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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations

Jose Nunes (CT1BOH) on May 2, 2013
View comments about this article!

The discussion about merging Assisted and Non Assisted categories, very passionate as one would expect, is interesting because in my view it has to do with different ways to look at the value of information (callsign and frequency data). This information (call sign and frequency data) has different value depending on what generation you are coming from. I see three dividing generations:

The paper log generation
The SO2R generation
The SDR generation

In the paper log generation we have people who started and had success in their contesting careers when there was only one radio on the table, no PCs or packet systems. Back then the most important skill was to decide when to stop the RUN and go on S&P mode. Stopping the RUN to go on the hunt in S&P mode was fundamental, because it was the only way to increase in dramatic terms the multiplier numbers.

The SO2R generation came to full throttle with PC, advanced loggers and station automation.

The big thing about SO2R generation is they managed to extend the contesting time from 48 hours to ~77 hours because they can listen to a second radio while the first radio is transmitting (~60% of the time of the contest). Also the contest was accelerated in a way that demands both physical and concentration abilities not necessary with a SO1R scenario (paper log generation). To the SO2R generation operators the value of callsign and frequency data is less than the value attributed to the same data by Paper log generation operators. SO2R operators have more time to work the multipliers. The game has a very different nature.

In the recent SDR generation another dramatic event has occurred that is changing and shaping contesting. The contest went from audio only to audio/visual event. Not only the operator is listening to the audio of his channel but at the same time he is seeing the full band and the individual traces of the stations in the panadapter with different resolutions. The SDR generation went from a 500hz dimension event to a full band dimension event and for real hard core SDR operator to a full six band dimension in six different panadapters. The value of call sign and frequency data to SDR generation operators is less than the value attributed by SO2R generation operators because it is easier for them to get to stations and of course it is much less than the value attributed to paper log generation operators that can only work rare multipliers by stopping their RUN.

But a question remains, is the value of callsign and frequency data zero or close to zero so that we can say merging the Assisted and Non Assisted categories has no consequences? No, there is still value in callsign and frequency data. Looking at Top SOAB versus top SOAB Assisted station and MS stations, I estimate the value of callsign and frequency data to be around 10% percent. A top SOAB that decides to jump into SOAB Assisted category and do things right (i.e. follow only the really valuable “spots”) will be able to increase his multiplier totals by around 10%.

A laughable point to me in this discussion is the notion transmitted by paper log generation that they are the ones who know how to do things and they do it the noble way. I say laughable, even though I have great admiration by some of those paper log generation icon operators, because they have no idea of what they are talking about. They are stuck in a time and in a contest that will not go back, and try to preach to a generation that doesn’t want to go back because things are more interesting, more intense and for sure a lot more fun to them. The paper log generation unique skill of knowing when to stop the run and go S&P is no longer necessary when using SO2R and SDR/Panadapters and topped with assistance it’s even more heartbreaking to them. But that’s the ways things are. There’s no time machine and the clock keeps ticking forward… In an image the paper log generation operate as if they are stuck inside a cave listening to a signal coming from the end of the cave, while the SDR generation are out at night looking at every signal in the universe represented by the stars.

I consider myself in the SDR generation because that is the way I operate from CR3E. I have no problems combining the Assisted and the Non Assisted category. It is an inexorable trend and I have no doubt it will be just a matter of time, sooner than later. It is what the SDR generation want, I dare to say, because contesting will become more interactive, more “social”, more integrated, more real time and for sure a lot more attractive to the younger generation.

But have not doubts that the winners in the SDR generation need to posses more skills than the ones that were needed in the paper log generation or in the SO2R generation.

Member Comments:
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The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by NQ3X on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Let me get some popcorn. This ought to get interesting...
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by W1JKA on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Re:NQ3X

Xtra butter on mine please,the preview has me confused already.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by KG4RUL on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Why not take it to it's logical end - a program that:

- Adds a burst of digital data, at the end of each synthesized voice CQ sent, containing all pertinent data for the transmitting station

- Adds enough capability to the receiving side to look for signals, decode the data burst and determine if it is a CQ for the contest(s) that we are interested in

- If the CQ is one we are interested in, replies to the CQ automatically with a synthesized voice response and a data burst

- Both stations send 73, log the "contact" and move on to the next "contact"

The operator does not even have to be in the room to have made a "contact"!

Combine this with a remote controlled, super contest station and you have nirvana and ZERO challenge!
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N1DVJ on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Ok, maybe it's because I'm not a contester, but WTF is it with all the abbreviations that make no sense to me?
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by K8QV on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"A laughable point to me in this discussion is the notion transmitted by paper log generation that they are the ones who know how to do things and they do it the noble way. I say laughable, even though I have great admiration by some of those paper log generation icon operators, because they have no idea of what they are talking about."

Generation, as in this case performed, always takes it back to the origins. When the logging methodology, or parameters, of a logging process obfuscate intention and relevance, it's another ballgame. There was an old dog food commercial, back in the days when television wasn't high definition so it could be ignored in this age, that said, "The sauce is in the cube." Remember that? Chances are, no, but that does remind me of the Johnny Mathis hit song, though it was pressed on vinyl, brings us back to the point. The point, or culmination of, or relevance of, all available information, as long as it is transmitted, received, and understood digitally, not analog! Heaven forbid! We are the Brave New World and our ancestors are to be reviled, as they are not us. Actually I should say "we" but few detect the nuance of correct versus incorrect. But I digress. Remember, the sauce is in the cube, or at least it used to be. Bravo to the author, who has great humility and expertise. The subject at hand is crucial, or possibly irrelevant, to the heart of the matter, which is how to enjoy a hobby. Another hobby is bowling, and my bowling ball is superior to those of the olden days, and nights, because it is digital! Of course, the music is also digital and is missing many high and low frequencies that could be captured on vinyl - remember Johnny Mathis? Indeed! Consideration of the bloviation proliferating thusly, particularly around these parts, and by parts I mean the whole, doesn't it? I thought not. I hope I've made myself clear. That is not to say transparent, but certainly not opaque, or wrinkled.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by TANAKASAN on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I must be a mixture.......

Yes, I still keep my log on paper because it isn't just sheets of paper filled full of lines of text. There's also diagrams drawn during on-air discussions, results of tests on various front end designs and significant events that might have happened that day. However, I also have a panadapter plugged in to the back of the receiver and the screen of the laptop shows the frequency of any interesting DX that might appear.

Contests though, I avoid them like the plague, not my scene.

Tanakasan
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by K9MHZ on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I wondering if this is still an English-speaking website, or if it's gone to speaking in tongues.

 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N3QE on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The paper log (and accompanying paper "Op Aid 6" aka "Dupe Sheet") are long gone from any but the oldest-fart contesters. Post-contest dupe checking from a "real contesters" paper log with 5000+ QSO's... that would be just cruel. Even keying in 5000+ QSO's post contest, that's even crueler. And keying in QSO's post contest, is too fraught with typos and missed band changes, nobody would do that except for the tiniest logs.

I'm a little dubious that there is an "SDR Generation" of contesters. There are many powerful tools used by contesters involving many DSP and digital signal processing tools. Some of these tools put the operator into the "assisted" category (e.g. CW Skimmer) for many contests. But very very few heavy-duty contesters are using the SDR as their primary rig to actually have QSO's on... the SDR is just a tool in their arsenal to supplement the "real radios".
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N4OGW on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
" I'm a little dubious that there is an "SDR Generation" of contesters. There are many powerful tools used by contesters involving many DSP and digital signal processing tools. Some of these tools put the operator into the "assisted" category (e.g. CW Skimmer) for many contests. But very very few heavy-duty contesters are using the SDR as their primary rig to actually have QSO's on... the SDR is just a tool in their arsenal to supplement the "real radios". "


You are missing the point- it is not whether a contester uses a SDR radio- virtually all new radios use some form of SDR processing anyway. The point is that with SDR, you can operate using some tools (such as a visual display of the band) that simply don't exist with a single-signal analog radio. This changes quite a bit the way you operate a contest.

I have an article appearing in May/June NCJ discussing this.

Tor
N4OGW
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by XE1GXG on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
This and the Slinky® article renew my convictions: playing the piano and burning my fingers with the soldering apparatus are more rewarding than contesting. Muito obrigado!
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by WB0U on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Since I started messing with computers, I've stored information on different media including 80 column cards, 96 column cards, 8 inch diskettes, 5 1/4 inch diskettes, 3.5 inch diskettes, hard drives and thumb drives.

I never have any issues reading my old amateur radio logbooks as they are all paper.

I'm a musician and so far two computers that I use to store music have crashed, sigh. My Ipod frequently locks up and requires a reset. My digital thermostat has horrible immunity to ESD, takes a "branch to Owego" and locks up calling for full heat.

One concern that would drive me to computer logging is that I don't know how much slack LOTW allows on the time of QSO when it matches up information. I log the start of the QSO with a minute granularity. I know PSK programs log the time of the end of the QSO.

A radio club that I belong to has one of the first Flex SDR radios. I was very impressed with its intuitive user interface as I was able to use the Flex without consulting a manual. This is from a guy who couldn't figure out the Icom IC-718 (squelch and rf gain on the same knob ??) without a manual.

73, Lynn


 
Artificial division making  
by AI2IA on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Contesting rules in so far as they are conforming to the radio rules and regulations are simply a matter of who is running the contest.

Why divide contest participants into disparate groups?

Keep your log any way you want it. Submit your log any way the contest rules say to do it, and just have fun.

Yeah! What ever happened to just having fun? A contest is simply an endeavor where it is not "do or die" to win or be in the top three.

Come on! This is puffing things up beyond the absurd!
 
RE: Artificial division making  
by K8QV on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I keep thinking we've run out of ways to drive wedges, alienate, and otherwise chip away at the radio hobby. But I'm always wrong. I guess I'm just part of the plain ole Ham Radio Generation.

 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N3QE on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Tor, I'm still struggling a little bit with how folks think that "SDR" to see a band display is different than what we've been doing for most of a century using e.g. Hallicrafters SP-44.

Sure, the underlying technology is different in some details (no software in a SP-44!), but avid contesters and DX'ers have been using panadaptors for nearly 70 years now.

Now, get into the realm of real-time multichannel decoding, and that's something new from just the past couple years, e.g. CW Skimmer. But again in contesting, not really fundamentally different than "assisted" and in fact many contests lump use of CW Skimmer into "assisted" category.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by K9MHZ on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>by K8QV on May 2, 2013
I keep thinking we've run out of ways to drive wedges, alienate, and otherwise chip away at the radio hobby. But I'm always wrong. I guess I'm just part of the plain ole Ham Radio Generation.<<<<


Yeah, definitely. I mean is this guy REALLY serious about three different categories of contest loggers, and if you're not in his category, you're old, yesterday, tired, and dumb?

What a strange concept to dream up and to post.




 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by NO9E on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
He is translation into simpler terms with noise filtered out:

Paper log category: RUN or S&P at one time
SO2R category: RUN & SP
SDR/SO2R category: RUN + enhanced S&P

One can add a combination of the first and last:
SO1R+SDR: Run or enhanced S&P

The term "SDR" can mean many things.
1. Only packet cluster.
2. Single-band skimmers, with callsigns or not.
3. Mutiband skimmers possible with some intelligence where spots to work are automatically prioritized.

Not everyone can do more than paper log like not everyone can run marathons, or even a mile. But those who are capable to use the newest technology without being distracted by it will win the contests. Provided that they also have zillions of antennas with high towers and reside in attractive places.

SDR category is pushing the envelope and are likely to be winners.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by K3STX on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think it does get a bit complicated. I used to think one radio and SO2R should be two different categories, but then I changed my mind. Then I thought both SO1R and SO2R (unassisted) are OK and should be together because they do not use outside "assistance" via the Internet, like packet spots or skimmers.

But if you use "SDR" with your OWN skimmers and your OWN panadapters, it might be true that you are not "connected to the Internet" assisted, but you are SURELY assisted by technology.

But then again, a Ham radio itself is technology. Seems to me you can do anything you want with categories, but one man with his one radio with no computer should remain a category.

I think I am a "paper log" guy.

Paul
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by ON5MF on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I consider myself an SO2R guy (operating low power SO2R as OQ6A) but I have no problem with those operating SDR.
If SO2R hadn't been 'invented' I probably wouldn't be into contesting right now.
Especially in SOLP, what do you do between QSO's? Watch TV? No, tune that second transceiver!
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N6AJR on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
so2r = single operator, 2 radios

sdr = software defined radio.

paper log = copying each call by hand on papaer and manually check for dupes.

electronic log, = logging on a computer program design to do this. no dupe checking necessary

pan adaptor = a device that shows you where all the other folks on the band are

 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N6AJR on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
assisted = using other resources such as dx monitor or some logging programs that show call, and you can select them and the computer goes ther, the radio goes ther and the call is logged in the partially filled out logging program.

non assisted = not using a computer or other device to "find" the calls of other contest operators.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N6AJR on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
assisted = using other resources such as dx monitor or some logging programs that show call, and you can select them and the computer goes ther, the radio goes ther and the call is logged in the partially filled out logging program.

non assisted = not using a computer or other device to "find" the calls of other contest operators.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by KE8EC on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I never cared for contesting until a couple of years ago. Even if I couldn't win, it was good to make some contacts and get a little more active. I added HRD and this really make logging quicker and easier.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by WB9QEL on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The slinky article and this one are priceless.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by K1CJS on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
First, one thing. I'm not a contester. But I just had to chip in with comments. I find I agree with the comment KG4RUL made about taking ALL the challenge out of operating. Might just as well make everything automatic--no human intervention at all. Oh--wait, you can't, can you. After all the regs don't really allow it.

K8QV also hit home with the comment that we have enough petty squabbles that drive wedges between us, and it seems like this article wants to put yet another there! It's a wonder why this hobby isn't even more fragmented and divided than it already is. AAMOF, why bother with sites like this? Just let everyone do his or her own thing and the devil with the other hams. Kinda takes care of this problem, doesn't it! If nobody pays attention to anyone else, there won't be any contests and arguments about them. Neat!

And to top it all off, as K9MHZ said, this story leaves out anyone that uses any other method than the few the author specifies. WHY??

Hey, how about we go back to the slinky article. At least that one was only a disagreement between whether or not to experiment with using a slinky as an antenna!
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by VR2BG on May 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
N3QE said:

"I'm still struggling a little bit with how folks think that "SDR" to see a band display is different than what we've been doing for most of a century using e.g. Hallicrafters SP-44."

Some folks just don't seem like they understand what they're talking about.

And it seems as time goes by, the world has more folks like that.

Radiosport is a competition based on operating & as long as the operator is the one doing that - finding, working & logging the stations - then it's up to the event organizers to provide a category for those using technology that displaces the operator from those basic functions of operating AS WELL AS making sure everybody plays by the rules.

That last one is something that even CQWW - of which CT1BOH is an advisor to its Dictator (errrr... Director) - could do better, as my presentation at the last APDXC showed in their failing to address post-event log editing & self-spotting. I hope someday CT1BOH can also enjoy loosing an all-time record to the most blatant of cheating as I have & the Dictator again does nothing about it.

73, ex-VR2BG/p.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N8NSN on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
:::sigh:::

I can plug in modular cables, plug in circuit boards, read directions, purchase an antenna and feed line, hook it all up and interface it with my computer that I built, too...:

I am... a Builder?

To each their own, One would suppose.

Personally, I am thankful for the WARC bands - for one major reason. This is because only an hour or so in the AM, before work, I get some RF time in... Weekends, FORGETABOUTIT ! Seems there are way too many contests these days. Casual ragchewer, test and tune the new build types, don't stand a chance.

SDR radio is cool nonetheless.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by NJ3U on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
N3QE said....I'm still struggling a little bit with how folks think that "SDR" to see a band display is different than what we've been doing for most of a century using e.g. Hallicrafters SP-44.

I must say that I appreciate the ref to the SP-44 as these short points drive me to research and learn more about this hoddy that I love so dearly.

Please keep in mind that the hobby has plenty of room for all interests - Together as operators of amateur stations we will persist. 73 NJ3U


 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by VE6TL on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The most interesting aspect of Jose's analysis is his perspective. Having the ability to do SO2R and visualize six bands simultaneously using panadapter displays is something he appears to take for granted - and this appears to be where most serious "big gun" contest stations are headed. I'm sure somebody is working on voice recognition skimmer software so it is just a matter of time that we can have phone contests almost as efficient as the other modes. Yet, when you look at the statistics, you find that the overwhelming majority of contest participants are not the big gun stations, but rather the guy with a dipole and 100W who likes to "dabble" for a while and hand out some points and possibly a multiplier. Jose and guys like him are anomalies. The vast majority of hams have a city lot which offers no possibility of SO2R. They use a decent, but modest rig that works just fine but doesn't support a panadapter display. Without these peashooter stations, there would be no contesting. In the end, it comes down to trying to better one's own personal best for 95% of contesters.

My personal interest in contesting was to obtain my DXCC and now that I have achieved various certificates, have pretty much given it up (except for the odd multi effort, which is more of a social event). I have no means of setting up SO2R on my limited city lot, cannot erect a competitive antenna (limited to 15m), cannot run full maximum power (neighbors too close), and see no need for SDR.

So to answer Jose's question, it makes little difference to most big gun stations how they lump or split the categories - but it does to the vast majority of operators who are only in it for working rare DX or the satisfaction of bettering their own personal scores. These are not generational differences, but rather guys just enjoying the hobby the best they can.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by K0YQ on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
K8QV - I think that you hit the head on the point almost in several instances, at least until the numerous digressions. Play that Johnny Mathis vinyl backwards though and it becomes a whole different tune, kind of like I used to do with I Am the Walrus. Try that with a CD which is now obsolete anyway. Funny post.

VE6TL summarizes my take perfectly which is to just enjoy the hobby. I don't think it's a stretch to follow the "Moore's Law" of contesting and see completely automated bot stations skimming every band, then having the bot prioritize who to work next for the most points.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by KC2QYM on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
This becomes madness after a while. I have been and will always be interested in Amateur Radio because I like to communicate with people. To me sharing some human interaction over the airwaves is the essence of my interests in the service/hobby. I am not at all interested in collecting paperwork in frames or competing with others for a five second exchange. To each his own as far as contesting, QSLs, software based QSL systems, DX tracking sites, SW logging, paper logging, etc. I just like to ragchew so I find it amusing how everyone tends to be so impassioned about this stuff. And there are many of you who are militant about your specific positions. All this is useless vibrato. Go out there and share your life's experiences and open your hearts to each other on the air rather than creating secular differences. You'll be a happier person.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by HAMMYGUY on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
So once again it boils down to contesters vs. ragchewers.

It's obvious that the OP enjoys contesting with his use of encrypted contest jargon and with his attempt to create a rift where none exists.

I for one don't enjoy contesting but if others do then great! At least we're all enjoying the many aspects of the hobby.

But let's face a fact. Computers WILL crash eventually. If you want to throw your log data into a digital black hole, then have at it. Formats change over time as the 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 inch disks have proven.

Paper stays around for years. You want a "back up" then take it to Kinko's or use that fancy new all in one printer you just purchased. You know the one that will be obsolete in 2 years?
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N6AJR on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!





contesting is like doing the contest, which ever way you choose, and getting free DX as a side benefit.


in a decent DX contest you can seriously get DXCC ain a weekend, and get i comfirmd on LOTW with in a couple of days. sweet.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by K3STX on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
KC2QYM wrote:

"I have been and will always be interested in Amateur Radio because I like to communicate with people."

Yeah, but there are others who have little interest in communicating with people and see Amateur radio as a technical/competitive challenge. It's a big hobby.

paul
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by W4KVW on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I log for me & I use ONLY paper logs.I stopped Contesting because of the logging issue.I do not type fast so it took any fun out of it for me.I will be happy with my 3 FIRST PLACE North Florida Low Power VHF & 1 SECOND in the WORLD on 6 meters pieces of wall art. Contesting & digital logs are NOT for me.I do not care about all of the awards either other than WAS on 6 meters & I just need a real KL7 in Alaska & that one's done.I may then go ahead & confirm a couple hundred grids on 2 & 6 meters for those VUCC's but not chasing anything that requires an electronic log even if it pays cash I'm not interested.I do what's FUN & RELAXING for me & I will just keep filling out my paper logs & typing REALLY SLOOOOW & having FUN in my retirement years! {:>)

Clayton
W4KVW
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by KJ4AGA on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Glad I don't chase toliet paper for a hobby.
 
How very special.  
by HFHAM2 on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think some people take this hobby too seriously, but to each their own.

I hope you're not married though as I can see trouble ahead if you are.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by AI2IA on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I totally agree with Clayton, W4KVW.

I have always used my own peculiar shorthand for contest logs. I try to respond to as many callers as possible so they can up their scores, but as for me, I am more interested in how many hams I can contact and how they make the exchange. Some seem so hyper-hyper that they sound like cattle auctioneers. Some sound confused, but I wish them the best.

I am glad that there are so many contests and that everyone can log them anyway they want. I like rag chews best of all, but I can always go to a WARC band when the contests are hot, if I want to just have a slow, easy rag chew.

Contests sell radios and antennas and keep the bands busy. They are good things. However, I hope more contest participants will take some time between contests to slow down, relax, pick an off time of day and just hunt around calling CQ for some slow and easy rag chews about antennas, or gear, or propagation, or even a rag chew about contests. There is time and room for everybody.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by KB4QAA on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I don't see any culture class or any real difference among these groups.

-Keeping logs on paper or on a computer is a personal preference and has no affect on any other hams or the hobby in general.

-SO2R is a minor niche method of operating that most hams have never even heard of. I've been a ham for 30 years and only heard of it a couple years ago. I think it is a silly way of pretending that they are multi-tasking and being more efficient in contests. Don't see the point.

-SDR. Software Defined Radio. I am a strict constructionist when it comes to terms. An SDR is a radio that converts the signal immediately to and from analog to digital without mixers, oscillators, and the waveform at it's baseband frequency is created totally by software.

**SDR is NOT simply connecting to a computer to a radio and having a graphic display or control***

Too many people are being mislead about this matter.

b.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N8CBX on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My interest in Ham Radio increased 1000% when I discovered SDR 2 years ago, after a 20 year hiatus from the hobby. I think Ham radio & computers & internet is a marriage made in heaven. I think this is a very exciting time we are living in. I think it just gets better.
Jan N8CBX
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by W6RMK on May 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think that the pan adapter and click to tune have made a big difference. Sure, spectrum analyzers and pan displays have been around for decades, but were expensive. Now, you can get something like a softrock tuned to your IF and for <$50, you've got a whole new look at the band. Think of the difference between the narrow and wide filters before: the wide lets you hear more signals at the same time, but requires a different skill. And that's really for CW.. SSB is harder. So the pan adapter gives the SSB op the same sort of "band awareness" that a CW op as.

With a wideband spectrum analyzer (or the per band pan adapters described in the lead-in) the question of "which band to I switch to next" can be answered in a new way. You can SEE if there's activity.

Finally, click to tune is a different way of navigating in the frequency spectrum. Some like it, some don't, and prefer the knob.If you're an audio kind of person, then you might like the headphones with the audio filtering that "spread the band" across the apparent source directions, and as you spin the knob, you can hear the band passing through. That's a very, very familiar aspect for some people. Others might prefer a more visual cuing. Certainly tuning PSK31 without a waterfall might be a bit painful.

What's cool is that there's all these new ways to deal with things.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by TTOMAS59 on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I would really be interested in an all terrorism all the time network. And only having a new terrorist attact every thirteen years is just bogus. And there is no real blood in Iron Man 3. This is just not acceptable.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by TTOMAS59 on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I would really be interested in an all terrorism all the time network. And only having a new terrorist attact every thirteen years is just bogus. And there is no real blood in Iron Man 3. This is just not acceptable.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by TTOMAS59 on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think too many people are looking for approval from others who are just as lost as they are (def of eham thread).
 
Non-existent Generations  
by AI2IA on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Within the context of the rules and regulations, everyone can operate any way they want.

So all this artificial division making and comparisons are just one big balloon of hot air.

You can make great comparisons, but you can't beat fun!

This is what it is really all about.

The End.
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by K1CJS on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, everyone can operate the way they want to, but more and more the shift to computerized logging and reporting is being forced on us. That is one reason I don't bother with contests and why I've given up on field day. Field day--now there is something that used to be totally different than a contest, yet it is being forced to be more and more like a contest than ever before.

Last field day I went to, the push was on to 'network' the computer logging--they didn't want to have anyone use paper at all--and 'get' all the contacts they could get. What happened to a nice easy day of setting up and showing off what ham radio is all about? It's GONE, along with the thought of making a contact and actually talking to the other station for a while. Nobody (save a few old timers) want to do that anymore!

We're slowly but surely losing sight of the fact that this is a hobby--and the major reason of any hobby is to have FUN! Maybe it's different for others, but my idea of fun is NOT scratching for every contact I can get and pressing technology to do more and more--and TAKE ALL OF THE FUN OUT of this hobby.
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by NQ3X on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Yes, everyone can operate the way they want to, but more and more the shift to computerized logging and reporting is being forced on us."

Last I looked, no one is peeking in your windows, threatening you with anything to "force" you to do anything you don't want to do. Yes, the contest sponsors are requiring rapid submission of logging, but that's not surprising; the de facto standard is computerized logging. Get with the program!

"Last field day I went to, the push was on to 'network' the computer logging--they didn't want to have anyone use paper at all--and 'get' all the contacts they could get. What happened to a nice easy day of setting up and showing off what ham radio is all about? It's GONE, along with the thought of making a contact and actually talking to the other station for a while. Nobody (save a few old timers) want to do that anymore!"

That's not an indictment of Field Day. It's an indictment of the effort put on by the group you attended. There's nothing in the Field Day rules which requires any of that. If you don't like it, find another group which does what you like or step up and volunteer to run your club's FD effort next year so you can show everyone how much fun it was in The Good Old Days. I'd love to get a taste of that!

"We're slowly but surely losing sight of the fact that this is a hobby--and the major reason of any hobby is to have FUN! Maybe it's different for others, but my idea of fun is NOT scratching for every contact I can get and pressing technology to do more and more--and TAKE ALL OF THE FUN OUT of this hobby."

Okay, a couple of things are totally out of whack here.

First, nobody is forcing you to run a state-of-the-art station. If you want to cling to decades-old technology, I wish you luck! Frankly I wish I had the wherewithal and time to refurbish and operate vintage gear.

Second, "pressing technology to do more and more" isn't what ham radio is all about!? Here I thought that the three main legs of the Amateur Service was "self-training, intercommunication, and technical investigations". I didn't realize that "technical investigation" was off the table! When did THAT memo come down? Or is it that you only would allow technical investigation if it fits with or improves your narrow slice of what defines "amateur radio"?

Which brings me to:

Third, there are dozens if not hundreds of different pursuits in amateur radio. If you don't like contesting, if you don't find it fun, don't do it. At the same time, don't be so pompous as to pronounce that any pursuit you don't like is ruining the hobby. As an example, I do like contesting (from my little pistol station where I have a computer for logging and station control) and DXing, where contacts are short. I don't particularly care for long QSOs about the weather in Schenectady or what the other fellow's cat looks like. I like to talk about antennas and that sort of technical stuff. But do I have the right to go on the internet and shout in all caps that ragchewers are ruining the hobby? No, because that would make me a pompous twit.

Cordially,

Bob WP2XX
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by K8QV on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Ops who use a straight key or a bug rather than an iambic paddle are hopelessly behind the times. Cutting edge, what's-happening-now hams use electronic keyers and are the Cat's Meow Generation.

BTW, "keys" and "bugs" and "paddles" are used in CW operation, that is, Morse Code.

Luddites.
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by N1DVJ on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
What? You're a Luddite? How do you manage?
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by K1CJS on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
No, Bob, pressing technology to do more and more is NOT what ham radio is about--not the way you seem to be thinking, anyway. You spoke of an indictment of the group that I spoke of participating with. In a way, you're right--but how many groups operate that way? TOO MANY!

Yes, advancing technology is one of the aims of ham radio, but modernizing and automating almost all operations is not what advancing technology really means--and you know it!

BTW, you can run a state of the art station and run it manually, even though you are using advanced technology. But setting up a recorded automatic calling macro and listening, then typing a call into a keyboard and pressing another button for a recorded automated answer macro is not operating, it's only pressing buttons!
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by K8SOR on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
YAAAAAAWWWWWWWNNNN
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by NQ3X on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"You spoke of an indictment of the group that I spoke of participating with. In a way, you're right--but how many groups operate that way? TOO MANY!"

And you know this how? I mean, I get you - you want a more laid back Field Day. But why are they wrong? Why are you the arbiter of what is the correct or incorrect approach? I put it to you that you have your preferences. Those preferences will often differ from other peoples'. To condemn those other perfectly legitimate pursuits because you don't like those pursuits is rather jerky, wouldn't you say?

"Yes, advancing technology is one of the aims of ham radio, but modernizing and automating almost all operations is not what advancing technology really means--and you know it!"

You should be careful when insisting you know what I know. Putting words into other people's mouths is dangerous.

I suspect when you say "modernization" you mean something other than "modernization". There is nothing inherently wrong with modernization. If you feel there is, my only real response is to ask you to go back to your home-built tube rigs fed with home-built open-wire line. Hell, fire up your spark gap! But I don't think you're talking about that. At least I hope not. Modernization is solid-state technology. Modernization is automatic antenna tuners, and auto-tuning amplifiers. Modernization is automation of many tasks in the shack which used to be done by fiddling with knobs.

Automation, well, it depends. If I can develop the available technology so that I click on a spot in the bandmap and have my rig, amp and ATU go to that frequency while my beam rotates to the correct heading, why not? That saves a TON of time! Further, how many times have you been trying to work that DX station, only to have some idiot call on the DX's frequency when the DX is listening up? With automation, given the right parameters clicking the spot will set set the rig split without you needing to press buttons. Think of it from an EMCOM point of view - the faster you can get onto a usable frequency, the faster you can pass traffic.

So, as far as that goes, we might disagree.

We agree that automated making of QSOs is problematic. If I click the mouse and all I described above happens AND the QSO goes in the log, that's kind of ... well ... I agree there's something wrong there.

"BTW, you can run a state of the art station and run it manually, even though you are using advanced technology. But setting up a recorded automatic calling macro and listening, then typing a call into a keyboard and pressing another button for a recorded automated answer macro is not operating, it's only pressing buttons!"

Now this, I'm afraid, is bollocks, for several reasons. First, pushing a PTT is "only pressing buttons". For that matter, ALL station operation is pressing buttons or twisting knobs. "Operating" a piece of amateur gear involves pushing buttons. So if you have a problem with buttons, you need to have a problem with ALL controls. In for a penny, in for a pound. On that point your argument makes no sense. Second, the technology for me to run phone without ever opening my mouth is here and has been for ten years: I can set up my software with WAV files of my own voice and make QSOs by only pressing F-keys. That's something CW and digital operators have been doing for DECADES. Or would you have us get rid of things like CW memories that are built in to modern rigs? After all, it's only pressing a button for an automated answer macro!

Here are some questions I think you need to ask yourself: Are all those tens of thousands of operators who use modern operating aids doing it wrong? Is everyone wrong who works a digimode or CW and lets the computer do the grunt work? If so, how far back do you want us to regress? Before the electronic keyer? Okay, that's April 1940. Should we all throw away our keyers and go back to bugs? Galena detectors? How many hams would you throw out of the hobby because, according to your extremely narrow, arbitrary, and ill-conceived definition of "real ham radio", they're doing it wrong? Here's a hint: Most of 'em. Have fun making contacts when you drive away all these durn kids with their newfangled stuff. ;)

AND I'll ask you to consider this: We can use technology to take a lot of the grunt work out of operating. That's what you're really talking about: You don't want technology to take that away. If so, fine - FOR YOU. If your fun is twiddling knobs (KOFFKOFFandpushingbuttonsKOFFKOFF) and sending with a straight key through an 807, fine - but you don't get to dictate what other people enjoy doing, and you sure as shootin' don't get to arrest the development of amateur radio. It's not up to you or me singularly to define amateur radio; all of us together, pursuing what we pursue, THAT defines amateur radio. Thinking you have the One True Definition of amateur radio is rather arrogant, wouldn't you agree?

The hobby is headed away from where you appear to like it (indeed, it's been beyond where you apparently like it for nigh on 20 years, if you haven't noticed). You can either embrace the change and enjoy it, find a niche you like and enjoy that while ignoring what you don't like, or kvetch about what you don't like and end up marginalized, bitter and resentful. Don't choose the third. That's not smart or pleasant.
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by KB6QXM on May 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I own an SDR. I used to kick it old school with my tons of radios through the decades, but in my personal opinion, contesting is the cancer of ham radio, followed by nets and DX chasing.

There is no social exchange in contesting, just spends thousands of dollars, a lot of time in setting up your station, just to see how many people you can work in a given amount of time? Many contesters think that the world of ham radio rotates around them and if you are not a contester, leave me alone. Many contesters are rude people, spread all over the spectrum, not caring that someone might want to use a frequency to have a nice decent QSO. The same with DX and paper chasers.

Where is the getting to know someone and where they live in the world? I believe that contesting has been pushed by the ARRL (In the US) as a sport as self-preservation for an aging hobby.

Another reason for lowering the bar on the license requirements to get more people into the hobby and maybe that 10-4 good buddy CBer can now hit the ham bands legally. Do they even know how to solder a connector onto a piece of coax or even know how to technically operate that radio.

Some do, but take a look at 80 meters. Is that band a good reflection of good operating practice on many frequencies. Think about an SWL listening and deciding that is NOT what they want to do because it is just like CB radio.

I met a newly minted ham that said in a club meeting. "what is a repeater?" Now that is scary!


 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by TTOMAS59 on May 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
What no one in the media will say about Boston marathon is it is a form of group insanity. No one will run 26 miles for a worthless medal and any self esteem that may be had. To torture yourself for three hours to look good to other people with the same delusions does not say much about the human race.

The individuals who run the world (the system) are delighted to encourage you in whatever pursuit you choose as long as you don't wake up or are a threat to them. We are all exploited by whatever methods we use to escape the truth about our enslavement. The pleasure you get from ham radio, running, or any other pleasure only leads to more pain. Until you realize it and seek truth no salvation is possible.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by WA2DTW on May 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think that the main division in ham radio is between those who can understand what this thread is about, and those who can't.
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by K1CJS on May 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
OK, Bob. Let's simply agree to disagree. It isn't worth starting a world war over. You have your view and I have mine--and neither of us is willing to change.

One thing does dig, however. You said this--

"Putting words into other people's mouths is dangerous."

--And you may be right, but don't make accusations against someone when you do that same thing yourself.

There are different types of advancing technology. Having a completely automated system for field day use is one--JUST ONE--such example of "advancing technology." The way you speak, you seem to think that that is the ONLY one, while you should know darn well that it is NOT. That is all I meant. 73!
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by K1CJS on May 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
BTW, Bob. A few years ago I was on the staff of the ARRL section where I live. I actually traveled to different field day sites to observe operations and to provide a 'section staff presence' to those groups. Of the dozen or so groups I visited, only one--ONE--wasn't set up to log or do anything of a contesting nature, and that one group was having a grand time simply showing off what ham radio was about and could do.

That is how "And you know this how?" 73.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by KE8EC on May 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
NQ3X, you were right in the very beginning!
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by KO3D on May 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I never realized eHam posts every article that's sent in...
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by K1DA on May 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm wondering of "HoZey" could actually talk to someone for half an hour on SSB without offering up a list of their "deficiencies" both personal and electronic.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by WI0T on May 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Really ?

Is this an issue ?

So what ?
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by N9ZVV on May 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Time to turn off the computer and turn on the radio and start calling CQ.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by NZ9Y on May 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
So really you are advocating abolishing the unassisted category, even though its irrelevant to you're way of contesting. It doesn't affect you in any way except forcing other players at a disadvantage, no matter how small, to have to compete with you instead of amongst themselves.

Hmmm...
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by PA1Z on May 13, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Amen KB6QXM !

Ham radio is slowly becoming a series of mouse clicks on a screen, while sitting back and watching the automatic logger do its work and the computer tune off to the next DX cluster. What fun! How impressive!
I do that all day with my work behind the computer; why waste my hobby time doing the same??

So the winner of all this in contests is: the person with the fastest, bestest computer and software. Whoopee!

I would like to see anyone of these techno's spend 10 hours behind a radio dealing with emergencies or military duty, either in SSB or Morse. Or for that matter take on an old hand landline Morse operator working at 35 wpm for 10 hours in a noisy telegraph room.

I doubt a single one would last more than 2 hours....
Those were the days, (!) and the people who could deal with had real talent and ability - without crutches.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by KG4NEL on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
SO2R is far more a division based on financial well-being than age.

I don't know many people my age (under 30) who can afford a well-equipped SO2R contest setup.

SDR vs. traditional knobs & dials is a much closer comparison.
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by NN3W on May 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>-SO2R is a minor niche method of operating that most hams have never even heard of. I've been a ham for 30 years and only heard of it a couple years ago. I think it is a silly way of pretending that they are multi-tasking and being more efficient in contests. Don't see the point. <<

SO2R operating for good operators can increase your QSO count by 10%. That is the difference in many instances between being #1 in a contest and not being in the top #10.

Personally, I am BORED unless I can do SO2R.
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by NN3W on May 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>There is no social exchange in contesting, just spends thousands of dollars, a lot of time in setting up your station, just to see how many people you can work in a given amount of time? Many contesters think that the world of ham radio rotates around them and if you are not a contester, leave me alone. Many contesters are rude people, spread all over the spectrum, not caring that someone might want to use a frequency to have a nice decent QSO. The same with DX and paper chasers. <<

I've met hundreds of contesters around the world. Our social interaction is substantially deeper than some of the social interaction I've seen elsewhere. At Daytonn, the LAST hospitality suite to close out - around 3:00 am in the morning, is a contester suite.

I've met contesters who have become clients, invited me to their weddings, asked me to come to their sons' induction into the Eagle Scouts, spent New Years eve, etc., etc. can you say that about average, every day hams?
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by KD7YVV on June 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I have to say after losing a backup of my logs that paper logging does have its advantages. However, being mostly blind, I don't really write much. I type faster than I can write, so in that regard, electronic logs has its advantages. Both paper and electronic logs have their uses. As far as contesting goes, I've tried it and sometimes I may participate in one, but I do like a good ragchew once in a while. For me, ham radio is a hobby with some emergency communications thrown in.
I have an older TS-430S and a TS-910S (Kenwoods) that just work for me. Real knobs, non-LCD displays, (I think they're LEDs) that make it easy on the eyes. Granted, my radios can't be computer controlled, and I don't have the latest and greatest HF rig, but what I have works.
I do wish I had kept a paper log, but most of my logs are on LOTW, and EQSL and I could probably reconstruct them on paper along with the QSL cards I have, but will I get every single contact I ever made? I don't know.
All I know is, for me, ham radio is a hobby that makes me happy. If someone wants to look down on me because I don't have the latest rig, or use the latest software, then all I can say is, oh well, to each their own.
 
RE: Non-existent Generations  
by KD7YVV on June 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I have to say after losing a backup of my logs that paper logging does have its advantages. However, being mostly blind, I don't really write much. I type faster than I can write, so in that regard, electronic logs has its advantages. Both paper and electronic logs have their uses. As far as contesting goes, I've tried it and sometimes I may participate in one, but I do like a good ragchew once in a while. For me, ham radio is a hobby with some emergency communications thrown in.
I have an older TS-430S and a TS-930S (Kenwoods) that just work for me. Real knobs, non-LCD displays, (I think they're LEDs) that make it easy on the eyes. Granted, my radios can't be computer controlled, and I don't have the latest and greatest HF rig, but what I have works.
I do wish I had kept a paper log, but most of my logs are on LOTW, and EQSL and I could probably reconstruct them on paper along with the QSL cards I have, but will I get every single contact I ever made? I don't know.
All I know is, for me, ham radio is a hobby that makes me happy. If someone wants to look down on me because I don't have the latest rig, or use the latest software, then all I can say is, oh well, to each their own.
 
The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by AK0B on June 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have been a ham forever it seems. Since 1954. I have used both virtual logs and paper. I find my greatest pleasure in going back over the years and searching through my paper log books. The stack is high.

I have lost virtual logs due to hard drive failures and virus attacking my computer.

Today I still do mostly paper, but if it is a psk31 contact will used the virtual.

But one should never forget time goes quickly. And those paper logs of working stations on the other side of the globe are just as much fun to read about today as they were at the time of the contact.

Stan AK0B (w9ifz, wa0sxi)
 
RE: The Paper Log, SO2R and SDR Generations  
by W7AIT on June 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Its only a hobby!
 
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