[CQ-Contest] RBN Announcement on FT8 Spotting

Jim Brown k9yc at audiosystemsgroup.com
Thu Jun 14 05:12:30 EDT 2018

On 6/13/2018 10:53 AM, Peter Sundberg wrote:
> Who cares any more as FT8 is about computers talking to computers while 
> the operator is doing - or has his mind - on other things. Ham Heaven is 
> here according to the masses and apparently statistics. RBN is all about 
> computers anyway. And we must make decisions based on statistics - right?
> To be able to make use of the FT8 "Deep" functionality the computer 
> needs the info to decode unknown callsigns that are "22 dB below the 
> noise level".

The above quotes are deceptive half-truths. I must say that I'm getting 
awfully tired of the bashing of fine operating modes developed by K1JT 
and his team that requires a lot more operator sophistication than those 
who have never used it assume. I'm a pretty good CW op (starting in 
1955), but I also concentrate on station building, understanding 
propagation, and the other aspects that contribute to a successful QSO. 
In the recent WPX CW contest, I was in the top 4 high power single-op 
scores from the west coast (signing KU6W). Ragchewing bores me to tears.

There are good reasons for the degree of automation that WSJT-X provides 
for modes with short turnaround times. But a successful QSO over a 
difficult path includes good antennas, good stations with good radios, 
good feedlines, good switching, knowing where to point the antenna, when 
to be working what distant QTH, knowing when propagation can make it 
possible, picking an operating frequency within the waterfall. My 
computer didn't make the QSO -- me, my radio, my station, including my 
antennas made the QSO!

I mostly use WSJT modes for QSOs I can't make another way -- mostly 6M 
and 160M, mostly E-skip, meteor scatter, and some tropo. About two 
months ago, I managed a QSO with 5A1AL in Libya, who running barefoot 
with a compromise antenna; my neighbor W6GJB and I had been chasing him 
for three years. Libya is TOUGH from the west coast of the US. I think 
we worked him on 17M or 20M.

I chase grids on 6M (only), and have found both JT65 and FT8 a huge 
help. There are thousands of SSB ops living in rare grids who never 
learned CW, but they can run FT8 and give me a QSO with 20 dB better 
noise immunity than SSB!

And there's another HUGE issue -- most of us are surrounded by homes, 
each of which, including our own, are filled with noise sources that 
cover all but the strongest signals. K1JT's modes have given hams with 
these limitations a chance to do ham radio.

I'm a genuine old fart, first licensed in 1955. I try to learn something 
new every day, and in the spirit of ham radio, try to share what I've 
learned with others. I suggest that the bashers adopt these objectives.

73, Jim K9YC

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