Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Is FT8 damaging hamradio?

Currently there is a poll going on at DX world.net. Is the new FT8 digital mode damaging hamradio? I remember reading same discussions about SSB when it was new. Personally I don't think this mode will kill hamradio but it changed the whole game. However, there are hamradio operators that take this hobby far to serious. They probabely forgot that hamradio is all about experimenting and it doesn't matter what you experiment with. It is fun to experiment and see that others do the same so you can share your experiences. Most experimenters don't share the experiences via radio anymore but via social networks on the internet. And still it is fun! I remember gathering information about antennas before the internet, it was more difficult to get information on any topic. When packetradio was introduced to me it became easier to share and get info and with internet it became a way of life. Our hobby will evolve if you like it or not....

If you like to read SV5DKL's statement about FT8, you think about how serious the whole thing is becoming even for the developers.  I've been writing about Stathis his experimental FT8 robot and later my thoughts about a DXpedition robot (less operators needed, cheaper DXpedition). Stathis will continue his experiments and was unfortenately prevented from using DXpedition mode for 2 days within the WSJT-X software because of this. Suddenly I was thinking about years ago when I was banned from using a certain digital wide band mode called ROS when a number of bloggers commented the bandwidth was just too large compared to other modes. Well, just like I wrote before....some of us take this hobby far too serious....luckely the WSJT development team realized that as well...

Remember this: hamradio is just a hobby, it should be fun. Learn from your experiments!

16 comments:

  1. Ja, ik dat er veranderingen in onze hobby zijn die de beleving heel anders maken.
    Lange qso's hoor je steeds minder op HF, ook op de WARC banden. Steeds meet 599 next.

    Jammer!

    73, Tjeerd

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    1. Hallo Tjeerd, ja alles veranderd. Lange discussies voer je nu via messenger en whatsapp. Nog niet zo lang geleden deed ik hetzelfde met packetradio. En daarvoor met SSB en FM. Tijden veranderen...73, Bas

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  2. No, it's not damaging amateur radio. It certainly is changing it, though. FT8 is the digital mode du jour. Next year, or two years from now, it will be something else.

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    1. Absolutely Dan, hamradio will evolve. Will hamradio operators do the same. Time will tell....exciting times! 73, Bas

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  3. It’s not damaging it at all. If anything it’s probably bringing in some younger folks that thought it was just a bunch of old guys sitting in their basements...

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    1. Could be true. However, to us FT8 seems like a fast mode but for younger people it still is boring. I think it's depending on what person you are and this might not have anything to do with age. However I think FT8 opens up the possebility for working DX for the smaller stations with small antennas and low power, that could attract people. I can imagine that! 73, Bas

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  4. I changed the above post a couple of times. As my mind changes constantly about this topic it could be altered over the next couple of days. If so I will stamp the changes with a date. 73, Bas

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  5. FT8 is a great experimentation tool, particularly useful for antenna performance and/or propagation conditions. Period.

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    1. Although have not had time yet to copy your experiment with a macro program I support you experimentation Stathis. I don't care if I would make contact with a robot or not, you can't tell the difference with a computer (and who cares anyway). It's all about experiments, that's the goal of our hobby and that is what I believe. 73, Bas

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  6. Hallo Bas, ik denk dat de schade van FT8 nog wel meevalt. Het was even een hype en is al weer behoorlijk ingezakt.
    Radiozendamateur zijn betekent naast verbindingen maken ook experimenteren wat jij ook beaamt. Dat is ook wat we met digitale modes doen. En soms wordt een bepaalde digimode populair. Daarnaast veranderen de wensen en zijn er mensen die graag zo snel mogelijk en zo veel mogelijk verbindingen willen maken. Nou dat kan met FT8. Straks is er weer wat anders. Iedereen zoekt zijn eigen weg in deze hobby. Prachtig toch dat we die mogelijkheden hebben. 73 Hans, PE1BVQ

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    1. Ben het volledig met je eens Hans. Het is ook leuk als het een hype is, dan heb je tenminste wat mede experimenteerders. Heel anders als bijv. APRS messenger waar er maar een paar wat doen. 73, Bas

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    1. Hello Curt, you certainly did make the shortest comment ever on my blog! ;-). 73, Bas

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  8. It's a double-edged sword. FT8 has promoted more activity on the higher bands, where brief periods of previously-unrecognised propagation windows can be worked effectively and quickly.

    On the 'bread and butter' bands of 40 and 20, FT8 is a nuisance. Operators click from one call to the next, as though they are playing a computer game. The physical reality of radio is somehow obscured by the intervening computer tech.

    The two main things for me are: (1) the lack of any form of consultation with representative bodies before new digital modes are released to the wild, and (2) that a lot of these digimodes reflect a very western, usually US-centric vision of what amateur radio is about. That is not always a good thing.

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    1. Interesting thoughts John. Luckely there are so many other modes and things besides FT8. 73, Bas

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Thanks for your comment. Bedankt voor je reactie. 73, Bas