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Author Topic: Is FT8 "Automatic Digital Control" as defined by the FCC?  (Read 6914 times)
WO7R
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Posts: 3251




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« Reply #75 on: April 14, 2018, 11:08:27 AM »

Quote
No, it's perfectly fair.  He inserted that code personally, based on his own opinion about a particular other operator's behavior.  The fact that he's done a fantastic job with the software otherwise just highlights that this particular decision was a disappointment.

"You're not thinking fourth dimensionally, Marty."

This is a far more clever move than it appears.  If you understand open source, you'll realize this.  It's a very measured response.

1.  The team (and Joe) knows that open source code cannot be withdrawn.  The existing binary, that SV5DKL uses, will continue to be possessed, and, presumably, used by SV5DKL.

2.  The team did not adopt harsher measures, such as refusing to decode SV5DKL in the stream.  So, if SV5DKL persists with the older binary, nobody loses anything.  Not even SV5DKL.  Unless, of course, SV5DKL decides to upgrade.  But, in fact, what it reveals is that SV5DKL hacked and requires particular versions for his hack to work now.  It shows his macro for the true hack that it is.

3.  Moreover, SV5DKL has successfully trolled us all and has been doing a good job shifting the blame for this "innovation" of his to Joe and the team.  This move has exposed what should have always been clear -- the blame for "fully automated operations" belongs with the one who both created it and then decried it.  His whine has been that it was so easy to do.  Well, now it has been shown to be not quite so easy to do as claimed.  He now has to talk explicitly like a hacker -- his actions were always that of a hacker.  It's just now obvious to the non-programmer.

4.  All without denying anyone anything, really.
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KJ4Z
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« Reply #76 on: April 14, 2018, 11:19:39 AM »

This is a far more clever move than it appears.  If you understand open source, you'll realize this.  It's a very measured response.

I do acknowledge that it's a limited (and possibly clever) response, and have done so since my first comment.  And I have acknowledged that it could have been harsher.  Really, my objection is about Strict Ethical Purity, rather than pragmatism.   Smiley

But the truth is, no matter what SV5DKL may or may not do, there's a far more elegant way to skin this cat.  There's a sorta-secret API, exposed via UDP, that powers tools like JTAlert and so on.  I think the only place it's documented is in the source code.  I looked into it last summer and it would be perfectly possible to create a cross-platform python script that does what he's doing, more cleanly and simply.  I never pursued it because, fundamentally, I am lazy.  But as long as that API is there, it will be possible to automate FT8 without a code change.
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WO7R
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« Reply #77 on: April 14, 2018, 11:31:12 AM »

Sorry, that's nonsense.  Any sort of macro is a code change.  That's been true since. . .forever as far as programming goes.  There's nothing magical about tampering with the source versus tampering with the binary or faking the input to do what wasn't intended.  Programmers have been doing all of that (sometimes quite legitimately) since programming was invented.

What Joe has done is simply to make it clear to all and sundry where the responsibility lies.  That's all, ultimately, anyone can do.  Code can always be abused.  And, in the case of any sort of amateur protocol, code can even be written from scratch or, if open source, adapted.  It's just a question of not allowing the abuser to pretend that the original team is responsible for the abuse.  It puts ownership where it belongs (thus short circuiting the trolling).

It's also a shot across the bow.  Harsher measures are indeed available.  Just not really necessary.
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VA3VF
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« Reply #78 on: April 14, 2018, 11:35:16 AM »

There's a sorta-secret API, exposed via UDP, that powers tools like JTAlert and so on.  I think the only place it's documented is in the source code.  I looked into it last summer and it would be perfectly possible to create a cross-platform python script that does what he's doing, more cleanly and simply.  I never pursued it because, fundamentally, I am lazy.  But as long as that API is there, it will be possible to automate FT8 without a code change.

Who is to say the next action will not involve what you described?

Let's give the developers the freedom to develop the mode further. If other unintended uses, or workarounds surface, they will deal with it.

Or they may just say: "To heck with it all. I have better things to do with my time."
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KG7OEV
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« Reply #79 on: April 14, 2018, 12:24:24 PM »

In my opinion, SV5DKL is the equivalent to someone who goes around breaking into cars just to prove the police are ineffective. At the end of the day, he is responsible for doing something that is against the rules, but will continue to cry that it was just too easy and the problem was with the police, car manufacturers and owners.

In amateur radio, much of our operating practices are defined by our personal ethics. Do we game the system or play it straight? Do we have other ops work our station as us or not? Do we obey power limits or not? The fact is, technology will continue to advance and the opportunity to do something less than "ethical" will only increase in every aspect of radio. FT8 is not the problem. The behavior of individuals like SV5DKL is the problem.

As an individual who has contributed code to open-source projects, I can say that it is virtually inevitable that someone will modify the code and compile versions that will provide opportunities for unethical operation. But in time, there will be tools that accommodate this on virtually every mode, including CW. What then? The answer will be to operate within the rules set forth by our governing entities and, for the most part, shared standards of behavior. Just as it is today.

So this is nothing new. The question is whether or not to operate within the rules and ethical behavior we agreed to as licensees. Sadly, SV5DKL is not.

What is even more sad is that he continues his effort to hurt those who operate within the existing rules and ethical standards of the amateur service in order to protect his own perceived status validated by awards and similar. 

Marlin
KG7OEV
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KJ4Z
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« Reply #80 on: April 14, 2018, 12:28:21 PM »

Leveraging an API to do something that is legal but unintended is hacking and abuse now?

If we, as a community, have a problem with automated stations, let’s address that. It’s not a problem with FT8 nor is it Joe Taylor’s responsibility.  We should ban automated stations for DXCC or whatever our other concern is.

And, let’s not pretend this will continue to be even trivially difficult. I already wrote a script that is essentially double click, and requires no paid software and is cross platform.  I’m not publishing it because I don’t want to go there.  But someone will.  FT8 cries out to be automated.
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SV5DKL
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« Reply #81 on: April 14, 2018, 01:05:37 PM »

No code has been altered in any way for my implementation of fully automatic FT8 operation, not necessarily working unattended. In countries where automatic, unattended transmissions on a temporary or permanent basis are perfectly defined in legislation, like here, one can leave it harvesting contacts while e.g
 enjoying an evening walk by the beach, if one wishes.
From my point of view, someone has to formally clarify why this restriction for my callsign lies within the official source code.
Really, who is accountable for that part of the source code?
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WO7R
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« Reply #82 on: April 14, 2018, 01:23:10 PM »

Quote
Really, who is accountable for that part of the source code?

You are.  It would never have existed save for some very deliberate work on your part.  Whatever is or is not legal in your country is beside the point and you know it.

You're trolling us all by deliberately overturning a key design decision and then watching the predictable firestorm.  And, stop hiding behind the feeble excuse that a macro isn't code.  If you are a professional programmer, you should know better.  If you are not, I am telling you it is simply not a valid argument, having done similar things professional for decades.
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KG7OEV
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« Reply #83 on: April 14, 2018, 01:25:30 PM »

From my point of view, someone has to formally clarify why this restriction for my callsign lies within the official source code.
Really, who is accountable for that part of the source code?

They do not owe you any explanation. They can change it in any manner they desire. You are also free to compile your own, as you know.

That being said, you know why. Stop trying to make them out as the problem, as it is your behavior that is most damaging to amateur radio.

Marlin
KG7OEV
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VA3VF
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Posts: 1957




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« Reply #84 on: April 14, 2018, 01:37:38 PM »

Really, who is accountable for that part of the source code?

It's clear that you have both the time and the energy available to pursue bigger and better things. Why don't you develop a new mode?

If you don't want to go that far, modify the original source code with your improvements, and release it under a different name. The folks behind JTDX did just that.
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KJ4Z
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« Reply #85 on: April 14, 2018, 02:33:03 PM »

Whatever is or is not legal in your country is beside the point and you know it.

My question is entirely sincere: how is what is legal or not in his country completely irrelevant to the discussion?  Are we debating the merits of his argument or his manner of delivery?  It's also not clear to me that he has broken any written rule, even if many consider his behavior to be obnoxious (I admit, I have not been following it).  We could agree that he's being disingenuous while still conceding that his operations have shown that unattended operation is already upon us, and may be "in the wild" already more than we know.  Furthermore, we need to further disentangle FT8 the protocol, WSJT-X its reference implementation, and automated operation, because they are three different concerns.  We could agree that the latter is a problem and the former is not, even if the middle one makes achieving the latter trivial.

So, what is it, exactly, that people are upset about?
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VA3VF
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« Reply #86 on: April 14, 2018, 03:02:31 PM »

My question is entirely sincere:

(I admit, I have not been following it).

So, what is it, exactly, that people are upset about?

My answer is entirely sincere as well!

He wants to impose his way of thinking on everybody else.

He does not like a mode that is legal, and enjoyed by a large number of hams.

Instead of simply not using the mode, and enjoying the hobby any way he sees fit, he feels he has to do the 'right thing', and guide the 'unwashed' away from it. He is not seeing success in his endeavor, and is unhappy about it.

People will take it, and be nice, up to a point. Some of us are past that point.

He claims to have inside info that Region 1 will propose changes in the next international meeting.  Based on the number of FT8 users in Region 1, I wonder where is the legitimacy for these proposed changes coming from?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 03:14:25 PM by VA3VF » Logged
KJ4Z
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« Reply #87 on: April 14, 2018, 03:52:35 PM »

People will take it, and be nice, up to a point. Some of us are past that point.

Well, I definitely do sense a lot of interpersonal frustration on the thread.   Grin

I'm trying to discern whether there's more to it than that.  Is the general mood in the forum antagonistic to automated stations, and in favor of FT8?  I definitely perceive a general anti-automation perspective (although I am not sure if it's universal), and a more equivocal position on FT8.

Full disclosure, if it wasn't clear, I am in favor of FT8 "counting" and I am indifferent about automated QSOs "counting."
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VA3VF
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« Reply #88 on: April 14, 2018, 04:16:02 PM »

People will take it, and be nice, up to a point. Some of us are past that point.

Well, I definitely do sense a lot of interpersonal frustration on the thread.   Grin

I'm trying to discern whether there's more to it than that.  Is the general mood in the forum antagonistic to automated stations, and in favor of FT8?  I definitely perceive a general anti-automation perspective (although I am not sure if it's universal), and a more equivocal position on FT8.

Full disclosure, if it wasn't clear, I am in favor of FT8 "counting" and I am indifferent about automated QSOs "counting."

I don't recall a single defender of automated FT8 stations here on eHam. That does not mean they are not out there. They may simply be minding their own business, and enjoying themselves in the process. Therefore, as far as I'm aware, he is preaching to the wrong crowd about the evils of FT8 bots.

And yes, there is more to it. He feels that FT8 has cheapened his DXCC achievements. On this aspect, he is not alone here on eHam. That's a valid opinion, whether one agrees with it or not.

As I said before, his achievements may have been cheapend way before FT8 entered the scene. There are all sorts of hams out there, with varied ethical and moral standards.

I don't care about how others achieved their DXCC awards. It's their business. I know how I achieved mine, and I'm happy about it.
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KJ4Z
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« Reply #89 on: April 14, 2018, 04:28:06 PM »

And yes, there is more to it. He feels that FT8 has cheapened his DXCC achievements. On this aspect, he is not alone here on eHam. That's a valid opinion, whether one agrees with it or not.

That much, I got.  I was hoping we, as a group, could imagine SV5DKL had never built his bot for a moment, because it feels like today's discussion was almost all about SV5DKL and his implementation and demeanor, not about the underlying issues.  And I think he has exposed a legitimate issue: FT8 is automated to a fare-thee-well already, minus a mouse click, and probably people have been quietly automating it for some time.  If that bothers others enough that they want to ban the mode altogether, we should probably just pass a new rule against automation and be done with it.  It sounds like that part would attract little objection, most likely.

But maybe that's not even really the problem.  Maybe the problem really is that FT8 is too easy.  For that, I got nothin'.
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