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Author Topic: FT8 just might do in CW?  (Read 2757 times)
K0IZ
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« on: November 23, 2017, 04:31:40 PM »

First, disclosure:  I passed 13 WPM way back when.  I liked CW but was never very good at.

FT8 is becoming very popular in a surprisingly short time.  Primary benefit, as I see it, is the ability to work stations well below normal signal levels.  Thus opening up opportunities for small pistols.  To some extent, that's also a traditional advantage of CW (vs phone).  More efficient, narrower passbands.

So it causes me to wonder if FT8 just might take a big chunk out of CW activity?
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N9AOP
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2017, 04:38:07 PM »

Only if you hate CW.  No computer is needed to do CW.  FT8 is the in mode for now and if you are in a restricted environment (HOA) you can make many contacts without bothering to learn anything.  CW requires you to learn something.
Art
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VK5EEE
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2017, 04:47:10 PM »

Certainly FT8 and the concomitant move toward automation, "robotification" and the creation of the ideal society in which humans stop reproduction and become as far as possible, robots, make use of robots from everything from sexual urges to transport to communications, to defense, decision-making, to create the "ideal" efficient economic machine where the non-productive (producing no profits for the machine) are wiped out via entertainment, distraction, suicide, automatic imprisonment at home, drugs illegal and "legal", no independent thinking, reasoning, nor logic, no rights, lowest pay, maximum profit, will along with other digital modes that circumvent the "local noise" and "power" and "antenna restriction" problems which are otherwise killing off amateur radio, and allow amateur radio "users" to simply switch on and look at results now and then or, via JT8 manually partake should they wish, lessen the upswing in the CW Revolution.

HOWEVER, no matter what else happens, for that minority who value freedom, therapeutic activities such as real live music creation and participation, Morse Code, talking with fingers, skills and capacity development, THAT side of CW can never be taken away and there will always be people until the last man standing, who will enjoy Morse Code. Devalued DXCC, and valuable activities like SOTA, will be impacted in that fewer will use CW than before, and the digital revolution will continue until total revolution (revolution means going back to the starting point after 360 degrees turn, not necessarily a revival or progressive thing, the English language is a very ambiguous one).
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
WW7KE
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 04:47:34 PM »

Only if you hate CW.  No computer is needed to do CW.  FT8 is the in mode for now and if you are in a restricted environment (HOA) you can make many contacts without bothering to learn anything.  CW requires you to learn something.

The knowledge of International Morse Code is no longer a requirement for an Amateur Radio license, and hasn't been for years.  It is an irrelevancy unless you just like and want to learn and use it (nothing at all wrong with that, either).

CW can also be operated via computer, although programs like fldigi don't do a very good job of decoding it.

Now, I'll get off your lawn. Grin
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He speaks fluent PSK31...  One QSO with him earns you 5BDXCC...  His Wouff Hong has two Wouffs... Hiram Percy Maxim called HIM "The Old Man..."  He is... The Most Interesting Ham In The World!
KF7DS
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 08:47:48 PM »

Only if you hate CW.  No computer is needed to do CW.  FT8 is the in mode for now and if you are in a restricted environment (HOA) you can make many contacts without bothering to learn anything.  CW requires you to learn something.
Art


+1....and that is why SKCC has been growing for years and CW Ops Academy is so popular. After the initial allure of FT8 wears off, one realizes it’s incredibly boring. I will never give up CW but after 15 FT8 qsos I am done with it. PSK31 is a lot more fun as you are actually talking to someone.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2017, 10:24:31 PM »

With PSK31 "you're actually talking to someone?"  You sure can't prove that by me!

At one time yes, but then it became a QSO of macros.  As EEE pointed out, it is an exchange of robots.  Same with the rest of the digital modes.

I'm not saying they're worthless or don't have a place in ham radio....nothing is further from the truth. 

But there is a 'magic' when you hear a signal consisting of simple dits and dahs and understand them, reach for your key and call him and have this guy, somewhere in the world, come back to your call.  I think the 'magic' comes from having these....dits and dahs..... in your head that you automatically assemble to what you want and communicate using them. 

It is a feeling that can't be replicated by tapping an "F" key!

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AC7CW
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2017, 10:49:50 PM »

CW is music. FT8 is passing notes in the music classroom perhaps, except the notes don't say much... Like somebody sends you a note in the classroom that says "I'm sitting right over here" and you look and you can see that they are sitting right there. Then you send them a note that says "I'm sitting right over here" and they look at you and confirm that you are indeed sitting right over there so they give you a thumb's up and you give them a sign that means "cool, well I've got more notes to read so later except I don't send notes to people but once"
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Novice 1958, 20WPM Extra now... (and get off my lawn)
VK5EEE
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2017, 11:29:18 PM »

I'm not saying they're (digital modes are) worthless or don't have a place in ham radio....nothing is further from the truth. 

But there is a 'magic' when you hear a signal consisting of simple dits and dahs and understand them, reach for your key and call him and have this guy, somewhere in the world, come back to your call.  I think the 'magic' comes from having these....dits and dahs..... in your head that you automatically assemble to what you want and communicate using them. 

It is a feeling that can't be replicated by tapping an "F" key!
Couldn't have been said better! The magic of CW indeed.

And the music as AC7CW compared the boring restrictiveness with such a good analogy of passing notes.

I agree with KF7DS that PSK31 is a good digital mode, I've used it, but it did wear off quickly compared to CW, but, if I want to use digital I'd certainly be using that mode these days. At least it is the modern form of RTTY. Downsides are that there is no QSK, unlike CW, so you are deaf while you "talk". That is perhaps another big thing that CW has over EVERY other digital mode including ARQ ones, it is really instant two-way near-duplex, even SSB with VOX doesn't come close!

I think we can conclude that FT8 is no real threat to CW and even less so than I hypothesised in my earlier response.
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
VK5EEE
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Posts: 1170




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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 12:58:06 AM »

So let's see, what is the speed of FT8? How does it compare to human CW?

FT8: FORCED to have 15 second transmit and 15 second receive frames.
CW: instant <0.1 second transmission and reception frames, duplex, QSK

FT8: keying rate = tone spacing = 5.86 Hz
CW: keying rate 60+ WPM, 25 WPM typical (even at 18WPM with abbvns)

FT8 bandwidth: 47 Hz
CW bandwidth: 20 Hz

FT8 suitability for 5NN TU: almost ONLY for 5NN TU not much else, but slow, 30 seconds to complete a two-way "5NN TU"
CW suitability for 5NN TU: also suitable for 5NN TU, complete two-way "5NN TU" in under 10 seconds

FT8: forces you to know if you had a QSO before, "Green", no need to bother with "another" contact with no added info exchange
CW: optional if you want to QSO again, and add more info, about anything you care to share, age, job, how was your weekend

What is just incredibly bizarre is that JT mode users are praising how "incredibly fast" this mode is, when it's speed comes no where near CW, but what they mean is it is four times faster than JT65 which presumably means instead of a 2 minute long transmission to exchange callsign and report and locator and virtually nothing else, you can exchange this same limited information and virtually nothing else, within 30 seconds. But you could to that in CW at a tiny fraction of that time.

So what they must be meaning more when they say it is "fast" they mean for "5NN TU" style DX pile up digital mode contacts in very weak Signal-to-Noise ratios, below the lowest noise level even a CW signal can go, so in those conditions, a "contact" can take place. But in any normal DX conditions CW is faster, and, CW is not restricted to only "5NN TU".

So honestly I cannot see what all the fuss is about, those who like to have an orgasm within 30 seconds with a robot blow up doll, be my guest. Those who like foreplay, and prolonged orgasms, and all the additional fun, with a real woman, well CW would be your drink. Those for whom driving is fun and freedom: CW is your car, horse, private plane or any other vehicle of your choice, FT8 is being strapped to the passenger seat of the aircraft flying at high speed but only from A to B with little or no entertainment on board.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 01:00:16 AM by VK5EEE » Logged

Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
K4YWZ
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2017, 05:05:37 AM »

FT8 do in CW?  Nah, not a chance!

FT8 touches on part of the magic that is radio... the miracle of where your signal ends up.  But its canned, automated nature fails to capture the other part... that there is a live, flawed, organic, and unpredictable human being at the other end.

For me, the allure of FT8 is its powerful ability to dig out even the most tenuous of signals.  But even that's cheating - when your QSO is short and never-wavering it's a lot easier to write an algorithm to pull that fixed pattern out of the ether.  Even phone requires - or, better said, it rewards - an operator who knows what s/he is doing.  Trying to pull out that voice down in the noise.  Slowly tweaking the pass band.  Adding this filter.  Removing that one.  And depending upon experience and intuition to bring it all together.

CW, of course, rewards all those same skills, but at another level, still. 

I tip my hat to those who like FT8, but for me it's too much like dancing alone.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 05:08:53 AM by K4YWZ » Logged
VK5EEE
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2017, 05:18:50 AM »

Great post OM and welcome to Eham forums, we hope we will hear from you more often!
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
WB0CJB
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2017, 09:41:40 AM »

I don't think FT8 or any digital mode will do in CW. In time some people will tire of the crowded FT8 freqs and return to the phone and CW subbands. On major contests, DX, SS WES, and even SKN you will hear a bunch of CW usage. Even SKCC membership is still growing.

I will admit I do dabble on the digital bands due to the fact that you can find (and work) DX that normally isn't heard on the other modes.

WB0CJB
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KD7HNN
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2017, 10:22:28 AM »

The US Ham ticket died when they killed the CW requirement. They practically give away licensees now, just memorize the answers to the question pool and BAM you're in! Many of the folks who have classes to prepare you for the exam will tell you which questions to memorize.

The experienced hams with decent stations will try FT8 and move on. Some will stay, but most will play with it while it's new. The newer ham who knows nothing and has a very basic station will stick around because they don't know the code, and their station is too small to make consistent DX SSB qso's unless their on the east coast.

Now, the horrendous operating practice witnessed daily on FT8 because people just don't have a clue and many of the newer elmers are teaching bad operating is for a different thread I suppose. 
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AA4OO
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2017, 11:12:24 AM »

FT-8 is good example of hams experimenting with new methods of communication.  It, and the other FT/JT modes really push the boundaries of how a signal can get through in terrible conditions.

If it could carry more information than the 78 bits (that's from memory but I think it's close) in one exchange then it could be ideal for very low powered/solar operated stations air-dropped into disaster areas to get health and welfare messages through.  I'd like to be involved in the software/programming side of a project like that.

I see a lot of potential, pushing the boundaries in amateur radio with modes such as these, but at present, you can't actually have a conversation using it, so I have no interest.

If I was a paper chaser I'd use it. 

I learned CW recently because it's fun to use.  It challenges my puny brain and I enjoy using my homebuilt 1-watter radio and the computer between my ears to learn a bit about someone I'd likely not have the opportunity to meet any other way.

Richard AA4OO
http://hamradioqrp.com
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Lower your Power and Raise your expectations
K8AXW
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2017, 06:41:02 PM »

Quote
I learned CW recently because it's fun to use.  It challenges my puny brain and I enjoy using my homebuilt 1-watter radio and the computer between my ears to learn a bit about someone I'd likely not have the opportunity to meet any other way.

Very well put!  Only those who have experienced this will understand.
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