More on JT65A and why there there’s more to Ham Radio than Morse Code

Despite the fact that I haven’t managed to make JT65-HF work on my laptop yet, the more I read about the JT65 modes and how people are working great DX with them, the more I’m impressed.

When PSK31 came out, it slipped into the ‘almost mainstream’ as a mode for people to work DX when they didn’t have a big station for CW/SSB (wonder if we’ll get to call them legacy modes one of these days…). PSK31 has built a great following over 10 or 12 years. I see JT65A for HF following in these footsteps.

Oh yes! Talking of legacy modes… someone who I greatly admire for a number of reasons recently posted on his Facebook status,’without CW it’s just CB’.

Maybe it was a bit tongue-in-cheek – but I did laugh! What a 1980s view of the world! Sure Morse code is fun and it’ll get through in many challenging conditions. I enjoy it myself and try to use it as well as I can. It’s hardly the centre of the hobby or even advancement of the hobby, is it? To even suggest that without morse code that ham radio is just a ‘appliance service’ is pretty demeaning to people who have broader interests! And I think it’s pretty demeaning to people who enjoy CB too 😉

Anyway – have a look at these great articles from W6DTW and NW7US about JT65 – how it works and how you can use it in operation.

See the articles from David and Tomas here

Tim Kirby, G4VXE, is a regular contributor to and writes from Oxfordshire, England. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “More on JT65A and why there there’s more to Ham Radio than Morse Code”

  • Charlie wx4cb:

    my longest dx was on jt65… el99 to vk land, on 50 watts and a window frame.

  • Fred W0FMS:

    The sad thing is all of the crap I and others took because we wanted to make the licensing not require CW at all here in the states at least. It made people think we were anti-code, which we were not. I was anti-code for licensing!

    But CWis just one aspect of the hobby. I do appreciate it. But I think of how many good technical people I couldn’t convince to become a ham or lost (let license lapse) because they bored with the US Technician license and think of the irrevocable harm it did the hobby here in the states to have that requirement for so long. The sad thing is that I know at least a couple of those guys would have gone on to be accomplished CW ops anyway.

    PSK31 is about equal to CW in the ability to copy (and is slightly faster for most).. but modes like the JT modes prove that 1990’s technology can be better and “get through when nothing else can– including CW”. So that arguement was crap even back 10-15 years ago.

    But many are stuck in their ways. Many aren’t. I suppose that is one of the aspects of the hobby that is amusing, isn’t it?

    Fred W0FMS

  • Lyle N0LWF:

    I have been using JT-65 for about 10 months now and have worked over 70 countries using 25 watts or less. 5 watts is plenty. Anything over 25 watts is too much and disrupts the band for others. Be careful with JT-65 because once you start using it it becomes very addictive!

  • Jerry Taylor - KD0BIK:

    Hi Tim,

    Sorry you are having issues installing JT65-HF. If there is anything I can help with, just let me know. I use it in conjunction with HRD to control the keying of the radio. Works great.

    JT65A has become my new favorite mode. PSK31 had been my primary mode for the reasons you mentioned. My station is relatively small in the antenna department. I have a 6BTV but don’t have room for a good radial system and a hamstick dipole for 20m on a push-up pole. Of course, living in the mile high city does help. 🙂

    With JT65A I’ve worked my furthest station to Australia and just this week have added the Ukraine to my DX list. I have also worked stations in Moscow and I believe JT65A gives me the best opportunity to work those like yourself I consider good friends on an HF mode. (D-STAR is too easy)

    Keep trying my friend and let me know if I can help with anything. Once you get JT65-HF installed and running, I’m confident you’ll see the same magic in JT65 that many of us do.


  • BX2ABT:

    Maybe it’s addictive if you’re a DXer. But I recently started using SSB again and found the human communication element refreshing. Even with keyed modes like rtty/psk or cw you can have a conversation if both parties are willing. With JT-65 you have to limit yourself to 13 characters! I’ll pass for now. Maybe later.

  • Rich k2tft:

    I was skeptical at first…..but am now having a blast w/JT65. WAS< WAC & DXCC in a couple months of using this mode w/a hunk of wire antenna.

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