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[TenTec] Old Modes never die... they just get soundcard support!

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Subject: [TenTec] Old Modes never die... they just get soundcard support!
From: johnclif@ix.netcom.com (John Clifford)
Date: Fri Apr 4 14:01:47 2003
Interesting thread about preferability of FSK over AFSK for RTTY... but it
leads to a question.

One poster moaned that the old modes like CW and RTTY were dying.  With the
resurgence in popularity of QRP CW I don't think that CW is dying, but I do
think RTTY's days are numbered.

To most CW fans, Morse is special because it is the only digital mode that
can be sent and received without a computer.  It also has the advantages of
low bandwidth, efficiency (can make contacts on lower power than other
modes), and relative independence from fluency in different languages to
complete casual contacts due to Q-signs.  To me, the major advantage of
knowing Morse and keeping it alive is that it is the one mode that could be
used in a pinch with a cobbled-up radio.  I have also found that many people
who get their General with the idea that they'll learn just enough Morse to
pass the test try CW and find it very enjoyable... the people who hate CW
the most are those who have never actually had a CW QSO.

I dont' understand the attachment to RTTY unless it is an emotional one.
The newer HF digital modes offer the benefits of RTTY without its drawbacks
(wide bandwidth, not error free, have to 'sync' with the transmitting signal
to be able to receive valid copy, multiple configurations make 'sync'-ing
with others problematical sometimes).  RTTY does have faster throughput than
PSK31, but alternative PSK modes such as PSK125 (my favorite PSK variant) is
faster than RTTY, has a much smaller bandwidth, is easier to tune, works
better in weak signal conditions, and is just an easier method of sending
and receiving text via computer.  Too bad most hams try one new mode --
PSK31 -- and never try any others.

The one transmission mode I haven't bothered to re-align on my VI is FSK.  I
don't run much RTTY (mostly use it via soundcard when I hear it and want to
see who's transmitting), and believe that a properly-adjusted
computer/soundcard/rig will be indistinguishable from running FSK.

Anyone have any reason why RTTY is preferable to the newer HF digital modes?

 - jgc

John Clifford KD7KGX

Heathkit HW-9 WARC/HFT-9/HM-9
Elecraft K2 #1678 /KSB2/KIO2/KBT2/KAT2/KNB2/KAF2/KPA100
Ten-Tec Omni VI/Opt1

email: kd7kgx@arrl.net

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