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Author Topic: FT8 just might do in CW?  (Read 2850 times)
W7ASA
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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2017, 03:53:25 PM »

I downloaded the program so that I could see what the JT modes are like.  I had downloaded it when I heard about WSPR. For me, it's an automated award generator: not communication.  If you don't have a conversation, for my tastes, I'm not interested.  "5NN" and grid square are not the same as discussing where you're camped, what the fly fishing is  like in south eastern Idaho, how the salmon run is going in the waters off Nanaimo, B.C. & etc. What I did see were computer programs filling in canned 'variables' and nothing more. If this excites people - so be it.  I'd rather actually converse with my fellow hams on HF.

73 de Ray  ..._  ._
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WW7KE
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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2017, 04:40:02 PM »

I downloaded the program so that I could see what the JT modes are like.  I had downloaded it when I heard about WSPR. For me, it's an automated award generator: not communication.  If you don't have a conversation, for my tastes, I'm not interested.  "5NN" and grid square are not the same as discussing where you're camped, what the fly fishing is  like in south eastern Idaho, how the salmon run is going in the waters off Nanaimo, B.C. & etc. What I did see were computer programs filling in canned 'variables' and nothing more. If this excites people - so be it.  I'd rather actually converse with my fellow hams on HF.

73 de Ray  ..._  ._

All that is true, but it depends on why you're using it.  I build and test limited-space antennas, so the digital modes are the best way to determine how well I'm getting out. 

Also, if one is limited by an HOA or the FAA (my case -- no HOA here, but I'm near an airport and limited to a height of 20 ft.), it may be the only way to get on the air at all and have some kind of success with QRP and/or DX work.  QRP CW is iffy, and forget SSB for the most part.  But digital modes work in this context.
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AA4OO
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2017, 05:33:21 PM »


All that is true, but it depends on why you're using it.  I build and test limited-space antennas, so the digital modes are the best way to determine how well I'm getting out. 

Also, if one is limited by an HOA or the FAA (my case -- no HOA here, but I'm near an airport and limited to a height of 20 ft.), it may be the only way to get on the air at all and have some kind of success with QRP and/or DX work.  QRP CW is iffy, and forget SSB for the most part.  But digital modes work in this context.
I operate primarily QRP.  A ladder line fed doublet winding around in my attic works the world with CW.

You don't have to use FT-8 to communicate with antenna restrictions. I'd agree that the FT and JT digital modes allow for interesting propagation studies, but that really isn't communicating is it? 

If you decide to try CW with antenna restrictions I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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WW7KE
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« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2017, 05:42:19 PM »

I operate primarily QRP.  A ladder line fed doublet winding around in my attic works the world with CW.

You don't have to use FT-8 to communicate with antenna restrictions. I'd agree that the FT and JT digital modes allow for interesting propagation studies, but that really isn't communicating is it?  

If you decide to try CW with antenna restrictions I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I could probably pass my 13 wpm General test (I do listen once in awhile), but I haven't had a CW QSO in 20 years.  I still have my ancient J-38 straight key from my Novice days (1970-71), but have never owned a keyer.  Fldigi is almost useless as a CW decoder, and actually distracts me when I try to copy by ear (Yeah, I know -- Doc, it hurts when I do this... Grin ).

Maybe I should build a keyer and give it another shot.  JT65 and FT8 do get boring after awhile, but they do what they do very well.  
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KD8ZM
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« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2017, 06:57:28 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?
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?

It's only natural that the computer generation is going to adopt digital modes rather than CW. Maybe some will pick up CW, eventually. Many old timers would have done the same if it had been an option back in the 1960s.
I don't really see much in common between CW and FT8. With CW, you converse. With FT8, your computer trades call signs with someone else's computer.  Nothing wrong with that necessarily,  but certainly nowhere near the same.
I don't know how to do digital modes at all, not a clue, so I guess you really do have to learn something to do FT8. Just like with CW.
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WW7KE
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« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2017, 07:20:58 PM »

I don't really see much in common between CW and FT8. With CW, you converse. With FT8, your computer trades call signs with someone else's computer.  Nothing wrong with that necessarily,  but certainly nowhere near the same.

I click the "Enable TX" button on my PC to start transmitting.  No real difference between that and using your keyer or keying the microphone.  Nothing I do is automatic.  I don't think the FCC has changed the rule that mandates that I keep control over my transmitter.  But otherwise, FT8 and JT65 are not designed to be rag chew modes.  RTTY and PSK31 are better for that.

Quote
I don't know how to do digital modes at all, not a clue, so I guess you really do have to learn something to do FT8. Just like with CW.

There is a learning curve, just like every other mode.  It just requires a computer rather than a key.  Timing is an issue for FT8, moreso than any other mode.  I'm still figuring that out. Grin
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KD8IIC
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« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2017, 09:20:43 PM »

    Seems like the real value of this mode JT8 is that it doesn't reqiure someone to make an effort to learn a valuable
    mental skill.
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KD8ZM
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« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2017, 05:23:25 AM »

    Seems like the real value of this mode JT8 is that it doesn't reqiure someone to make an effort to learn a valuable
    mental skill.
It's a difficult mental skill, but outside of some Mad Max scenario,  not sure how valuable it is. I like CW, but it's notrelevant outside of ham radio.
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W7ASA
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« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2017, 06:51:54 AM »

WW7KE said: "...it depends on why you're using it".

Exactly on point.  For me, Morse conversations are the key.  For you, the technical measurement capability of WSPR family of modes serves as a very useful remote measuring array.  The ability to make measured A/B testing on antennas is very useful and eliminates the subjective 'signal reporting' of some distant station in voice who tells you what they think they just heard. So, our primary usefulness and enjoyment of ham radio and CW in my case, is different and can easily coexist on the ham bands. 


73 de Ray  ..._  ._
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AA4OO
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« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2017, 10:40:16 AM »

I operate primarily QRP.  A ladder line fed doublet winding around in my attic works the world with CW.

You don't have to use FT-8 to communicate with antenna restrictions. I'd agree that the FT and JT digital modes allow for interesting propagation studies, but that really isn't communicating is it?  

If you decide to try CW with antenna restrictions I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I could probably pass my 13 wpm General test (I do listen once in awhile), but I haven't had a CW QSO in 20 years.  I still have my ancient J-38 straight key from my Novice days (1970-71), but have never owned a keyer.  Fldigi is almost useless as a CW decoder, and actually distracts me when I try to copy by ear (Yeah, I know -- Doc, it hurts when I do this... Grin ).

Maybe I should build a keyer and give it another shot.  JT65 and FT8 do get boring after awhile, but they do what they do very well.  

You're J-38 will do fine for you.  No need to build a keyer just to get back into it.  The SKCC http://www.skccgroup.com/ is a great group to join for those new to CW or those returning after many years.  They have a nice page for spotting members calling CQ and most of the code is sent slow.  Their only stipulation is that you use a mechanical key (straight key, cootie or bug) for the contact to count as a SKCC contact.
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KD8ZM
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« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2017, 11:35:43 AM »

So, a paddle doesn't count?
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K5UNX
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« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2017, 12:22:58 PM »

Don't understand how FT-8 could replace CW and I don't do CW yet . . . well I am learning CW but only have tow contacts so far.

To me, JT-65, JT-9 & FT-8 are not good for anything other than adding contacts to the log. I have a lot more JT-mode contacts than CW including WAS endorsement for JT-65 so I think I understand the mode(s).  Once you get signal reports, & grid square there isn't a provision for an actual conversation. How's the weather? What's your rig? How are the kids? I mean it would be like claiming that a Yugo could replace a semi. They both can travel down the highway but they have different use cases. Both will stick around I think. JT modes for those that simply want contacts and CW for those that was to communicate about more than grid squares and signal reports for starters.
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AA4OO
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« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2017, 12:40:20 PM »

So, a paddle doesn't count?
The SKCC offers some award levels for number of contacts with other SKCC members.  You shouldn't count a contact with another SKCC member if either of you are using a non mechanical key.  

If you use a paddle with a keyer, or keyboard entry, that doesn't count toward number of contacts.  They aren't "discouraging" use of keyers, they are just a group "encouraging" use of mechanical keys.
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KD8ZM
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« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2017, 12:52:46 PM »

So, a paddle doesn't count?
The SKCC offers some award levels for number of contacts with other SKCC members.  You shouldn't count a contact with another SKCC member if either of you are using a non mechanical key.  

If you use a paddle with a keyer, or keyboard entry, that doesn't count toward number of contacts.  They aren't "discouraging" use of keyers, they are just a group "encouraging" use of mechanical keys.

Oh. I always assumed paddles counted as mechanical but the bugs didn't. Guess I assumed wrong! So I've just started to learn paddles. Should I stop and just stick with the straight key?
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AA4OO
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« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2017, 04:49:13 PM »

So, a paddle doesn't count?
The SKCC offers some award levels for number of contacts with other SKCC members.  You shouldn't count a contact with another SKCC member if either of you are using a non mechanical key. 

If you use a paddle with a keyer, or keyboard entry, that doesn't count toward number of contacts.  They aren't "discouraging" use of keyers, they are just a group "encouraging" use of mechanical keys.

Oh. I always assumed paddles counted as mechanical but the bugs didn't. Guess I assumed wrong! So I've just started to learn paddles. Should I stop and just stick with the straight key?

Use whichever you prefer,  I was just explaining the QSO rules for counting SKCC contacts.  I started with a straight key, but it was just my preference.
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