Back in late 2007 I wrote about what I thought was the impending demise of the JT65A mode on HF. I'm happy to report that I was wrong thanks in large part to W4CQZ (formerly W6CQZ) who developed several key components for this mode; a reverse-beacon system, a web-based chat/sked page which displays reverse-beacon data in near real-time, and an application (appropriately named JT65-HF) which improves upon the original WSJT application written by K1JT.
Each component is interesting by itself, but combined together they have generated a lot of interest and attracted a whole new breed of very active JT65-HF users; with more coming on the air every day. In 2007 interest in the mode was primarily from the US and Japan. Contrast that with this morning when my reverse-beacon logged nine European stations; including two new ones which I happily logged. Looking at global activity via the PSKReporter map it's clear that Europe is actually more active on JT65-HF than any other regions. South Africa, a rarity in 2007, has become an almost daily presence in the reverse-beacon display. I spoke yesterday with a ham friend in Egypt and hope to see North Africa in my log very soon.
None of this comes without a price, of course. There are some vociferous contingents in the HF digital world who have appointed themselves arbiters of the band-plan and created a lot of conflicts by publishing "official" bandplans which direct multiple (and often incompatible) modes to the same sub-band as part of a strategy to protect "their" channels. The group in question is skilled in search-engine optimization which means that when looking for information about digital modes you're likely to find their info first and take it for granted that this is "the law". Unfortunately this has led to a lot of people directing criticism at the JT65-HF users and (bizarrely) at people like W4CQZ for "promoting inappropriate use". Factoid for any