do it (reliably).  Trust us on that.  You need other (free) software.  The two most common are:

  • D4 time sync – easy, though if using in Win7, set it to run as Admin and in WinXP compatibility mode
  • Meinberg time sync (English page), sometimes used on Win7, because some guys have problems with D4 in Vista/Win7
  • (other options include a Atomic Clock Sync, KarenWare, TARDIS, BktTimeSync, or even a GPS unit hooked to your computer)


Reporting / spots / receptions:

  • Hamspots site – automatically done-by-the-software spots (in JT65-HF), for “cluster”-type spots for JT65-HF and other digital modes — allows you to see who is hearing your signal, etc.

A note about power output in JT65-HF:

Aug. 2012:  After 18 months on JT65-HF, I finally hit the 1000 QSO mark.  Out of curiosity, I went back and checked the power levels used.  (I always fill in that blank in the LOG QSO window.)

Being a fan of keeping it low, at least on JT65 and other digital modes, here are the results.  Note that a vast majority of these are in the mid- and lower-HF bands.

5 watts or less: 43%  <–\
6 to 10 watts  : 24%   <— note, that’s 2/3 of all QSOs with 10w or less…
11 to 20 watts : 14%
21 to 30 watts :  8%
over 30 watts  : 11%

My take on it: 5 to 10 watts is plenty most of the time.  And as some guys have experienced, 1 watt or less does the trick a lot of the time.  Obviously, it will depend on antenna and conditions, but I’d encourage anyone to try a default of 5 or 10 instead of 30 or 50 — you will make contacts!  🙂