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Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code

from Andrew Ellis, NO6E on December 4, 2017
View comments about this article!

Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code
by Andrew Ellis, NO6E

Until the computer age, most communication modes used by ham radio operators had been around for quite a while. SSB (“Single Sideband) voice was one of the more recent ones, first aired around 1947. (I later had the pleasure of operating the station that did it, the Stanford University Radio Club's W6YX.)

But computers changed everything, as they have in so many places in our lives. Time was that ham operators would pride themselves on their ability to hear signals barely above the noise level. Computers, though, can hear signals well below the noise. The first really popular digital mode was probably Peter Martinez' PSK-31, which appeared in 1989.

Ham radio is not a totally blue-collar hobby, but its fair to say that most hams one meets on the air are more likely to be strictly hobbyists or technician-level professionals (like myself) than they are to be formally-trained engineers or physicists, and those are the skills needed to develop digital communications modes.

If the average ham was a weekend duffer on the golf course, Joe Tyler, K1JT would be Sam Snead, Tiger Woods or whomever you'd choose instead. A Nobel-Prize-winning physicist, Joe is now Emeritus Distinguished Joseph S. McDonnell Professor of Physics at Princeton University.

Over the years, Joe has developed a number of computer ham radio communications modes, each aimed at a particular sub-hobby in the amateur radio world. For many years, the best-known ones were the WSJT (for “Weak-Signal Joe Tyler) modes used in VHF and moon-bounce operations.

In 2017, though, Joe stunned the ham radio world with a new mode, FT8. Named for Joe and co-developer Steve Franke, W9AN, FT8 is a narrowband mode for computer-to-computer communications. Like earlier “Soundcard modes,” FT8 uses the power of computer audio cards to do the digital signal processing (DSP) heavy lifting. No fancy hardware is needed – just a regular SSB transceiver, a computer with a sound card and a simple audio interface.

Though only released in Beta test in July, FT8 quickly skyrocketed in public acceptance. It's not quite as sensitive as some of the other digital modes, but, importantly, it runs four times faster. Most digital modes rely on a rigid plan of “turns,” where each station sends and receives in alternative time periods. Most of the earlier modes used one-minute cycles – you either transmitted during even minutes and listened during odd ones, or vice-versa.

FT8 changed the cycle time from a minute to 15 seconds. In FT8, you either transmit from :00 to :15 and :30 to :45 seconds past each minute and listen from :15 to :30 and :45 to :60, or the opposite. Called “Even” and “Odd” time slots, both are equally valid. The result is that contacts in FT8 can take place in a minute or so, as opposed to three minutes or so for a similar mode like JT9.

I've been fiddling with FT8 since July. So far, I've contacted nearly 300 unique stations, a remarkably fast start for a new communications mode in ham radio.

Today, though, was a landmark day for me:

This screenshot shows my contact with Joe, K1JT, himself! It's no exaggeration to say that this was like contacting Marconi in Morse code! I missed O.G. Villard on SSB and Edwin Armstrong on FM, but I got Joe.

Stations from rare locations are besieged by many operators calling them for a contact, and the same applies to “Ham radio royalty” like Joe. He politely asked callers OTHERS QRX, (“Please stand by”) until he finished his present contact. Most did, but some kept calling, adding to the chaos on the frequency.

Without getting too technical, I made the contact using FT8's “Split frequency” mode. This is common in “pileups” on other operating modes, and it helps on FT8, also. The FT8 program displays the audio frequencies sent and received between the computer and the radio. Most of the time, they're the same. But one un-checks the LOCK FREQUENCY box, one can send and receive on different frequencies. That makes it easier for the “rare” station to hear you, since you're not on the same frequency as the rest of the howling mob.

Look at the yellow line where I called Joe: “K1JT NO6E CN73.” My transmit audio frequency was 1989 Hertz. But he responded to me (“NO6E K1JT -07”) on 1961 Hertz. Now, 28 Hertz isn't much of a difference. It's almost exactly the difference between the musical pitches “A-natural” (440 Hz.) and “A-Sharp (466 Hz.). In percentage of frequency, it's much less, around 1%. But that's plenty of difference for a computer sound card.

FT8 has had the quickest adoption of any new amateur radio mode, by far. If you haven't tried it, you really owe it to yourself. For stations with less-than-great equipment and antennas, FT8 provides a new universe of contacts. I'll see you there!

I'm happy to correspond with readers on any ham radio topic. Contact me through my blog, www.no6e.org .

Member Comments:
Add A Comment
 
Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by VK3LU on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
It's great to see Joe has time for a qso or two. I suppose it was like contacting Marconi!
But I believe his surname is Taylor...I hope I am not being picky.

73
Nev
VK3LU

 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

"Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code"

......errr no, more like contacting Steve Jobs in Apple mode.....
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by AA4PB on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
On the latest version 1.8.0 general release the [Lock Tx = Rx] check box has been changed to [Hold Tx Freq]. Now, if you want to operate "split" (separate Tx and Rx frequencies) you check the [Hold Tx Freq] box to make your Tx frequency stay put while the Rx frequency is free to move to that of the station you are working.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by HB0PET on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
@ GM1FLQ
"... err no, more like contacting Steve Jobs in Apple mode ..."

Oh year, or contacting Steve Ballmer in ANSI mode!
 
Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by K0CBA on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I looked at the screen shot; is this really what is now thought of as a QSO!?
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by AA4PB on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Just like CW DX: RST 599 73 K
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by N3HAM on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Louis Varney, G5RV, answered my 20m CW CQ years ago. He was signing with CX5RV since he spent part of his year in SA. I knew who I was talking to, so it was a thrill for me and one to put in the bottle.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by N8WRL on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
That is amazing! Years ago I ran into Leo Meyerson, W0GFQ(SK) who heard the "WRL" in my call and answered by CQ! We had a wonderful chat.

These are the special QSO's to remember.

73

-Brian n8wrl
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

"Just like CW DX"

.....no, not really.......

Like others, this latest, fashionable ham digi mode will be relegated to the bin within a small fraction of the time CW has endured.

"Fashions fade, style endures"

 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by NN2X on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Why the negative comments? This is great cutting edge technology, it just so happened to be easy to use...(Yes Automatic)...

I have been a Ham operator since 1973, (OK, still a newbie), but darn, here is a technology (FT8) that is cutting edge, working -24dB below the noise floor. I wish I had this years ago, when I could only turn off the ham radio, and get some tea..(Band was dead) / Not with FT8 though!

I am happy that Steve(K9AN) and Joe(K1JT) had the time to developed new mode FT8. And it is nice to connect with Joe, after all he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.


One more thing, Like I said on other posts, if you are in an apartment, with a Mag mount, and you want to work DX, FT8 is the solve..Yes even better than CW..

70% of Ham operators use a dipole with 100 watts...FT8 is a great solve when the conditions are zero..

I am sure Steve(K9AN) and Joe(K1JT) will develop a way to have a normal QSO with this technology (In the future),

And there is always Olivia, -13dB below the noise floor, and one can rag chew to you drop!

Cheers, 73's

NN2X


 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by K0UA on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I have been lucky enough to work Joe on two bands and Mr Franke once on 6 meter MSK144, another great mode.


Station
Call Sign K0UA
DXCC UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
CQ Zone 4
ITU Zone 7
Grid EM36JQ
State Missouri (MO)
County TANEY
Worked Station
Worked K1JT
Date/Time 2017-07-23 19:14:30
Mode FT8 (DATA)
Band 17M
Frequency 18.10119
Record ID 855356560 Received: 2017-08-14 15:40:02



Station
Call Sign K0UA
DXCC UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
CQ Zone 4
ITU Zone 7
Grid EM36JQ
State Missouri (MO)
County TANEY
Worked Station
Worked K1JT
Date/Time 2017-08-23 00:45:30
Mode FT8 (DATA)
Band 80M
Frequency 3.57445
Record ID 857221201 Received: 2017-08-23 03:48:04



Station
Call Sign K0UA
DXCC UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
CQ Zone 4
ITU Zone 7
Grid EM36JQ
State Missouri (MO)
County TANEY
Worked Station
Worked K9AN
DXCC UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (291)
CQ Zone 4
ITU Zone 8
Grid EN50WC
State Illinois (IL)
County CHAMPAIGN
Date/Time 2017-10-08 13:17:15
Mode MSK144 (DATA)
Band 6M
Frequency 50.26150
QSL 2017-10-09 01:50:03
Record ID 866027587 Received: 2017-10-08 21:21:04


 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by W1PJE on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I have to agree strongly with NN2X. K0CBA: why do you have such a problem with some people using phase coded digital modes for contacts? It's not preventing you from doing what you want with radio.

Consider that the GPS receiver in your phone/car uses orthogonal phase codes similar to FT8 in concept (if not precise execution), so you don't have to drag around a huge high gain L band antenna to hear the satellite at 20,000+ km radius.

Consider that the Ethernet port on the wall uses similar coding to insulate channel inter symbol interference in the CDMA (carrier detect multiple access) scheme, so we don't need point to point wiring between every Internet node.

If I didn't know better, I would read your response above as indicating that these techniques are also unworthy of your use or unworthy of serious technical appreciation because no human is talking into a microphone with SSB modulation, or mashing a key down for CW modulation, to communicate information. I'm sure that is not the impression you want to leave, as the systems mentioned above are landmark 20th century human achievements. The fact that the universe's noise can be separated from the signal you want to hear by using a phase coded pattern is truly marvelous in its own right. Why tear it down?

By the way, "it's not like we did it in the old days" responses are precisely what turns students away from this community if that's the first thing they read. I have personal experience seeing this happen. Again, why do it? Just spin the dial or don't read these threads. Constructive, inclusive comments are how a community shows itself to be forward looking.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by K0UA on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Well said..
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KB6QXM on December 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
No6E wrote:"Ham radio is not a totally blue-collar hobby, but its fair to say that most hams one meets on the air are more likely to be strictly hobbyists or technician-level professionals (like myself) than they are to be formally-trained engineers or physicists, and those are the skills needed to develop digital communications modes."

Yes that maybe true NOW, but not that long ago MANY hams were highly technical. As a matter of fact, it was said that if you told someone you were an amateur radio operator, you were instantly respected as it was an understanding that you KNEW something.

I recently had a licensed TECHNICIAN ask me what a repeater was. This ham also DID NOT know how to solder a PL259 onto a piece of coax.

If anyone remembers their history, the first hams were all engineers designing the first radios.

We can all thank the lowering of the licensing standards,publishing of the question pool and the dropping of Morse code all in the spirit of selling more equipment and bringing up the license numbers up.

This is why the statement was that this is becoming a blue-collar hobby. Well at least not here in the Silicon Valley where most are white-collar.

The next statement is that everyone wants a license-free license.

What happened to drawing schematics in front of FCC examiners, sending and receiving of 20 WPM CW?

1 year non-renewable Novice class 75W DC input crystal controlled. Either you upgraded or you found another hobby. No whining, you either did it or you went onto collecting stamps! LOL.

73



 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

Your view - "Why the negative comments?"

My view - the drip drip creep towards ham radio on Apple type technology/products is clear to some & is having a negative effect on the spirit of ham radio. You lot seem to think now that within ham radio you are entitled to guaranteed copy just like picking up the phone or sending a text/email - all automated to boot - why not go off on vacation for a year and have your computer and digi modes operate your station for you - do all the contests for you and have your medals waiting for you on your return.

The closer it creeps towards it the less you will be able to differentiate ham radio as a separate entity - it will merely become just another extension of consumer social media - in effect it will be lost.

But hey, you march on - in the longer run we'll see how clever this direction has all been.

As one of my favourite people says "SAD".....
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by N4KC on December 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

KB6QXM:

Congratulations on being born knowing all the electronics you would ever need to know! Not everyone is so genetically blessed.

Some of us--especially those of us who do not work in a technical field--still have to learn things as we go. And sometimes we don't get around to learning how to solder PL-259s until we actually need to. (I did, but now I crimp because it works better, but that is something I learned along the way, because I wanted to and needed to. But since I don't know how or have access to the raw materials and equipment to make coax cable, I order it from somebody who does, and often with connectors already installed.)

Would you deny me and others all the things this wonderful hobby has to offer just because we are not as technically inclined as you are?

Amateur radio can be a wonderfully technical hobby. You can build your radio from the ground up...literally. But not everyone who joins our ranks seeks that level of technical involvement. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

Say what you wish about the good old days, but I venture to say there were plenty of active hams back then who were no more technically inclined than amateurs today. I would also venture to say that many who complain so much about the "dumbing down" of the exam and the dropping of any CW requirement would have a tough time passing today's General and especially Extra test. Nor could many of them copy 5 WPM of code if their lives depended on it. Yet they insist on incessantly putting down newcomers because they don't have to go through that hazing process they did to get licensed.

Have you even looked at the question pool? Since I got my ticket back during the Eisenhower administration, things like satellites, digital logic, ICs, digital modes, SDR and more have come along. (All examples from the practice exams available for free right here on eHam at http://www.eham.net/exams/ )

Some things I've chosen to learn about. Some I haven't. But it's all still there on the test that folks have to take TODAY.

A ham license is a license to continue learning. Or not. If they never learn what a repeater is or how to solder a coax connector, that's fine. If they invent the next great communication mode or a better way to get signal to antenna, then that's fine, too.

You get interested, get licensed, and experience the hobby the way YOU want to. Like most things in life, we make ham radio what we want it to be. And so long as your way doesn't inhibit me from experiencing it MY way, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com


 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KF4HR on December 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Why the negative comments?

Because while FT8 does allow hams to exchange of a couple alphanumeric lines below the noise floor to "technically" complete a QSO, there's really not much in the way of communications going on, is there? And isn't communications what our hobby is all about? Plus, our computers already do an excellent job of communicating with each other, without FT8 and its multiple 15 second transmissions.

But the mode has become popular with some so I think it's safe to assume exchanging call signs and RRR is enough for some people. Although I also suspect FT8 fans will eventually tire of the minimalist repetition.

My hat is off to Joe for creating all his WSJT modes and pushing technology, but at the same time, for some people, there's downsides to this minimal exchange of information.

No need for fireworks here folks, I'm just answering a question. If FT8 excites you, by all means, go for it.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by W1PJE on December 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
"But the mode has become popular with some so I think it's safe to assume exchanging call signs and RRR is enough for some people. Although I also suspect FT8 fans will eventually tire of the minimalist repetition. "

I think you just described contesters on SSB or CW, but I don't see the level of negativity toward them (at least at the present time; maybe in the past). I suppose I must be missing some huge difference.

I'll repeat: inclusivity and positivity are what the hobby needs. Otherwise, it's all bound for the history books eventually as a moribund exercise. There's room enough for everyone.

 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KF4HR on December 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I think you just described contesters on SSB or CW, but I don't see the level of negativity toward them...

Surely you jest! :D
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

"I'll repeat: inclusivity and positivity are what the hobby needs. Otherwise, it's all bound for the history books eventually as a moribund exercise. There's room enough for everyone."

Where do people get this notion that "inclusivity" => "positivity"......take a look at Western Europe to see how this warm fuzzy wuzzy sounding project is working out.

Never see these dangerous fools opening their home up to provide the "room."
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by N4OI on December 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
"Like most things in life, we make ham radio what we want it to be. And so long as your way doesn't inhibit me from experiencing it MY way, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! Don N4KC"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OH1yEnENG0

73 :>)
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KA1AL on December 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
KF4HR wrote:

"And isn't communications what our hobby is all about?"

Being a hobby, I would rather think that having fun is what it's all about.

Some like conversation. Some like the technical aspects of building equipment. Some like playing with antennae. Some like collecting QSL's. Some like DXing. Some like moonbounce. Some like contesting.

This hobby is a big tent. We can all fit under it.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by NO6E on December 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Absolutely right; Taylor not Tyler!
Many thanks!
Andrew NO6E
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

"This hobby is a big tent. We can all fit under it."

The hobby is not clever trying to fit all under it.

Diluting always ends up with guess...... a diluted product.......
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by HB0PET on December 6, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Some say it's a hobby, others say it's a lifestyle, but I say it's much more of a mental state! In fact, for a long time now it's not about communication anymore, it's just about business and preserving the old structures. But times are changing, and so are the demands on society.

I think it is extremely shameful when, on the one hand, there is always talk of raising the bar, but on the other hand, nothing is done to improve the necessary educational opportunities. It is no wonder then that there are more and more people who are obviously the victims of their own educational crisis. The now widespread dumbing down does not stop at various hobbies. Practical skill, diligence and expertise are thus becoming more and more lost.

In these circumstances, it is unfortunately already normal if some people no longer know what a repeater is, or how to make a coaxial cable for their own needs.
 
Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by K5UJ on December 6, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
<<<I'll repeat: inclusivity and positivity are what the hobby needs. Otherwise, it's all bound for the history books eventually as a moribund exercise. There's room enough for everyone.>>>

No, it's bound to turn into CB, at least in the U.S. Actually it has been glorified CB for many years already.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by AI4WC on December 6, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
As is often the case, N4KC has the thought and speaks for me.
Enough said!
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KA1AL on December 6, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
GM1FLQ wrote:
"The hobby is not clever trying to fit all under it.

Diluting always ends up with guess...... a diluted product......."

A hobby cannot be clever. It is a past time. A way to find enjoyment without need for pecuniary gain.

A hobby is not a product. Nobody has claim to it, nor is financially hurt by anyone exploring its varied facets, or its dilution. To continue with the flawed dilution analogy, dilution results in more volume which can then be enjoyed by more people.

As said, this is a hobby for people to enjoy. If one no longer enjoys it, because, for example, it has become less pure by dilution, then perhaps one should find another hobby which does not cause such distress.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KA1AL on December 6, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Please forgive me for, and ignore, the last sentence in my above post. It was written in haste and I regret its uncivil tone. My apologies to all.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 6, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
"A hobby cannot be clever. It is a past time. A way to find enjoyment without need for pecuniary gain."

If I may, please let me introduce you to what appears to be a new concept to you.....

speaking of something figuratively:

a departure from a literal use of words; metaphorically.
"we left a lot of people literally and figuratively in the dark"
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 6, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

"A hobby is not a product. Nobody has claim to it, nor is financially hurt by anyone exploring its varied facets, or its dilution."

Oh that's such a relief to me......you'll be first to agree then that nobody is financially hurt by anyone exploring/expressing alternative views to those that you hold.

Also, when it comes to views/opinions & who is the custodian of fact around the dilution subject.....you'll obviously agree that nobody has "claim" to that either.....and obviously that would include you also.

Being such the understanding liberal that your virtue signalling seems to imply, I know I can count on your support in advance - "embracing" my different views as an "enrichment" of the "diversity" in your ham world.....many thanks.....

 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KA1AL on December 6, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
GM1FLQ wrote:

"Oh that's such a relief to me......you'll be first to agree then that nobody is financially hurt by anyone exploring/expressing alternative views to those that you hold."

Exactly. You expressed yours, I expressed mine.

He also wrote:
"Also, when it comes to views/opinions & who is the custodian of fact around the dilution subject.....you'll obviously agree that nobody has "claim" to that either.....and obviously that would include you also."

Absolutely. We have differing opinions. That doesn't mean we need to raise it to the level of a quarrel.
I apologize for any incivility in my tone, and regret such.

He then wrote:
"Being such the understanding liberal that your virtue signalling seems to imply, I know I can count on your support in advance - "embracing" my different views as an "enrichment" of the "diversity" in your ham world.....many thanks..... "

Of course I support expression of your views, as mistaken as I think them to be. But as to any social, political, or economic views I may hold, well, you've heard the expression about assuming, correct?

I don't want to engage in a pissing match with you, and again, I'm sorry for giving the impression that is what I seek. I now regret that post and the distress it has caused.

Getting more to the point, what activities do and do not meet the definition of amateur radio? What determines who is worthy of being a ham?


 
Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by VE7VJ on December 7, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the interesting article Andrew. Yes I imagine it must be a bit of a thrill to contact the originator of a new mode, and one who has given so much to the hobby. Well done.

I have not yet tried FT8. I've been mostly inactive since a major move last year but I've been looking at the digital modes and will likely give them a shot once the good antenna erecting weather arrives - we're not quite below zero yet :)

 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by HB0PET on December 7, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
@ KA1AL
"What determines who is worthy of being a ham?"

If you are born as a domestic pig, then you have the best conditions to become a ham. ;)
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 7, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

......"you've heard the expression about assuming, correct?

I now regret that post and the distress it has caused."

Irony alert......

You made an assumption there......
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KA1AL on December 7, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
GM1FLQ wrote:
"You made an assumption there......"

Not at all. It has caused me distress. The assumptions have been all yours.

Since you insist upon pursuing a pissing match while I would rather not, and prefer to avoid any discussion of the issue, I shall now bow out of this exchange. You may have the last word.

My apologies to all, and NO6E especially, for contributing to the derailment of this discussion.
 
Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KC2QYM on December 7, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
For the sheer technical refinement and advancement of radio technology, nobody should denigrate new digital modes. Efficient use of RF, stable computer software, accurate translations, etc. It's the enhancement of the radio art for technology's sake. As far as how humans interact with each other it's not my cup of tea. I would rather rag chew for hours using the human voice as my initial input. That's my enjoyment in this hobby but I would never deny anyone else's enjoyment of boring digi mode communications.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by K0YQ on December 7, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I worked K1JT awhile ago on 40M FT8. Like QSOing with a higher power.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 7, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
"Being such the understanding liberal that your virtue signalling SEEMS TO IMPLY, I know I can count on your support in advance - "embracing" my different views as an "enrichment" of the "diversity" in your ham world.....many thanks..... "

"Of course I support expression of your views, as mistaken as I think them to be. But as to any social, political, or economic views I may hold, well, you've heard the expression about assuming, correct?"

"The assumptions have been all yours."

You are mistaken again.......I chose my wording carefully by including a proviso - I've put the "seems to imply" bit it in capitals for you this time ......

 
Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KA1AL on December 7, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Have two logged QSO's with K1JT, two years ago JT65, three months ago FT8. After the first one, I had to go tell my wife "I just made a contact with a Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist!" Being the wonderful wife, she showed some enthusiasm, "Wow! That's cool!" Each time I ended the QSO with "TU JOE 73" Thanks for the QSO's Joe, and thank you also for the JT and FT modes.
And thank you Andrew NO6E for sharing your enthusiasm.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by HB0PET on December 8, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
@ KA1AL

>After the first one, I had to go tell my wife "I just made a contact with a Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist!"<

Hey Joe, you're nothing more than a hypocritical, manipulative showman!
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 8, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

"Hey Joe, you're nothing more than a hypocritical, manipulative showman!"

......well, he thought he was being manipulative with the faux apologies and "distress"- and failing miserably.....
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by W7RF on December 8, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I don't think this controversy will go away but for me the THRILL of Ham radio is turning on the (HF) radio and NOT knowing exactly who or where I might hear or contact.
A very close 2nd to that is being proud of my skills (technically and as an operator). It's typical of those trying to make their point to go to extremes, like "well you can't decode SSTV in your head and need a computer for that". Yes, of course but as usual that is not the point.
Many have no ability to take responsibility for their actions or lack thereof.
So, when your wife has a bigger "pair" than you do and selects the perfect little house in the brand new HOA neighborhood, then YOU get to figure out what kind of crappy antenna you put up and how close it is to everything that generates noise. So, you gravitate to something that can deal with that, a computer.
Then there is the type who have no skills and does not want to learn anything, hence the computer makes the contact. For all the blather, the computer makes the contact and the "medium" of transmission can be either the internet or in the case of FT-8 , etc a radio. But the radio has to be set on a particular frequency, there is no tuning done and nothing heard by the operator (if anything at all) but noise. Might as well navigate to a particular website or chat room.
This particular group would benefit highly by learning CW as this is a terrific weak signal mode that you actually have the ability to tune to with your radio, actually HEAR and DECODE in your head with your own developed skills! What a novel concept!
Yeah, I know.... "I have to live in an HOA, I bought my house before I became a Ham, I......." (whatever the excuse, fill in the blank). The digital modes are a fascinating development and quite an accomplishment for those with a brain large enough to develop them but for a USER of the modes, there is nothing to be proud of when your computer decodes a transmission below the noise that you can't hear or tune to find. Yes, I know "to each his own".
For me, my pride and enjoyment comes from accomplishments of my own!
73, Dan W7RF
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 8, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

"I don't think this controversy will go away but for me the THRILL of Ham radio is turning on the (HF) radio and NOT knowing exactly who or where I might hear or contact."

Bingo! - a radio ham, those that require more to hold their interest are better described as hobbyists.....
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by G4VGO on December 8, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Amen!

Over five decades this hobby has become a means to an equipment manufacturers bottom line.

More numbers, more sales.

After a couple of years back in the hobby I gave up - anyway, good comments.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by AC7CW on December 8, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Is there enough extra text in FT8 to say "I am unworthy!"? I'll put that in a macro if I work JT himself :)
 
So Does This Count For Anything…? Reply
by VE3CUI on December 9, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I once worked a guy on CW who homebrewed his 1929-style transmitter using nothing but everyday common household items to be found in a typical kitchen, scrap drawer, etc.

And I DO mean EVERYTHING --- capacitors, resistors, sockets…everything but the 201A tube in his design, that is.

His rig was REALLY quite ingenious in its execution, and worked well…so does THIS count for anything, I wonder…? :o)

~73~ de Eddy VE3CUI - VE3XZ
 
My Rare Contact Reply
by VE3FMC on December 9, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Years ago I had a CW QSO with some guy who held the call sign G5RV :) Received a nice letter, photo of his shack and QSL card. I was pretty shaky with CW (even worse now ) but Louis slowed right down and we had a nice QSO. I remember that contact like it happened yesterday.
 
Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by NO6L on December 9, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Not to be a killjoy, but even Marconi had actual QSOs after a while. I'll take a long winded QSO, on any mode, over a quick call sign trade any day. Let's use all that knowledge to increase throughput of ACTUAL information in adverse conditions.
 
Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KK4Z on December 11, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Just to keep everybody honest, at least here in the US, it is a service.

47 CFR §97.1
Basis and purpose.
The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.

(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.

(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by KI3R on December 11, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
To KK4Z ..... Bingo !!!!! It is all there if everyone would read and "meditate" on these points ... Take care all .... Tom KI3R
 
Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by K3FHP on December 12, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
More accurate information is exchanged in an FT8 qso than the average dx qso. For one, an accurate location and an accurate signal report, not an automatic 599. Using psk reporter, you can get accurate reports from around the world....quite heplful when evaluating antennas, power levels, and propagation.

If you want to try a chat/ragchew mode, try FSQ on 7104. It's goo to -12 to -14db s/n too.
 
RE: Like Contacting Marconi in Morse Code Reply
by GM1FLQ on December 12, 2017 Mail this to a friend!

"More accurate information is exchanged in an FT8 qso than the average dx qso."

Gee, that's marvelous - and what's more, you could also replace the whole ham band medium with the internet and an Apple like product - and that would make it more efficient/improve productivity for you as well.....



 
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