> In the not-too-distant past, RTTY activity was comfortably
> above 7060. Now it is not. And I am not talking about domestic-to-DX
> QSO's, either, so the fact that EU operation must be below 7040 is not
> applicable here.
That is completely false. International RTTY activity has been centered
around 7040 for more than 20 years and is documented in the IARU Region
1 bandplans. There are references to RTTY activity around 7040 - 7045
in the ARRL Operating Manual and Handbooks at least 30 years ago.
Yes, the level of international RTTY activity was relatively low 25 years
ago. The increased ease with which a station can get on RTTY along with
sharply declining interest in CW by new licensees (along with the removal
of CW proficiency as a license requirement) has triggered an accelerating
growth trend for RTTY. Operating patterns of 25 years ago do not give
CW operators any "Veto" rights over RTTY operation - particularly since
the FCC has chosen to reduce the spectrum available for RTTY on 80 and
40 meters by 55% within the last two years.
> The second issue, which is not addressed anywhere in your survey, is
> the fact that RTTY operators apparently are using their computers, and
> not their ears, to assess what is on the frequency. That puts their
> operations in a conflict with CW operation that goes beyond the same
> mode-QRM of a typical contest.
This is a non-issue. All of the computer based RTTY software provides
either a spectrum of "waterfall" display. CW signals are clearly visible
and can be avoided by RTTY operators.
> I know that RTTY contests are popular and that popularity breeds QRM.
> But these mode vs. mode conflicts are not just incidental QRM.
These conflicts are no different that a state QSO party and a QRP contest
sharing the same frequencies. That happens all the time and operators
> When you decode the RTTY guys and discover that they are in the middle
> of the traditional CW band, calling CQ's and working nothing but domestic
> guys, the argument that the EU activity dragged them lower in the band
> falls completely apart.
This is a bogus argument. Just as CW activity extends well up into the
"Digital" spectrum on 20 meters during ARRL SS, ARRL DX, CQWW, WPX, etc.
you will most certainly find region 2 to region 2 RTTY QSOs in the
same spectrum as inter regional QSOs. In a contest activity generates
activity. If an operator has to be below 7055 (+/-) to work any region
1 or 3 stations, he is going to make all his contacts between 7020 (+/-)
and 7055. He's not going to move to 7080 for his US contacts any more
than 160 meter operators respect the traditional "DX Window."
> I look forward to a rational discussion on how to manage this.
> Unfortunately, I don't see your survey questions as being flexible
> enough to serve as a starting point.
Whether you like RTTY or not, RTTY and other digital modes are the
"modes of the future." Just as CW replaced spark and SSB replaced
AM, RTTY and other digital modes will surely replace CW as the
dominant non-voice mode.
Railing against RTTY is nothing more than attempting to hold back
the tide with a push broom. What contesters and other CW operators
should be doing is speaking out against the stupidity of bandplans
(like the newly published IARU Region 2 bandplan) that proposes a
whopping 5 KHz for all "narrow" digital modes (7035-7040) and dumps
the automatically controlled robots on three of the five KHz. All
operators should also be encouraging the remaining administrations
to expedite access to 7100-7200 and should be working for updated
bandplans that would recognize the need for a significant digital
area - perhaps to the extent of 7040 - 7080.
40 Meter expansion in Regions 1 and 3 represents a prime opportunity
to relieve the pressure caused by CW/RTTY conflicts at 7025-7040.
While nothing will completely eliminate the conflict - there are
conflicts between SSB and CW in the same spectrum during nearly
every major phone contest. However, recognizing the issues, it
would make sense for all IARU regions to adopt bandplans that
generally recognize CW at 7000-7040, RTTY/Digital at 7040-7080
(or 7075) and SSB from 7080-7200. A smart bandplan would greatly
reduce the conflicts between CW and digital although CW would surely
move up during major CW contests and RTTY would just as surely move
down somewhat during major RTTY events.
... Joe, W4TV
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