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Author Topic: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.  (Read 1123 times)

Matt285

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Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« on: January 23, 2020, 0026 UTC »
Just venting, but I'm starting to hate digital modes on HF. Ham Call DX spots has the option of filtering between Phone, Digital and 'Traditionally' CW modes yet I see frequencies such as 7.078 on 40 and 10.138 on 30 when I filter. I don't know if digital is killing HF or keeping it alive? Just an irritated CW op I suppose. A part of me likes to think theres room for all the various modes, but I also think it takes away from the initiative of learning Morse.....but, I digress 

Offline NJQA

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2020, 1318 UTC »
The guys in the local club have grown tired of my rants about FT8.  I just go numb when I hear a newbie talking about making DXCC a month after getting his license...all on FT8.  They donít know what they are missing.  The point is the journey, not the destination.  You donít value things that come too easy.

CW however, has actually seen a bit of an increase among the new hams here.  I donít know why, but some of our new hams have put forth the effort to learn and operate on CW.

At a VHF conference a little while ago I heard some of the contesters complaining about FT8.  The rovers in particular were having trouble raising stations to run through the bands because the home stations were parked on the FT8 frequency and had stopped scanning the bands.

Matt285

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2020, 1412 UTC »
Just realized I meant to type 'Incentive' to learn. Glad someone shares my view on FT8. Shall we start a petition? Ha

Matt285

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2020, 1433 UTC »
Forgot to respond to the other part. Yes you are right about a bit of a rise in the interest to learn CW. I hear a lot about the new 'Apps' people are using to practice on their phones. Glad to see technology making a positive difference!

Matt285

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2020, 2335 UTC »
One thing I guess is good about it is using it to gauge possible propagation between various areas from your QTH. I also heard there is a way to kind of let it go autopilot on it's own and see who 'Pings' you. Not sure of the details though. As I said, to each their own. Radio has gone through many changes over the years. Im sure people claimed SSB would destroy AM or that people were going to become addicted to SSTV...... Still hate it though!  Lol

Offline NJQA

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2020, 1243 UTC »
Donít get me wrong - I think what K1JT has done with weak signal detection is amazing.  His work with EME software has made moonbounce possible for small footprint stations.  Ditto his meteor scatter SW.

I have no problem with his weak signal algorithms.  My problem has been with automation of the QSO process.  His implementation has the operators involvement being nothing more than clicking a button to log the QSO...and modified code is available that allows you to run in full robot mode.  I saw one of Joe Taylorís presentations where he had a slide of suspected ďrobotĒ stations (based upon the fact that they ran 24/7), and I have seen the robot SW for sale on eBay.  The days of fully automated stations working each other have already started. 

If you ever find a first edition (circa 1983) copy of W9KNIís book ďThe Complete DXerĒ, it is worth reading.  He has stories in it of tuning through the bands searching for DX, and puzzling out the rare and not so rare stuff.  It took some skill to find and work a rare one back then, and it was very rewarding when you were successful.  Today, with DX spotting networks, etc it is much more like shooting fish in a barrel. Now full automation has removed the last vestige of necessary operator skill. 

Maybe this explains some of the renewed interest in learning CW.  Maybe these are operators that are seeking some of the satisfaction you find in doing something difficult and succeeding...

Its like I said before: People donít value things that come too easily.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 1246 UTC by NJQA »

Offline WA4FHY

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2020, 0542 UTC »
Quote
...home stations were parked on the FT8 frequency and had stopped scanning the bands.

My observation in the past few VHF / UHF contests, including the one a couple of weekends ago,
is just like what NJQA said above. I could hear a lot of stations on 50.313 but little, if any,
activity in the phone and cw portions of the band. Monitoring 50.313 for FT8 is a good propagation
tool but, personally, I don't care for the automated contacts.

JS8Call might be an improvement but I haven't played with it beyond installing the s/w. I understand that
it is more keyboard to keyboard, like the good ol' days of RTTY! :)
SDR-IQ / IC-R70 / IC-735 / FT-817ND / FT-991A, RSPduo,5 band vertical
Near Music City, TN

Offline Josh

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2020, 2120 UTC »
On  like note, the HAM repeater traffic I hear is always the same few people who know each other locally, not newcomers or even people driving past the area - however that does happen. I suppose this is to be expected among friends. So, if people don't have anything to say or anyone they actually want to talk to, we might rationally expect more digital modes where pc talks to pc in the future. I like them in the sense I get to see how far away my peanut whistle can be heard, but they're hardly a qso mode.

There is/was a crew who ran 300 baud packet, kb to kb, on 20m who welcomed newcomers. Well, at least there was, dunno if they still play there or not. Packet on hf is neat because it's not supposed to work there but it does. Also on a like (BFSK) note, there are guys who will ragchew on rtty, just gatta catch them.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 2124 UTC by Josh »
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Offline NJQA

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2020, 1414 UTC »
On  like note, the HAM repeater traffic I hear is always the same few people who know each other locally, not newcomers or even people driving past the area - however that does happen. I suppose this is to be expected among friends.

Many clubs, repeaters, or nets are not welcoming of newcomers.  I donít think they are necessarily hostile, they just donít take that extra step of creating a welcoming, fun atmosphere that makes people want to be there.  I am as guilty as the next guy of only talking to my friends and ignoring others.

The local club here has a reputation of being a fun place to be and we have a lot of new blood.  It wasnít always that way - no one said a word to me the first meeting I went to years ago.  Today we have one guy who goes out of his way to greet all newcomers - whether on the repeater or at the meetings.  Itís not an ďofficialĒ job...it is just his nature.  Another club I was once a member of was in an area with a transient population.  They went so far as to station a couple of guys near the front door to look for new faces and welcome them to the meeting.

Itís funny how a single individual can be the catalyst that makes a club successful...or a poison pill that drives people away.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2020, 1416 UTC by NJQA »

Matt285

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2020, 1425 UTC »
Im going a bit off course based on the original topic, but yes. A lot of hams are very 'Clicky'I have noticed that most people are using the newer long range machines to keep up with friends up North. Nothing wrong with that, but people should be more welcoming. I talk with friends on repeaters, but I always pause to ask if anyone would like to join the QSO. Another bad experience I had was going to my first field day. Mostly a bunch of angry old men that acted completely miserable the whole time. I also remember an Italian man that had an amazing fist, but acted like a total diva. He was making demands left and right. Even requesting multiple times that someone move a fan ever so slightly to blow just the right breeze on him. And they went along with it. Needless to say I never went back. My house is much more comfortable.   

Offline Josh

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2020, 2203 UTC »
I hear ya. Oft have I cried out during a heated jt65 exchange "move the fan, for I've got the vapours!" and no one was near to comply! Woe is me.
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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Digital modes on HF... love it or hate it.
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2020, 1505 UTC »
I am slowly working on getting my Viking II operational, so I can run it on 160m AM. Pretty much the polar opposite of the newfangled digital modes  :)
Chris Smolinski
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