No subject

Jay Townsend jayt at
Sat Jul 26 18:42:10 EDT 1997

Pete Smith wrote:

> RTTY and packet are clearly exceptions.  K6STI's algorithms can, I'm told,
> decode RTTY signals that the human ear can only detect very fragmentarily,
> if at all.
> But I think we ought to draw the line at decoding other modes -
> particularly CW and SSB.

Why ?

> >like S56A's cause you that much concern? The guys like Rich, HC8A, who
> >hand log don't seem to worry. Wouldn't another 1,000 entries using CW
> >decoding machines make it just more fun ?
> Yes, S56A's stuff does worry me.  It has the potential, if I understand it
> properly, to completely replace the human operator once the computing power
> is available.  I think that would be going much too far.  As I understand
> it, autosteering and autotrimming devices are severely restricted in
> sailboat racing, or else the America's Cup entries would be using computer
> driven autopilots to automatically optimize their sail positions for a
> given course, or even to optimize their course steering for a given course,
> wind, tidal state and current situation.  I think that the "human brain
> only for decoding CW and SSB" rule doesn't preclude advances in receiver
> design, but it does draw the line in an appropriate place. 

I will go with your understanding on autosteering and autotrimming but
they certainly use the computers on the sailboat for everything else these
days aren't they. As to replacing the human operator. That wouldn't last
more than one weekend. What fun would it be to sail a sailboat by remote
control...about like using N6TR's robot for a 48 hour weekend. Kinda
interesting as an experiment but not likely to catch on. Its far easier to
just go down to the Plaque Store and but a couple for the wall.

As to CW and SSB decoding what is the big deal about using or not using
something ? As far as I know there isn't much to decode SSB and I am not
sure that CW decoding actually works all  that well. At least I don't
think so on flutter, bugs, and most defective keying. But if we can encode
CW with a computer ... which is an entirely different set of skills than
using a key or keyer ... then why not decode it if possible?

Actually, there certainly isn't anything in the current rules which
precludes this in any case and I don't see many doing it. But much like
RTTY contesting which used to require a great deal of skill in typing,
decoding shifts, and putting together the combination of hardware and
software or mechanical devices to win. Its all done now with a Mouse and a don't even have to be able to type.

Since the advant of the Mouse and WF1B RTTY program the only thing that
has happened is that RTTY contests and contesting has grown and grown and
grown.  So to think that technology changes are counter productive simply
this has proven not to be true in at least one case.

Anything to get and keep more people on CW and in contesting should be
looked upon as a positive thing and not a negative. 

The 21st century will bring change. Certainly as much if not more than the
previous couple of sunspot cycles. If its not positive change...then as
sure as the sun cycles occur contesting will wither.

Jay Townsend, WS7I  < jayt at >

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