That's a very good question indeed!
If we would go back through the Topband archives, I think that a major
factor in this is the CW skill of the operator. Some are not so good (and
we should not berate them for their lack of ability!); and those fellows
will benefit more from the digital modes.
Some folks are simply better at pulling out a very weak CW signal buried in
the noise. I think Tom Rauch, W8JI had something to say about that here in
the past. In any case, I can testify that he can hear weaker CW signals
than I can. In the ARRL 160 (1980?) both of us had cans on connected to his
R-4C in Ohio. And Tom heard the JA from NW Ohio several minutes before I
I am 98% certain that Tom --and others-- can hear weak CW signals between
their two ears below what any digital mode could display on a monitor. For
those naysayers, go search back through the Topband archives here, before
you take issue with that.
Bottom line: whether any digital mode is better than CW depends on the
brain of the operator. :-)
On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 1:58 PM, Richard (Rick) Karlquist <
> I've never operated JT65, so maybe some of you experts can answer a
> beginner's question.
> Searching on line, it is difficult to get a definitive answer to how much
> advantage it has over CW, but the number seems to be around 10 dB. Maybe
> not even that much if the receiving station is using an SDR with very
> narrow CW bandwidth. So a CW station with a legal limit amplifier gets out
> better than a JT65 station without an amplifier.
> But I keep hearing about JT65 stations running low power, not even 100W
> barefoot. It seems like if we could get antenna challenged stations to run
> high power on CW,
> there would be no need for JT65 in the first place.
> Do any significant number of 160 meter QSO's occur on JT65 at legal limit
> power levels, like they routinely do on EME?
> Rick N6RK
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