WSJT-X keeps its own log in ADIF and text format which is fine for uploading, although you'd need to ensure that you're only uploading or importing the contacts logged since the previous upload. Also it records minimal information so if you want to record the US state for instance it lacks that capability, so I've typically entered JT65 contacts by hand into my logging program (DXLab/DXKeeper in my case) and suffered the consequences of various typos.
I'd heard about a program called JT-Alert but never found the time to try it until Canada Day, when I was cleaning up the shack and doing some research. The program was written by VK3AMA and is a free download for various versions of Windows. The advantage of JT-Alert is that it works with various logging programs to determine whether the call signs picked up by WSJT-X have been worked before on the same band and mode (WSJT-X will only tell you if you've worked the station before on any band or JT mode) and whether it's a new zone, country, state or grid (selectable by band so I only have grids set up on VHF, for instance). It even has a voice alert that will announce things like "New Grid" in your choice of male or female British voices, assuming you have a separate sound card from the one you use to connect to your radio.
The program supports standard ADIF files, DXLAB DXKeeper, HRD V5 or V6, Log4OM and MixW (CSV File), meaning it will work for just about everyone. It will also work with JT65-HF, which is an alternative implementation of the JT65 protocol with slightly different features.
So now the suite of software I run for JT65 and JT9 are as follows:
- WSJT-X V1.5
- JTAlertX 2.6.3
- DXLab DXKeeper 13.0.6
- Meinberg NTP (Network time protocol which is essential to keep your system clock in synch)
- PSKreporter (although this is a service, not a program you download)
- TrustedQSL which DXKeeper uses to upload and synchronize logs with ARRL Logbook of the World (LoTW)
- JT-Alert (at least with the settings I have currently) will advise me of new continents, zones, countries, grids (on 6m, as I've set it that way) and states for any station I've not worked before on that band and mode -
whether they're calling CQ or not. In the 10 seconds available to decide what to to after seeing all the decodes come through, there's still some excitement in picking the best station to respond to that's actually calling CQ. The ideal way to do this is to look use the "decodes history" window but unfortunately you need to look at the right hand column to see whose calling CQ, then the left column to choose the best option to respond to, then find that station in the WSJT-X decode display, and then double click on it.
- The programs should be started in a particular order. Meinberg NTP starts automatically on system startup, which is good because it can take 20 minutes or so to synchronize the system clock with network time. Then DXKeeper should be started. This is most important because otherwise JT-Alert will start it in the background. It will successfully look up stations that are heard in the DXKeeper log, but fail to actually log completed contacts. You will not be able to bring up the DXKeeper user interface either, as it will tell you that it's already running. Then JT-Alert can be started and it will prompt you to start WSJT-X.
- There are several versions of JT-Alert that will be installed. You need to use the one that matches the JT65 program you are using. JT-Alert X is the one for WSJT-X.
- It would be nice if I could somehow tell whether a "new country" was (a) never worked on any band (b) never worked on the band that I'm currently on (c) never worked on the mode (JT9 vs. JT65) that I'm currently using, or (d) whether it's just the band/mode combination that is new. I would give higher priority to stations earlier on the list.
- In the end though, I will work anyone anywhere if I haven't worked them on that band/mode combination before. It's just that new countries, grids and states will be worked first.
- In a week I haven't worked a single new country, although I've heard a couple (India and Indonesia) and worked some new band/country combinations on 30m and 17m.
JT-Alert is a way better method than what I was doing before, which was scrambling to look up stations I'd seen on the WSJT Band Activity window to see if I'd worked them on that band. This way is much more relaxing, but still has an element of decision making. I imagine someone, somewhere, is working on an add-on to run a fully automated station. That would be an interesting challenge to correctly respond to some of the non-standard messages that you see in this mode, and also to limit QRM with other stations on the band. Such a program would also ideally manipulate the power level of the transmitter to match the station being called. If see a station below -15db, for instance, I'll usually up the power, and if they're showing -5db or more, I'll usually lower it. Then I'll further adjust power based on the signal report I receive, sometimes taking observations of fading into account. If I answer a station calling CQ who then calls CQ again, I'll also up the power. Sometimes they don't hear me because I'm not the only station calling, but other times it's because they don't hear me as well as I hear them.