Monday, September 10, 2018


Back in the 1990's - way back in the last century, I was into the digital modes for a bit. Back then, in the Dark Ages, all we had were RTTY, AMTOR, PacTOR, Helleschrieber and a few other exotic modes. I think Olivia was just jumping on the scene back then, if memory serves correctly (which it probably doesn't). Maybe it was just that it was so seldom heard on the bands that it seemed like it was brand new.

It was fun and I participated in probably 4 or 5 RTTY Roundups and made an acceptable showing for the ARRL NNJ Section. But truth be told, after I while I grew weary of it.  Granted, I had some really great QSOs, including some very neat DX QSOs.  But as the digital modes became more and more popular, it seemed (to me) that QSOs started devolving into a bunch of exchange of computerized macros and real "honest-to-goodness" conversation became more and more scarce.

So now, I've been reading about the latest and greatest mode, FT8 and the even newer FT8Call. They seem to be all the rage with Amateur Ops extolling their virtues. I even read Dan KB6NU's recent post about FT8Call and how the mode is evolving into one where you can actually have conversations instead of just computers talking back and forth between themselves.

In his post, Dan mentions that actual messaging is kind of slow, where one message can take "several 15 second time slots" to get through. Wow! That just kind of struck me a slow for such a sophisticated low power mode. Kind of reminded me of this:

Now before I get lambasted and dragged all over the hot coals, please know this post is all in fun and is not meant to demean or denigrate anyone else's enjoyment of Amateur Radio. It just seems to me, as a veteran Op, with some years of experience under my belt, that there truly is never anything completely "new under the sun."

So for those of you who enjoy FT8, FT8Call, PSK31, WJT, WJST and all the other combinations of alphanumeric soup out there - God bless you all! Knock yourselves out, have fun and keep coming up with the new stuff. it enriches the hobby, no doubt about that.

But as for W2LJ, I'll just keep going with "Ol' Reliable" and will continuously ride "Westward,Ho!", right into the old dinosaur sunset.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

No comments:

Post a Comment