Getting Started with K1JT modes using WSJT-X, JTAlert, and DXLab

tnx to Björn SM7IUN, Rich VE3KI, Joe W4TV, Paul N1BUG, Jeff K2BM, Laurie VK3AMA, and Bill G4WJS for the information in this article

WSJT-X uses a soundcard connected to your transceiver to implement communication protocols or "modes" called FT8, JT4, JT9, JT65, QRA64, ISCAT, MSK144, and WSPR, as well as one called Echo for detecting and measuring your own radio signals reflected from the Moon. These modes were all designed for making reliable, confirmed QSOs under extreme weak-signal conditions.

JTAlert interoperates with WSJT-X and DXLab applications to provide

This article provides guidance for installing and using both WSJT-X and JTAlert with DXLab applications. Note that some recommended settings are not required for successful interoperation; these settings are identified with a parenthetical (user preference).

Installing and configuring the software

Install Commander, and configure it to control your transceiver. Confirm that it can control your transceiver's frequency and mode, and switch your transceiver between receiving and transmitting.

Install WSJT-X and JTAlert per their respective instructions.

If you aren't already running an application that synchronizes your computer clock with an internet-accessible time standard, install one and initiate it:

If you're using Windows 10, enable Let apps use my microphone in the Settings window's Microphone section. If this option is disabled, applications will be prevented from using any audio device.


Start WSJT-X.

  1. If you want to avoid the splash screen at startup, check the do not show again box in it's lower right.

  2. Open the settings menu (open the File menu's Settings command, or strike the F2 key)

    1. On the General tab,

      1. Enter your call sign, locator grid, and IARU region on the General tab

      2. Uncheck the Show DXCC entity and worked before status box, as JTALert is a better source of this information

      3. Check the TX messages to Rx frequency window box so you can more easily follow the progress of your QSO (user preference).

    2. On the Radio tab

      1. In the Rig dropdown menu, select DXLab Suite Commander

        • This enables WSJT-X to control your radio via Commander, rather than via a serial port, or a virtual serial port created by a USB connection.
        • If you've configured Commander to use other than TCP port 52002, then specify the port TCP Commander is using in the CAT Control panel on the WSJT-X Radio tab

      2. set the Poll Interval to 1 second

      3. Select CAT as the PTT method (in this context, PTT refers to switching the radio between reception and transmission)

        • Alternatively, if you have a separate COM port connected to a device with PTT capability triggered by the assertion of the port's DTR or RTS modem control signal, you can configure WSJT-X to use it, as doing so will provide more accurate PTT timing. If you choose this approach, however, don't configure Commander to use the same COM port for PTT, as WSJT-X would then be denied access to the COM port.

        • If Commander cannot switch your radio between reception and transmission, then consider an alternate selection for PTT method, e.g. VOX.

      4. Select the Mode that is appropriate for your radio.

        • If your radio provides a DATA mode, then select Data/Pkt

        • Otherwise, choose USB

      5. Set the Split operation to Rig. This setting won't work with some radios, in which case you should instead use Fake it.

      6. Use the two buttons at the bottom tab to test the interaction with Commander
        • Click the Test CAT button; it should turn green after a few seconds.

        • Test your PTT with the Test PTT button to the right of the Test CAT button; clicking it should switch your radio from receiving to transmitting, and clicking it again should switch your radio back to receiving

    3. On the Audio tab

      1. in the Soundcard panel, select the appropriate soundcard Input and Output sections

        • You may need to adjust levels in Windows audio settings for best operation. The WSJT-X documentation describes how to do this. The best settings may not be optimal for !Winwarbler operation so you may have to find a compromise.
      2. in the Remember power settings by band panel, check Transmit and Tune boxes

    4. On the Reporting tab

      1. check the Prompt me to Log QSO box

      2. check the Accept UDP requests box

      3. check the Notify on accepted UDP request box (user preference)

      4. check the Accepted UDP requests restores window box (user preference)

    5. On the Frequencies tab,

      1. Set the Frequency Calibration panel's Slope and Intercept to 0

      2. Set the Offset to 0 in any entries in the Station Information panel

    6. On the Advanced tab, enable Two pass decoding to allow HF-style JT65 operation to make more decodes if CPU performance is sufficient (user preference)

  3. Click the OK button to complete configuration.

  4. If the waterfall display is not enabled, enable it by selecting the View menu's Waterfall command


Start JTAlert.

  1. The first time you start JTAlert, it will probably inform you that the WSJT-X grid square differs from the default JTAlert grid square. Correct this by entering your grid square and clicking the OK button.

  2. Click in the JTAlert window's title bar, and open its Settings window by either striking the F11 key, or by clicking on Settings in the window's top bar. This window provides access to all settings via a tree control in a panel on the left side; in this tree control, click on a + box to expand a section; click on a - box to contract a section.

    1. Expand the Logging section in the left-side panel

      1. check the Mark QSO upload to LoTW as "Requested" box

      2. check the Mark QSO upload to eQSL as "Requested" box

      3. consider checking the Log propagation data, SFI, A-index, and K-index box

    2. Expand the Logging section's DXLab DXKeeper sub-section

      1. Check the Enable box at the top

      2. If you use eQSL and want automatic uploads, check the Instruct DXKeeper to upload each new QSO to eQSL box

      3. If you use LoTW and want automatic uploads, check the Instruct DXKeeper to upload each new QSO to LoTW box

    3. Expand the Applications section in the left-side panel, and then expand its DXLab Suite sub-section

      1. Consider checking the DXKeeper/DXView/Pathfinder Lookup on new DX Call box (note the alternatives to individually direct DXKeeper, DXView, or Pathfinder to perform lookups)

      2. Consider checking the Post decoded Callsigns to SpotCollector as local spots box

    4. If you wish to log the current SFI, A-index, and K-index with each QSO, expand the Window section in the left-side panel, expand its Band Activity Display sub-section. and check the Enable Band Activity Display box on the right-side panel.

    5. Expand the Web Services section in the left-side panel, and then expand its Online XML Callbooks sub-section; if you have a or XML subscription,

      1. select the subscription you wish to use
      2. specify your Callsign and Password in the appropriate XML Lookup panel

      3. select the Logging section in the left-side panel and consider each of the options that govern XML lookups

    6. The Alerts section in the left-side panel contains many settings, but they are all based on personal preference and you can leave them at default for now. With time you will develop an opinion on how you want them set.

    7. In the Scan Log and Rebuild section in the left-side panel, synchronize JTAlert's database with your DXKeeper log:

      1. check the Enable this Scan box for each geographic entity you are pursuing

      2. check the Confirmation boxes appropriately for the awards you are pursuing

      3. click the Scan All (enabled) button in the upper-right corner

      4. when complete,
        • click the Ok (Apply) button

        • then click the SAVE button in the Scan Log and Update section

  3. close the Settings window



If you are running SpotCollector version 8.2.7 or later, uncheck the Enabled box on the WSJT-X panel on the Configuration window's Spot Sources tab.


Uncheck the Split box on Commander's Main window before starting WSJT-X.

Detailed descriptions of how to operate, QSO protocol etc. including suggested settings for the waterfall can be found in the WSJT-X documentation, accessible via WSJT-X's Help menu, and in

Note: after unsuccessfully pursuing a QSO, strike the ESC or F4 key to ensure that the WSJT-X Log QSOs window proposes an accurate start time for the next QSO.

After making any change to your DXKeeper log that updates your award progress, like marking QSOs confirmed via an incoming QSL card, or invoking Sync LoTW QSLs, synchronize JTAlert's database with your updated log:

  1. on JTAlert's Settings window, expand the left-side panel's Scan Log and Rebuild section

  2. check the Enable this Scan box for each geographic entity you are pursuing

  3. click the Scan All (enabled) button

  4. when complete,
    1. click the Ok (Apply) button in the upper-right corner

    2. then click the SAVE button on the Scan Log and Update section

Note that JTAlert can only access DXKeeper's log while DXKeeper is running. If DXKeeper is not running when you log a QSO, the resulting orphan QSO will be retained in WSJT-X's internal minilog, which is named wsjtx_log.adif and resides in the folder that appears when you direct WSJT-X to run the File menu's Open Log Directory command. To recover such orphan QSOs, you can either enable the Check duplicates on import option on the Import QSOs tab of DXKeeper's Main window with a range of 1 minute and then import wsjtx_log.adif, or -- if wsjtx_log.adif contains a large number of QSOs -- you can use a text editor to copy and paste only the orphan QSOs from wsjtx_log.adif into a new orphan.adi file, and import the orphan.adi into DXKeeper without Check duplicates on import enabled.

Additional Topics

Post a question or suggestion on the DXLab Discussion Group

Interoperation with Other Amateur Radio Applications

Getting Started with DXLab

GettingStartedwithK1JTModesWithJTAlert (last edited 2020-02-27 14:40:23 by AA6YQ)