Discussion:
Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is Upon us!
(too old to reply)
Don Greenbaum
2018-03-30 13:27:02 UTC
Permalink
Jeff, and others:

From K1JT on the WSJT web pages and instructions:

Please note: DXpedition Mode is not yet ready for production use. Until
WSJT-X v1.9.0 is fully released, this mode should be used only in
controlled test situations. Please remember to send us your test results.

As one of the beta testers and one of the two stations running the next
test on 7 April (W1/KH7Z) the problem with RR73 being sent before a good
QSO is logged has been fixed. There are other errors we ascertained in
March that are addressed in the next test.

The KH1 team has been working for close to 6 months with the WSJT
developers to make a more efficient DXpedition version of the software and
the current plans for our Baker Island DXpedition is to use FT8 as a
replacement for RTTY on 17 20 and 30 mtrs. We will also operate RTTY to
give those who need a digital QSO but haven't migrated to FT8 yet a
shot. We have a dedicated digital station with its own antennas. It
should be noted, there is no 160 mtr antenna at this digital station, the
160 meter antenna developed by AA7JV is at the cw tent. It is our
intention to use cw as the primary mode on 160.

As for 6 meters, your observations are correct. On July 6, I worked SO1WS
on cw followed by 9K2GS in JT65. Then FT8's new version came out and all
my e-skip dx contacts were on FT8. The bands were empty at the low
end. Even JT65 seemed to disappear overnight.

The past week while 160 appeared empty the FT8 frequency was full of
stations making QSOs. I worked a good number of Europeans on FT8 never
using more than 100 watts. Just for fun I worked 5B4AMX calling first
with 5 watts and finally snagging him with 20 watts. A QSO on 80 mtrs
with A71AM on FT8 was accomplished on one call with 100 watts. Yes, change
is in the air, and I hope CW remains the primary mode for DX. BUT, it's
up to the dx isn't it?

Spark was replaced by CW. AM by SSB. Not without debate.

FT8 is here to stay for weak signal work. I'm surprised to see all the
USA/USA QSOs on 160 but activity on 160 is a good thing period in my view.

Tune into 14105 on 7 June at 14:00 UTC and see what he hope is the final
test of the DXpedition WSJT software. I'll be running W1/KH7Z.

And we hope to work as many of you from KH1 on 160 cw. While June is not
optimal, it's the timeframe chosen by FWS and we expect to make lemonade
from lemons.

Don
N1DG
www.baker2018.net
Hello Gang I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention
lately, but I may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking
place right before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its
possible implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read
on. Â I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current
dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI. Norbert DJ7JC has been a real
trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success doing so -
so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert. Â Norbert has managed to make
quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very
much appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!  So what
I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion on Norbert
- it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its possible
implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!. Â On or about 27
March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in his grayline period
- and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M and me here at
VY2ZM. Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have been another
and a few more as well. I also heard some EU stations in there calling
among the NA stations. Â About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went
QRZ a few times but QRNN on his side prevented a legitimate qso. I heard
him fine but I know he did not copy my callsign correctly - and later he
even said so over ON4KST noting "I heard a few callers, mainly from EU but
logged no NA or EU qso's on Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun
came up." Â The next night Norbert came on ON4KST Â chat and announced
that he was going to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in
beta trials following its release by K1JT. I am told that the
dx'pedition version of FT8 will also be used experimentally by the
upcoming KH1 Dx'pedition. Â Dx'pedition Mode - offers some unique promise
when and if it ever is fully conceived including: Â 1) A shortened qso
sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO elements 2) The
promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX (in this
example the FOX was 7Q7EI) 3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400
qso's per hour may be possible one day - which would improve the overall
qso totals of any dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY. Â So on
night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m and I
managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM. Â Others worked him as
well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to operate this new flavor
of FT8. It is a bit tricky and I invite anyone reading this who may be
interested to take a look - because Dx'pedition mode uses special settings
within WSJT-x - and one must configure things exactly right - or it just
does not function as one might expect traditional FT8 to function in order
to complete qso's. Â Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think
he may have worked a couple of NA stations - I tried but without success
because I did not pay close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to
160m too late in the game to have a good shot as he went into daylight on
his side. Â So what is going on here exactly? Â And why did I choose to
make this post to Topband? Â The answer is fairly simple and stems from
what I observed this past summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season. I
happen to like to work 6M E during the summer and was all set around the
end of June for what I hoped would be a great E season on 6M CW into
Europe. I worked a couple of stations on CW in late June but during the
first or second week of July, K1JT released the production version of FT8
and almost immediately everyone realized its potential (particularly those
in the Mid and Far Western USA) - where it was immediately called a "GAME
CHANGER" by K7JA and others on the Left Coast. Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME
CHANGER - because I did not hear a single CW DX station out of Europe on
6M for the rest of the summer E season after that - everyone had qsy'ed to
50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so well on 6M - even on E skip
paths. And since I did not have FT8 capability - I was TOTALLY SHUT OUT
and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER! So how does this apply to
Topband? Pls read on..... Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands
from 7Q7EI - and Norbert was back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z
- until around 0320z - again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode. By now, most
of us had downloaded the dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort
of figured out how to do the parameter settings correctly - so quite a few
QSO's ensued. I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were
quite a few others. Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was
clear that K1JT still has some clean up work to do to refine the
dx'pedition mode software - because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is
not yet possible - but I think the throughput rate will one day improve
materially. (:Last night the throughput was SO SLOW that some suggested
to Norbert that he stop using dx'pedition mode in favor of the more
reliable current release of FT8 that is on the air today.) Norbert also
elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those constrained by
CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those without FT8
basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of this
transpire. My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again! This is
6M E season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to Ft8 was now
happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it suggests a real
possibility of it becoming the choice of major dxpeditions going forward -
meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m far more regularly going
forward and CW mode utilized much less perhaps (maybe!). My crystal
ball is no better than yours - but if FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected
by K1JT and becomes more EFFICIENT one day than CW mode - you can be SURE
that it will become very popular and it will get used far more (at the
expense of CW) by the rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to
Topband! You can take that to the BANK! Â At one point, Norbert who was
on CHAT all night long - lamented some of the comments he was seeing by
others on CHAT. Basically, while he was more than courteous, it was
clear that he felt like "HEY! I am the FOX here.....I get to choose to
operate whatever mode I think will work - and those sitting in their
comfortable chairs back at home (and not sitting in the heat here on the
shores of Lake Malawi - really do not get to decide this.!! Again, I am
the FOX here.......) Â Basically, Norbert was right on here - IMHO....
 Some more observations:  1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing
reliably as they should - at least not yet all the time - for example: Â
K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI calling him on his screen for at least 20
mins before the software linked up at  each end to sent the RR73 message
- the signal that the QSO was complete. Â And Norbert was clearly
"seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they linked up to finalize and
log the QSO. I had similar problems on 160M when working Norbert - so it
is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But, we do have to realize
that this is still only a BETA/experimental release - and YES - it does
have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out. Â But it does work
(after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better - and WHEN IT DOES
become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think we will witness
some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working future
DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is happening
every night on 1840 today. I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every night - and
am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old dawgs (like
me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn new
tricks. Â One final comment: Â This all took place on 1836 and I think
on 3569 down on 80m these past few nights. Traditional FT8 (according to
the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes place on 1840. So I am hopeful that the
migration to the new mode continues to take place in an orderly fashion
because FT8 and CW really will not mix well - should FT8 start showing up
below 1830 that will cause problems  - (just my opinion) - but reality I
think.  So - I think that is the lot for now. Not much more to report
- but for sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT
about it - I do not think this is a passing FAD. "DIGI-WIGI" or its
other name "JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!! Â 73
JEFFÂ K1ZM/VY2ZM Â Â Â Jeff Briggs DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of
160 Meters Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX
Engineering, Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon
              _________________ Topband
Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
N1DG--Licensed since 1962
www.goldtel.net
EX-WB2DND, A61AD (GUEST OP, QSL MGR), A52DG, C92DG, /KH4, /KH9, /BV, /VP8O,
/VS6, /4X, /9V
Webmaster: VP8O, K4M, BS7H, K5K, A52A, VK0IR, 9M0C, ZK1XXP, WB2DND/KH9,
BQ9P, ZL9CI
QSL Manager: A61AD, A61AO, A61X, A61AQ, KH7Z
Member: NCDXF, CWops, ARRL, DDXA, YCCC
2006 Inductee into the CQ DX Hall of Fame
Treasurer, NCDXF
DON GREENBAUM , DUXBURY, MA, USA
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
Clive GM3POI
2018-03-30 13:46:09 UTC
Permalink
Don, seeing your trip is midsummer, you should strongly consider using FT8
for EU on 40m as to Western EU there is NO common darkness.
Otherwise the lowest band Western EU will be able to work KH1 is 30m. 73
Clive GM3POI

-----Original Message-----
From: Topband [mailto:topband-***@contesting.com] On Behalf Of Don
Greenbaum
Sent: 30 March 2018 13:27
To: ***@aol.com; ***@contesting.com
Subject: Re: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is
Upon us!

Jeff, and others:

From K1JT on the WSJT web pages and instructions:

Please note: DXpedition Mode is not yet ready for production use. Until
WSJT-X v1.9.0 is fully released, this mode should be used only in controlled
test situations. Please remember to send us your test results.

As one of the beta testers and one of the two stations running the next test
on 7 April (W1/KH7Z) the problem with RR73 being sent before a good
QSO is logged has been fixed. There are other errors we ascertained in
March that are addressed in the next test.

The KH1 team has been working for close to 6 months with the WSJT developers
to make a more efficient DXpedition version of the software and the current
plans for our Baker Island DXpedition is to use FT8 as a
replacement for RTTY on 17 20 and 30 mtrs. We will also operate RTTY to
give those who need a digital QSO but haven't migrated to FT8 yet a
shot. We have a dedicated digital station with its own antennas. It
should be noted, there is no 160 mtr antenna at this digital station, the
160 meter antenna developed by AA7JV is at the cw tent. It is our intention
to use cw as the primary mode on 160.

As for 6 meters, your observations are correct. On July 6, I worked SO1WS
on cw followed by 9K2GS in JT65. Then FT8's new version came out and all
my e-skip dx contacts were on FT8. The bands were empty at the low
end. Even JT65 seemed to disappear overnight.

The past week while 160 appeared empty the FT8 frequency was full of
stations making QSOs. I worked a good number of Europeans on FT8 never
using more than 100 watts. Just for fun I worked 5B4AMX calling first
with 5 watts and finally snagging him with 20 watts. A QSO on 80 mtrs
with A71AM on FT8 was accomplished on one call with 100 watts. Yes, change
is in the air, and I hope CW remains the primary mode for DX. BUT, it's
up to the dx isn't it?

Spark was replaced by CW. AM by SSB. Not without debate.

FT8 is here to stay for weak signal work. I'm surprised to see all the
USA/USA QSOs on 160 but activity on 160 is a good thing period in my view.

Tune into 14105 on 7 June at 14:00 UTC and see what he hope is the final
test of the DXpedition WSJT software. I'll be running W1/KH7Z.

And we hope to work as many of you from KH1 on 160 cw. While June is not
optimal, it's the timeframe chosen by FWS and we expect to make lemonade
from lemons.

Don
N1DG
www.baker2018.net
Hello Gang I am probably not the only one who has been paying
attention lately, but I may be the first to comment directly on what
has been taking place right before our eyes the past two nights on
1.836kHz - and its possible implications going forward for future
Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on. Â I am sure most readers of these pages
are well aware of the current dx'pedition to Malawi operating as
7Q7EI. Norbert DJ7JC has been a real trooper working the lowbands and
has had quite a bit of success doing so - so well deserved kudos &
thanks to Norbert. Â Norbert has managed to make quite a few NA
stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very much
appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!  So what I
am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion on Norbert
- it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its
possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!. Â On
or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in his
grayline period
- and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M and me here at
VY2ZM. Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have been
another and a few more as well. I also heard some EU stations in
there calling among the NA stations. Â About 0228z, Norbert asnwered
me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but QRNN on his side prevented a
legitimate qso. I heard him fine but I know he did not copy my
callsign correctly - and later he even said so over ON4KST noting "I
heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU qso's on
Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up." Â The next
night Norbert came on ON4KST Â chat and announced that he was going to
try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials
following its release by K1JT. I am told that the dx'pedition version
of FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1
Dx'pedition. Â Dx'pedition Mode - offers some unique promise when and
if it ever is fully conceived including: Â 1) A shortened qso sequence
using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO elements 2) The
promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX (in
this example the FOX was 7Q7EI) 3) The potential, as a result, of up to
300-400 qso's per hour may be possible one day - which would improve
the overall qso totals of any dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes
REALITY. Â So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode -
first on 80m and I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM. Â
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to
operate this new flavor of FT8. It is a bit tricky and I invite
anyone reading this who may be interested to take a look - because
Dx'pedition mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must
configure things exactly right - or it just does not function as one
might expect traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's. Â
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a
couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not
pay close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in
the game to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side. Â
So what is going on here exactly? Â And why did I choose to make this
post to Topband? Â The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I
observed this past summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season. I
happen to like to work 6M E during the summer and was all set around
the end of June for what I hoped would be a great E season on 6M CW
into Europe. I worked a couple of stations on CW in late June but
during the first or second week of July, K1JT released the production
version of FT8 and almost immediately everyone realized its potential
(particularly those in the Mid and Far Western USA) - where it was
immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA and others on the Left
Coast. Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a
single CW DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E
season after that - everyone had qsy'ed to
50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so well on 6M - even on E skip
paths. And since I did not have FT8 capability - I was TOTALLY SHUT
OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER! So how does this apply
to Topband? Pls read on..... Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the
lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert was back - first on 160m on 1836 from
about 0130z
- until around 0320z - again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode. By now,
most of us had downloaded the dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and
had sort of figured out how to do the parameter settings correctly - so
quite a few QSO's ensued. I happened to be one of the lucky ones on
160M - there were quite a few others. Watching my screen though (along
with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT still has some clean up work to
do to refine the dx'pedition mode software - because the promise of 300
qso's per hour is not yet possible - but I think the throughput rate
will one day improve materially. (:Last night the throughput was SO
SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he stop using dx'pedition mode
in favor of the more reliable current release of FT8 that is on the air
today.) Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests
from those constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode -
so those without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching
all of this transpire. My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go
again! This is 6M E season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E
migration to Ft8 was now happening all over again - but this time on
160M - and it suggests a real possibility of it becoming the choice of
major dxpeditions going forward - meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on
160m far more regularly going forward and CW mode utilized much less
perhaps (maybe!). My crystal ball is no better than yours - but if
FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and becomes more EFFICIENT
one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will become very popular
and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by the rarer
Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband! You can take that to
the BANK! Â At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long -
lamented some of the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT.Â
Basically, while he was more than courteous, it was clear that he felt
like "HEY! I am the FOX here.....I get to choose to operate whatever
mode I think will work - and those sitting in their comfortable chairs
back at home (and not sitting in the heat here on the shores of Lake
Malawi - really do not get to decide this.!! Again, I am the FOX
here.......) Â Basically, Norbert was right on here - IMHO....
 Some more observations:  1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not
completing reliably as they should - at least not yet all the time -
for example: Â K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI calling him on his screen
for at least 20 mins before the software linked up at  each end to
sent the RR73 message
- the signal that the QSO was complete. Â And Norbert was clearly
"seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they linked up to finalize
and log the QSO. I had similar problems on 160M when working Norbert
- so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But, we do have
to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental release - and
YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out. Â But
it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better - and
WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think
we will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working
future DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is
happening every night on 1840 today. I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every
night - and am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old
dawgs (like
me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn new
tricks. Â One final comment: Â This all took place on 1836 and I
think on 3569 down on 80m these past few nights. Traditional FT8
(according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes place on 1840. So I am
hopeful that the migration to the new mode continues to take place in
an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really will not mix well - should
FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause problems  - (just my
opinion) - but reality I think. Â So - I think that is the lot for
now. Not much more to report
- but for sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO
DOUBT about it - I do not think this is a passing FAD. "DIGI-WIGI" or
its other name "JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!! Â 73
JEFFÂ K1ZM/VY2ZM Â Â Â Jeff Briggs DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of
160 Meters Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX
Engineering, Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon     Â
         _________________ Topband Reflector Archives
- http://www.contesting.com/_topband
N1DG--Licensed since 1962
www.goldtel.net
EX-WB2DND, A61AD (GUEST OP, QSL MGR), A52DG, C92DG, /KH4, /KH9, /BV, /VP8O,
/VS6, /4X, /9V
Webmaster: VP8O, K4M, BS7H, K5K, A52A, VK0IR, 9M0C, ZK1XXP, WB2DND/KH9,
BQ9P, ZL9CI QSL Manager: A61AD, A61AO, A61X, A61AQ, KH7Z
Member: NCDXF, CWops, ARRL, DDXA, YCCC
2006 Inductee into the CQ DX Hall of Fame Treasurer, NCDXF DON GREENBAUM ,
DUXBURY, MA, USA _________________ Topband Reflector Archives -
http://www.contesting.com/_topband


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Don Greenbaum
2018-03-30 14:28:33 UTC
Permalink
Clive:

We do have a 40 mtr antenna at the digital site. I will keep that in
mind. Prop charts show a 1 hour window to OH/GM/ etc.

EU is a target area of our operation, hence the 24 hour 20 mtr manning of
stations.

73
Don
Post by Clive GM3POI
Don, seeing your trip is midsummer, you should strongly consider using FT8
for EU on 40m as to Western EU there is NO common darkness.
Otherwise the lowest band Western EU will be able to work KH1 is 30m. 73
Clive GM3POI
-----Original Message-----
Greenbaum
Sent: 30 March 2018 13:27
Subject: Re: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is
Upon us!
Please note: DXpedition Mode is not yet ready for production use. Until
WSJT-X v1.9.0 is fully released, this mode should be used only in controlled
test situations. Please remember to send us your test results.
As one of the beta testers and one of the two stations running the next test
on 7 April (W1/KH7Z) the problem with RR73 being sent before a good
QSO is logged has been fixed. There are other errors we ascertained in
March that are addressed in the next test.
The KH1 team has been working for close to 6 months with the WSJT developers
to make a more efficient DXpedition version of the software and the current
plans for our Baker Island DXpedition is to use FT8 as a
replacement for RTTY on 17 20 and 30 mtrs. We will also operate RTTY to
give those who need a digital QSO but haven't migrated to FT8 yet a
shot. We have a dedicated digital station with its own antennas. It
should be noted, there is no 160 mtr antenna at this digital station, the
160 meter antenna developed by AA7JV is at the cw tent. It is our intention
to use cw as the primary mode on 160.
As for 6 meters, your observations are correct. On July 6, I worked SO1WS
on cw followed by 9K2GS in JT65. Then FT8's new version came out and all
my e-skip dx contacts were on FT8. The bands were empty at the low
end. Even JT65 seemed to disappear overnight.
The past week while 160 appeared empty the FT8 frequency was full of
stations making QSOs. I worked a good number of Europeans on FT8 never
using more than 100 watts. Just for fun I worked 5B4AMX calling first
with 5 watts and finally snagging him with 20 watts. A QSO on 80 mtrs
with A71AM on FT8 was accomplished on one call with 100 watts. Yes, change
is in the air, and I hope CW remains the primary mode for DX. BUT, it's
up to the dx isn't it?
Spark was replaced by CW. AM by SSB. Not without debate.
FT8 is here to stay for weak signal work. I'm surprised to see all the
USA/USA QSOs on 160 but activity on 160 is a good thing period in my view.
Tune into 14105 on 7 June at 14:00 UTC and see what he hope is the final
test of the DXpedition WSJT software. I'll be running W1/KH7Z.
And we hope to work as many of you from KH1 on 160 cw. While June is not
optimal, it's the timeframe chosen by FWS and we expect to make lemonade
from lemons.
Don
N1DG
www.baker2018.net
Hello Gang I am probably not the only one who has been paying
attention lately, but I may be the first to comment directly on what
has been taking place right before our eyes the past two nights on
1.836kHz - and its possible implications going forward for future
Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on. Â I am sure most readers of these pages
are well aware of the current dx'pedition to Malawi operating as
7Q7EI. Norbert DJ7JC has been a real trooper working the lowbands and
has had quite a bit of success doing so - so well deserved kudos &
thanks to Norbert. Â Norbert has managed to make quite a few NA
stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very much
appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!  So what I
am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion on Norbert
- it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its
possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!. Â On
or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in his
grayline period
- and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M and me here at
VY2ZM. Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have been
another and a few more as well. I also heard some EU stations in
there calling among the NA stations. Â About 0228z, Norbert asnwered
me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but QRNN on his side prevented a
legitimate qso. I heard him fine but I know he did not copy my
callsign correctly - and later he even said so over ON4KST noting "I
heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU qso's on
Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up." Â The next
night Norbert came on ON4KST Â chat and announced that he was going to
try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials
following its release by K1JT. I am told that the dx'pedition version
of FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1
Dx'pedition. Â Dx'pedition Mode - offers some unique promise when and
if it ever is fully conceived including: Â 1) A shortened qso sequence
using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO elements 2) The
promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX (in
this example the FOX was 7Q7EI) 3) The potential, as a result, of up to
300-400 qso's per hour may be possible one day - which would improve
the overall qso totals of any dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes
REALITY. Â So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode -
first on 80m and I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM. Â
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to
operate this new flavor of FT8. It is a bit tricky and I invite
anyone reading this who may be interested to take a look - because
Dx'pedition mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must
configure things exactly right - or it just does not function as one
might expect traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's. Â
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a
couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not
pay close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in
the game to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side. Â
So what is going on here exactly? Â And why did I choose to make this
post to Topband? Â The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I
observed this past summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season. I
happen to like to work 6M E during the summer and was all set around
the end of June for what I hoped would be a great E season on 6M CW
into Europe. I worked a couple of stations on CW in late June but
during the first or second week of July, K1JT released the production
version of FT8 and almost immediately everyone realized its potential
(particularly those in the Mid and Far Western USA) - where it was
immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA and others on the Left
Coast. Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a
single CW DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E
season after that - everyone had qsy'ed to
50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so well on 6M - even on E skip
paths. And since I did not have FT8 capability - I was TOTALLY SHUT
OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER! So how does this apply
to Topband? Pls read on..... Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the
lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert was back - first on 160m on 1836 from
about 0130z
- until around 0320z - again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode. By now,
most of us had downloaded the dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and
had sort of figured out how to do the parameter settings correctly - so
quite a few QSO's ensued. I happened to be one of the lucky ones on
160M - there were quite a few others. Watching my screen though (along
with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT still has some clean up work to
do to refine the dx'pedition mode software - because the promise of 300
qso's per hour is not yet possible - but I think the throughput rate
will one day improve materially. (:Last night the throughput was SO
SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he stop using dx'pedition mode
in favor of the more reliable current release of FT8 that is on the air
today.) Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests
from those constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode -
so those without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching
all of this transpire. My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go
again! This is 6M E season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E
migration to Ft8 was now happening all over again - but this time on
160M - and it suggests a real possibility of it becoming the choice of
major dxpeditions going forward - meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on
160m far more regularly going forward and CW mode utilized much less
perhaps (maybe!). My crystal ball is no better than yours - but if
FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and becomes more EFFICIENT
one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will become very popular
and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by the rarer
Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband! You can take that to
the BANK! Â At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long -
lamented some of the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT.Â
Basically, while he was more than courteous, it was clear that he felt
like "HEY! I am the FOX here.....I get to choose to operate whatever
mode I think will work - and those sitting in their comfortable chairs
back at home (and not sitting in the heat here on the shores of Lake
Malawi - really do not get to decide this.!! Again, I am the FOX
here.......) Â Basically, Norbert was right on here - IMHO....
 Some more observations:  1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not
completing reliably as they should - at least not yet all the time -
for example: Â K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI calling him on his screen
for at least 20 mins before the software linked up at  each end to
sent the RR73 message
- the signal that the QSO was complete. Â And Norbert was clearly
"seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they linked up to finalize
and log the QSO. I had similar problems on 160M when working Norbert
- so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But, we do have
to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental release - and
YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out. Â But
it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better - and
WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think
we will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working
future DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is
happening every night on 1840 today. I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every
night - and am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old
dawgs (like
me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn new
tricks. Â One final comment: Â This all took place on 1836 and I
think on 3569 down on 80m these past few nights. Traditional FT8
(according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes place on 1840. So I am
hopeful that the migration to the new mode continues to take place in
an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really will not mix well - should
FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause problems  - (just my
opinion) - but reality I think. Â So - I think that is the lot for
now. Not much more to report
- but for sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO
DOUBT about it - I do not think this is a passing FAD. "DIGI-WIGI" or
its other name "JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!! Â 73
JEFFÂ K1ZM/VY2ZM Â Â Â Jeff Briggs DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of
160 Meters Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX
Engineering, Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon     Â
         _________________ Topband Reflector Archives
- http://www.contesting.com/_topband
N1DG--Licensed since 1962
www.goldtel.net
EX-WB2DND, A61AD (GUEST OP, QSL MGR), A52DG, C92DG, /KH4, /KH9, /BV, /VP8O,
/VS6, /4X, /9V
Webmaster: VP8O, K4M, BS7H, K5K, A52A, VK0IR, 9M0C, ZK1XXP, WB2DND/KH9,
BQ9P, ZL9CI QSL Manager: A61AD, A61AO, A61X, A61AQ, KH7Z
Member: NCDXF, CWops, ARRL, DDXA, YCCC
2006 Inductee into the CQ DX Hall of Fame Treasurer, NCDXF DON GREENBAUM ,
DUXBURY, MA, USA _________________ Topband Reflector Archives -
http://www.contesting.com/_topband
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d***@iowatelecom.net
2018-03-30 15:10:29 UTC
Permalink
IMHO, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the demise of CW (alas).
Between FT8 and RHR, topband standings as we have known them are virtually
meaningless. The guy with a backyard vertical, reasonable radial system,
and 100w can easily accomplish on topband (and get equal DXCC credit) what
has historically taken a significant effort. . .QRO, large antennas/arrays,
and receive antennas. As for the DXpeditions, they will quickly migrate to
this mode with the improving QSO throughput as it requires comparatively
little skill on the part of the operators. For me personally, it is
disappointing to watch it all unfold. But unfold, it will. 73. .
.Dave, W0FLS

-----Original Message-----
From: k1zm--- via Topband
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 6:50 AM
To: ***@contesting.com
Subject: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is Upon
us!

Hello Gang
I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention lately, but I
may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking place right
before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its possible
implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on.

I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current
dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI. Norbert DJ7JC has been a real
trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success doing so -
so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert. Norbert has managed to make
quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very much
appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!

So what I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion on
Norbert - it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its
possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!.

On or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in his
grayline period - and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M and
me here at VY2ZM. Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have been
another and a few more as well. I also heard some EU stations in there
calling among the NA stations.

About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but QRNN on
his side prevented a legitimate qso. I heard him fine but I know he did not
copy my callsign correctly - and later he even said so over ON4KST noting "I
heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU qso's on
Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up."

The next night Norbert came on ON4KST chat and announced that he was going
to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials following
its release by K1JT. I am told that the dx'pedition version of FT8 will
also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1 Dx'pedition.

Dx'pedition Mode - offers some unique promise when and if it ever is fully
conceived including:

1) A shortened qso sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO
elements
2) The promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX (in
this example the FOX was 7Q7EI)
3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400 qso's per hour may be
possible one day - which would improve the overall qso totals of any
dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY.

So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m and I
managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM.

Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to
operate this new flavor of FT8. It is a bit tricky and I invite anyone
reading this who may be interested to take a look - because Dx'pedition mode
uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must configure things exactly
right - or it just does not function as one might expect traditional FT8 to
function in order to complete qso's.

Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a
couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not pay
close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in the game
to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side.

So what is going on here exactly? And why did I choose to make this post to
Topband?

The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I observed this past summer
on 6M during the Sporadic E season. I happen to like to work 6M E during
the summer and was all set around the end of June for what I hoped would be
a great E season on 6M CW into Europe. I worked a couple of stations on CW
in late June but during the first or second week of July, K1JT released the
production version of FT8 and almost immediately everyone realized its
potential (particularly those in the Mid and Far Western USA) - where it was
immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA and others on the Left Coast.


Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a single CW DX
station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E season after that -
everyone had qsy'ed to 50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so well on
6M - even on E skip paths. And since I did not have FT8 capability - I was
TOTALLY SHUT OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER!


So how does this apply to Topband? Pls read on.....


Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert was
back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z - until around 0320z - again
on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode. By now, most of us had downloaded the
dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort of figured out how to do the
parameter settings correctly - so quite a few QSO's ensued.


I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were quite a few
others.


Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT still
has some clean up work to do to refine the dx'pedition mode software -
because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is not yet possible - but I think
the throughput rate will one day improve materially. (:Last night the
throughput was SO SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he stop using
dx'pedition mode in favor of the more reliable current release of FT8 that
is on the air today.)


Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those
constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those without
FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of this
transpire. My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again! This is 6M E
season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to Ft8 was now
happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it suggests a real
possibility of it becoming the choice of major dxpeditions going forward -
meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m far more regularly going forward
and CW mode utilized much less perhaps (maybe!). My crystal ball is no
better than yours - but if FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and
becomes more EFFICIENT one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will
become very popular and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by
the rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband!


You can take that to the BANK!

At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long - lamented some of the
comments he was seeing by others on CHAT. Basically, while he was more than
courteous, it was clear that he felt like "HEY! I am the FOX here.....I get
to choose to operate whatever mode I think will work - and those sitting in
their comfortable chairs back at home (and not sitting in the heat here on
the shores of Lake Malawi - really do not get to decide this.!! Again, I am
the FOX here.......) Basically, Norbert was right on here - IMHO....

Some more observations:

1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing reliably as they should - at
least not yet all the time - for example: K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI
calling him on his screen for at least 20 mins before the software linked up
at each end to sent the RR73 message - the signal that the QSO was
complete.

And Norbert was clearly "seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they
linked up to finalize and log the QSO. I had similar problems on 160M when
working Norbert - so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But,
we do have to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental release -
and YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out.

But it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better - and
WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think we
will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working future
DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is happening every
night on 1840 today. I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every night - and am
dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old dawgs (like me) are
being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn new tricks.

One final comment:

This all took place on 1836 and I think on 3569 down on 80m these past few
nights. Traditional FT8 (according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes place
on 1840. So I am hopeful that the migration to the new mode continues to
take place in an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really will not mix
well - should FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause problems -
(just my opinion) - but reality I think.

So - I think that is the lot for now. Not much more to report - but for
sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT about it -
I do not think this is a passing FAD. "DIGI-WIGI" or its other name "JINGLE
BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!!

73 JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM






Jeff Briggs
DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of 160 Meters
Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX Engineering, Royal
Society of Great Britain, & Amazon















_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband

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Tim Shoppa
2018-03-30 15:36:44 UTC
Permalink
I’ve been having a lot of fun with FT8 but it certainly has not replaced CW for my DXing.

I do 80M-specific DX Marathon each year. So far this year I have 107 80M DXCCs worked - 104 on CW and 3 on SSB. And none that I needed FT8 or RTTY for.

I will agree, if a guy doesn’t do CW, FT8 is probably going to be a big part of his DX diet.

DXpedition rates are fun to listen to when they are doing 200+ an hour. Right now FT8 (non-DXpedition mode) tops out at maybe 25 an hour when there are no problems. The instant you have any sort of sequencing problem, the rate can drop to 2 an hour. The experimental FT8 DXpedition mode may alleviate (through parallel ongoing Qs) morning be guys sequencing problem from bringing everything to a halt.

Tim N3QE
IMHO, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the demise of CW (alas). Between FT8 and RHR, topband standings as we have known them are virtually meaningless. The guy with a backyard vertical, reasonable radial system, and 100w can easily accomplish on topband (and get equal DXCC credit) what has historically taken a significant effort. . .QRO, large antennas/arrays, and receive antennas. As for the DXpeditions, they will quickly migrate to this mode with the improving QSO throughput as it requires comparatively little skill on the part of the operators. For me personally, it is disappointing to watch it all unfold. But unfold, it will. 73. . .Dave, W0FLS
-----Original Message----- From: k1zm--- via Topband
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 6:50 AM
Subject: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is Upon us!
Hello Gang
I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention lately, but I may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking place right before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its possible implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on.
I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI. Norbert DJ7JC has been a real trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success doing so - so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert. Norbert has managed to make quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very much appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!
So what I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion on Norbert - it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!.
On or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in his grayline period - and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M and me here at VY2ZM. Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have been another and a few more as well. I also heard some EU stations in there calling among the NA stations.
About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but QRNN on his side prevented a legitimate qso. I heard him fine but I know he did not copy my callsign correctly - and later he even said so over ON4KST noting "I heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU qso's on Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up."
The next night Norbert came on ON4KST chat and announced that he was going to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials following its release by K1JT. I am told that the dx'pedition version of FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1 Dx'pedition.
1) A shortened qso sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO elements
2) The promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX (in this example the FOX was 7Q7EI)
3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400 qso's per hour may be possible one day - which would improve the overall qso totals of any dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY.
So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m and I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM.
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to operate this new flavor of FT8. It is a bit tricky and I invite anyone reading this who may be interested to take a look - because Dx'pedition mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must configure things exactly right - or it just does not function as one might expect traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's.
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not pay close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in the game to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side.
So what is going on here exactly? And why did I choose to make this post to Topband?
The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I observed this past summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season. I happen to like to work 6M E during the summer and was all set around the end of June for what I hoped would be a great E season on 6M CW into Europe. I worked a couple of stations on CW in late June but during the first or second week of July, K1JT released the production version of FT8 and almost immediately everyone realized its potential (particularly those in the Mid and Far Western USA) - where it was immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA and others on the Left Coast.
Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a single CW DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E season after that - everyone had qsy'ed to 50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so well on 6M - even on E skip paths. And since I did not have FT8 capability - I was TOTALLY SHUT OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER!
So how does this apply to Topband? Pls read on.....
Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert was back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z - until around 0320z - again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode. By now, most of us had downloaded the dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort of figured out how to do the parameter settings correctly - so quite a few QSO's ensued.
I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were quite a few others.
Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT still has some clean up work to do to refine the dx'pedition mode software - because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is not yet possible - but I think the throughput rate will one day improve materially. (:Last night the throughput was SO SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he stop using dx'pedition mode in favor of the more reliable current release of FT8 that is on the air today.)
Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of this transpire. My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again! This is 6M E season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to Ft8 was now happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it suggests a real possibility of it becoming the choice of major dxpeditions going forward - meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m far more regularly going forward and CW mode utilized much less perhaps (maybe!). My crystal ball is no better than yours - but if FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and becomes more EFFICIENT one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will become very popular and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by the rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband!
You can take that to the BANK!
At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long - lamented some of the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT. Basically, while he was more than courteous, it was clear that he felt like "HEY! I am the FOX here.....I get to choose to operate whatever mode I think will work - and those sitting in their comfortable chairs back at home (and not sitting in the heat here on the shores of Lake Malawi - really do not get to decide this.!! Again, I am the FOX here.......) Basically, Norbert was right on here - IMHO....
1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing reliably as they should - at least not yet all the time - for example: K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI calling him on his screen for at least 20 mins before the software linked up at each end to sent the RR73 message - the signal that the QSO was complete.
And Norbert was clearly "seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they linked up to finalize and log the QSO. I had similar problems on 160M when working Norbert - so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But, we do have to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental release - and YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out.
But it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better - and WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think we will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working future DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is happening every night on 1840 today. I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every night - and am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old dawgs (like me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn new tricks.
This all took place on 1836 and I think on 3569 down on 80m these past few nights. Traditional FT8 (according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes place on 1840. So I am hopeful that the migration to the new mode continues to take place in an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really will not mix well - should FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause problems - (just my opinion) - but reality I think.
So - I think that is the lot for now. Not much more to report - but for sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT about it - I do not think this is a passing FAD. "DIGI-WIGI" or its other name "JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!!
73 JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM
Jeff Briggs
DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of 160 Meters
Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX Engineering, Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.con
Guy Olinger K2AV
2018-03-30 17:12:08 UTC
Permalink
The awards usually come with CW, SSB and digital as categories.

What I see is FT8 displacing RTTY for awards, but not for contesting.

What FT8 will bring is the ability to use daytimes on 160 and 80 for
reliable distance communications with particular people with real
communications, like texting over the phone or email. Just exactly how far
that is on 160 at high noon yet to be determined.

I definitely do see FT8 as having an impact of some sort in disaster
communications where commercial or generator AC power is flat gone and
solar charged batteries are all there is. There would probably need to be
an asymmetrical FT8 where volume is 97% outbound. The platform seems to
have endless possibilities and I think the fellows will get there.

73, Guy

*--------------------------------*
*Lowering SWR does *
* not *
* predict performance.*

*A dummy load, *
* with its perfect SWR, *
* is a worse antenna *
* than a light bulb. *

*First discern and remove *
* the loss in low band*
* antenna systems.*
*----------------------------------*
Post by Tim Shoppa
I’ve been having a lot of fun with FT8 but it certainly has not replaced CW for my DXing.
I do 80M-specific DX Marathon each year. So far this year I have 107 80M
DXCCs worked - 104 on CW and 3 on SSB. And none that I needed FT8 or RTTY
for.
I will agree, if a guy doesn’t do CW, FT8 is probably going to be a big
part of his DX diet.
DXpedition rates are fun to listen to when they are doing 200+ an hour.
Right now FT8 (non-DXpedition mode) tops out at maybe 25 an hour when there
are no problems. The instant you have any sort of sequencing problem, the
rate can drop to 2 an hour. The experimental FT8 DXpedition mode may
alleviate (through parallel ongoing Qs) morning be guys sequencing problem
from bringing everything to a halt.
Tim N3QE
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
IMHO, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the demise of CW (alas).
Between FT8 and RHR, topband standings as we have known them are virtually
meaningless. The guy with a backyard vertical, reasonable radial system,
and 100w can easily accomplish on topband (and get equal DXCC credit) what
has historically taken a significant effort. . .QRO, large antennas/arrays,
and receive antennas. As for the DXpeditions, they will quickly migrate to
this mode with the improving QSO throughput as it requires comparatively
little skill on the part of the operators. For me personally, it is
disappointing to watch it all unfold. But unfold, it will. 73. .
.Dave, W0FLS
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
-----Original Message----- From: k1zm--- via Topband
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 6:50 AM
Subject: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is
Upon us!
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Hello Gang
I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention lately, but
I may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking place right
before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its possible
implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current
dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI. Norbert DJ7JC has been a real
trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success doing so -
so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert. Norbert has managed to make
quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very
much appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
So what I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion
on Norbert - it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its
possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
On or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in
his grayline period - and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M
and me here at VY2ZM. Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have
been another and a few more as well. I also heard some EU stations in
there calling among the NA stations.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but
QRNN on his side prevented a legitimate qso. I heard him fine but I know
he did not copy my callsign correctly - and later he even said so over
ON4KST noting "I heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU
qso's on Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up."
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
The next night Norbert came on ON4KST chat and announced that he was
going to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials
following its release by K1JT. I am told that the dx'pedition version of
FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1 Dx'pedition.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Dx'pedition Mode - offers some unique promise when and if it ever is
1) A shortened qso sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required
QSO elements
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
2) The promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX
(in this example the FOX was 7Q7EI)
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400 qso's per hour may be
possible one day - which would improve the overall qso totals of any
dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m
and I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to
operate this new flavor of FT8. It is a bit tricky and I invite anyone
reading this who may be interested to take a look - because Dx'pedition
mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must configure things
exactly right - or it just does not function as one might expect
traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a
couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not pay
close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in the game
to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
So what is going on here exactly? And why did I choose to make this
post to Topband?
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I observed this past
summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season. I happen to like to work 6M E
during the summer and was all set around the end of June for what I hoped
would be a great E season on 6M CW into Europe. I worked a couple of
stations on CW in late June but during the first or second week of July,
K1JT released the production version of FT8 and almost immediately everyone
realized its potential (particularly those in the Mid and Far Western USA)
- where it was immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA and others on
the Left Coast.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a single CW
DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E season after
that - everyone had qsy'ed to 50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so
well on 6M - even on E skip paths. And since I did not have FT8 capability
- I was TOTALLY SHUT OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER!
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
So how does this apply to Topband? Pls read on.....
Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert
was back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z - until around 0320z -
again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode. By now, most of us had downloaded the
dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort of figured out how to do
the parameter settings correctly - so quite a few QSO's ensued.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were quite a few
others.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT
still has some clean up work to do to refine the dx'pedition mode software
- because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is not yet possible - but I
think the throughput rate will one day improve materially. (:Last night
the throughput was SO SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he stop
using dx'pedition mode in favor of the more reliable current release of FT8
that is on the air today.)
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those
constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those
without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of this
transpire. My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again! This is 6M E
season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to Ft8 was now
happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it suggests a real
possibility of it becoming the choice of major dxpeditions going forward -
meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m far more regularly going forward
and CW mode utilized much less perhaps (maybe!). My crystal ball is no
better than yours - but if FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and
becomes more EFFICIENT one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will
become very popular and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by
the rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband!
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
You can take that to the BANK!
At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long - lamented some of
the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT. Basically, while he was more
than courteous, it was clear that he felt like "HEY! I am the FOX
here.....I get to choose to operate whatever mode I think will work - and
those sitting in their comfortable chairs back at home (and not sitting in
the heat here on the shores of Lake Malawi - really do not get to decide
this.!! Again, I am the FOX here.......) Basically, Norbert was right on
here - IMHO....
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing reliably as they should -
at least not yet all the time - for example: K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI
calling him on his screen for at least 20 mins before the software linked
up at each end to sent the RR73 message - the signal that the QSO was
complete.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
And Norbert was clearly "seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they
linked up to finalize and log the QSO. I had similar problems on 160M when
working Norbert - so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But,
we do have to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental release -
and YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
But it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better -
and WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think
we will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working
future DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is
happening every night on 1840 today. I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every
night - and am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old
dawgs (like me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn
new tricks.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
This all took place on 1836 and I think on 3569 down on 80m these past
few nights. Traditional FT8 (according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes
place on 1840. So I am hopeful that the migration to the new mode
continues to take place in an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really
will not mix well - should FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause
problems - (just my opinion) - but reality I think.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
So - I think that is the lot for now. Not much more to report - but for
sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT about it -
I do not think this is a passing FAD. "DIGI-WIGI" or its other name
"JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!!
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
73 JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM
Jeff Briggs
DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of 160 Meters
Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX Engineering,
Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
Topband
k***@alphacomm.net
2018-03-30 17:39:13 UTC
Permalink
Just think about that....After some terrific disaster, you'll be able to
tell the outside world your grid square & signal report. Good luck with
that...

Brian  K8BHZ
Post by Guy Olinger K2AV
I definitely do see FT8 as having an impact of some sort in disaster
communications where commercial or generator AC power is flat gone and
solar charged batteries are all there is. There would probably need to be
an asymmetrical FT8 where volume is 97% outbound. The platform seems to
have endless possibilities and I think the fellows will get there.
73, Guy
_________________
Topband
Joe Subich, W4TV
2018-03-31 00:00:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Guy Olinger K2AV
What FT8 will bring is the ability to use daytimes on 160 and 80 for
reliable distance communications with particular people with real
communications, like texting over the phone or email.
FT8 is not a "conversational mode" and can't (absent an internet
connection) be used for texting.
Post by Guy Olinger K2AV
I definitely do see FT8 as having an impact of some sort in disaster
communications where commercial or generator AC power is flat gone and
solar charged batteries are all there is.
FT8 has a limited protocol - it is not useful *AT ALL* for passing
emergency communications other than "are you there"/"yes I'm here"
type messages. This is also why - unless you're willing to reduce
contest exchanges to callsign and grid (4 character) square - FT8
is useless for contesting.

73,

... Joe, W4TV
Post by Guy Olinger K2AV
The awards usually come with CW, SSB and digital as categories.
What I see is FT8 displacing RTTY for awards, but not for contesting.
What FT8 will bring is the ability to use daytimes on 160 and 80 for
reliable distance communications with particular people with real
communications, like texting over the phone or email. Just exactly how far
that is on 160 at high noon yet to be determined.
I definitely do see FT8 as having an impact of some sort in disaster
communications where commercial or generator AC power is flat gone and
solar charged batteries are all there is. There would probably need to be
an asymmetrical FT8 where volume is 97% outbound. The platform seems to
have endless possibilities and I think the fellows will get there.
73, Guy
*--------------------------------*
*Lowering SWR does *
* not *
* predict performance.*
*A dummy load, *
* with its perfect SWR, *
* is a worse antenna *
* than a light bulb. *
*First discern and remove *
* the loss in low band*
* antenna systems.*
*----------------------------------*
Post by Tim Shoppa
I’ve been having a lot of fun with FT8 but it certainly has not replaced
CW for my DXing.
I do 80M-specific DX Marathon each year. So far this year I have 107 80M
DXCCs worked - 104 on CW and 3 on SSB. And none that I needed FT8 or RTTY
for.
I will agree, if a guy doesn’t do CW, FT8 is probably going to be a big
part of his DX diet.
DXpedition rates are fun to listen to when they are doing 200+ an hour.
Right now FT8 (non-DXpedition mode) tops out at maybe 25 an hour when there
are no problems. The instant you have any sort of sequencing problem, the
rate can drop to 2 an hour. The experimental FT8 DXpedition mode may
alleviate (through parallel ongoing Qs) morning be guys sequencing problem
from bringing everything to a halt.
Tim N3QE
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
IMHO, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the demise of CW (alas).
Between FT8 and RHR, topband standings as we have known them are virtually
meaningless. The guy with a backyard vertical, reasonable radial system,
and 100w can easily accomplish on topband (and get equal DXCC credit) what
has historically taken a significant effort. . .QRO, large antennas/arrays,
and receive antennas. As for the DXpeditions, they will quickly migrate to
this mode with the improving QSO throughput as it requires comparatively
little skill on the part of the operators. For me personally, it is
disappointing to watch it all unfold. But unfold, it will. 73. .
.Dave, W0FLS
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
-----Original Message----- From: k1zm--- via Topband
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 6:50 AM
Subject: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is
Upon us!
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Hello Gang
I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention lately, but
I may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking place right
before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its possible
implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current
dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI. Norbert DJ7JC has been a real
trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success doing so -
so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert. Norbert has managed to make
quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very
much appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
So what I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion
on Norbert - it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its
possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
On or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in
his grayline period - and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M
and me here at VY2ZM. Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have
been another and a few more as well. I also heard some EU stations in
there calling among the NA stations.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but
QRNN on his side prevented a legitimate qso. I heard him fine but I know
he did not copy my callsign correctly - and later he even said so over
ON4KST noting "I heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU
qso's on Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up."
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
The next night Norbert came on ON4KST chat and announced that he was
going to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials
following its release by K1JT. I am told that the dx'pedition version of
FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1 Dx'pedition.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Dx'pedition Mode - offers some unique promise when and if it ever is
1) A shortened qso sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required
QSO elements
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
2) The promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX
(in this example the FOX was 7Q7EI)
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400 qso's per hour may be
possible one day - which would improve the overall qso totals of any
dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m
and I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to
operate this new flavor of FT8. It is a bit tricky and I invite anyone
reading this who may be interested to take a look - because Dx'pedition
mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must configure things
exactly right - or it just does not function as one might expect
traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a
couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not pay
close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in the game
to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
So what is going on here exactly? And why did I choose to make this
post to Topband?
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I observed this past
summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season. I happen to like to work 6M E
during the summer and was all set around the end of June for what I hoped
would be a great E season on 6M CW into Europe. I worked a couple of
stations on CW in late June but during the first or second week of July,
K1JT released the production version of FT8 and almost immediately everyone
realized its potential (particularly those in the Mid and Far Western USA)
- where it was immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA and others on
the Left Coast.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a single CW
DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E season after
that - everyone had qsy'ed to 50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so
well on 6M - even on E skip paths. And since I did not have FT8 capability
- I was TOTALLY SHUT OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER!
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
So how does this apply to Topband? Pls read on.....
Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert
was back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z - until around 0320z -
again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode. By now, most of us had downloaded the
dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort of figured out how to do
the parameter settings correctly - so quite a few QSO's ensued.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were quite a few
others.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT
still has some clean up work to do to refine the dx'pedition mode software
- because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is not yet possible - but I
think the throughput rate will one day improve materially. (:Last night
the throughput was SO SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he stop
using dx'pedition mode in favor of the more reliable current release of FT8
that is on the air today.)
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those
constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those
without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of this
transpire. My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again! This is 6M E
season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to Ft8 was now
happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it suggests a real
possibility of it becoming the choice of major dxpeditions going forward -
meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m far more regularly going forward
and CW mode utilized much less perhaps (maybe!). My crystal ball is no
better than yours - but if FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and
becomes more EFFICIENT one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will
become very popular and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by
the rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband!
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
You can take that to the BANK!
At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long - lamented some of
the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT. Basically, while he was more
than courteous, it was clear that he felt like "HEY! I am the FOX
here.....I get to choose to operate whatever mode I think will work - and
those sitting in their comfortable chairs back at home (and not sitting in
the heat here on the shores of Lake Malawi - really do not get to decide
this.!! Again, I am the FOX here.......) Basically, Norbert was right on
here - IMHO....
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing reliably as they should -
at least not yet all the time - for example: K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI
calling him on his screen for at least 20 mins before the software linked
up at each end to sent the RR73 message - the signal that the QSO was
complete.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
And Norbert was clearly "seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they
linked up to finalize and log the QSO. I had similar problems on 160M when
working Norbert - so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But,
we do have to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental release -
and YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
But it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better -
and WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think
we will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working
future DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is
happening every night on 1840 today. I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every
night - and am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old
dawgs (like me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn
new tricks.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
This all took place on 1836 and I think on 3569 down on 80m these past
few nights. Traditional FT8 (according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes
place on 1840. So I am hopeful that the migration to the new mode
continues to take place in an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really
will not mix well - should FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause
problems - (just my opinion) - but reality I think.
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
So - I think that is the lot for now. Not much more to report - but for
sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT about it -
I do not think this is a passing FAD. "DIGI-WIGI" or its other name
"JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!!
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
73 JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM
Jeff Briggs
DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of 160 Meters
Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX Engineering,
Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
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Jim N7US
2018-03-30 16:12:01 UTC
Permalink
I also observed the same on 6M last summer when the switch was flipped and
FT8 replaced CW and SSB on 6M. I've enjoyed 6M for only a few years, but I
lost all interest, despite my 6L SteppIR and KPA500, when that happened.

I've had a handful of FT8 QSOs early on, but I got no satisfaction using it.
It wasn't FUN for me.

I have simple, wire antennas for 80 and 160 but I've enjoyed those bands for
many years. I was elated to work 3B9C on 160 from AZ in 2004 using a half
sloper (yes, at his SR).

I also enjoy RTTY and am almost on that Honor Roll, though the RTTY DXCC was
changed to the Digital DXCC a few years ago. All of my contacts are on
RTTY, with none on PSK or other digital modes, so that has lost some of its
appeal.

I sold my 87A but still have my KPA500 while I wait for my KPA1500. I am
questioning whether I should buy it given the rush to FT8.

Maybe I'm a "grumpy old man" but I don't think I'll mind eventually
downsizing with a simpler station because the hobby will have changed. I'd
even be OK with RHR from "the home" but I wouldn't use it for competition.

Contesting, including CWops' CWTs, is still fun, but DXing won't be the
same.

73, Jim N7US

-----Original Message-----


IMHO, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the demise of CW (alas).
Between FT8 and RHR, topband standings as we have known them are virtually
meaningless. The guy with a backyard vertical, reasonable radial system,
and 100w can easily accomplish on topband (and get equal DXCC credit) what
has historically taken a significant effort. . .QRO, large antennas/arrays,
and receive antennas. As for the DXpeditions, they will quickly migrate to
this mode with the improving QSO throughput as it requires comparatively
little skill on the part of the operators. For me personally, it is
disappointing to watch it all unfold. But unfold, it will. 73. .
.Dave, W0FLS






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Hans Hjelmström
2018-03-30 16:44:38 UTC
Permalink
SORRY to say. Of course everyone do what they like to do,
BUT FT8 and ,,,no hearing QSO:s,,, will destroy our hobby.
Same for me last 6 meter season . Had a 1 hour opening on 6 meter from Florida, to Minnesota and California on CW,,,,BUT made 7 QSO during 1 hour of open band. Most people were on FT8 making ,,,,,contacts ? computer to computer , and very very
few on SSB or CW. FT8 should be ok IF signal were minimum minus 1 db.
Everything below that,you can not hear…..

Sorry. Lets TRY to activate 6 meter coming season on SSB and CW as much
as we enjoy,and ,,,,may be ,,, we see a change back to normal.

Kind regards

Hans SM6CVX
Post by Jim N7US
I also observed the same on 6M last summer when the switch was flipped and
FT8 replaced CW and SSB on 6M. I've enjoyed 6M for only a few years, but I
lost all interest, despite my 6L SteppIR and KPA500, when that happened.
I've had a handful of FT8 QSOs early on, but I got no satisfaction using it.
It wasn't FUN for me.
I have simple, wire antennas for 80 and 160 but I've enjoyed those bands for
many years. I was elated to work 3B9C on 160 from AZ in 2004 using a half
sloper (yes, at his SR).
I also enjoy RTTY and am almost on that Honor Roll, though the RTTY DXCC was
changed to the Digital DXCC a few years ago. All of my contacts are on
RTTY, with none on PSK or other digital modes, so that has lost some of its
appeal.
I sold my 87A but still have my KPA500 while I wait for my KPA1500. I am
questioning whether I should buy it given the rush to FT8.
Maybe I'm a "grumpy old man" but I don't think I'll mind eventually
downsizing with a simpler station because the hobby will have changed. I'd
even be OK with RHR from "the home" but I wouldn't use it for competition.
Contesting, including CWops' CWTs, is still fun, but DXing won't be the
same.
73, Jim N7US
-----Original Message-----
IMHO, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the demise of CW (alas).
Between FT8 and RHR, topband standings as we have known them are virtually
meaningless. The guy with a backyard vertical, reasonable radial system,
and 100w can easily accomplish on topband (and get equal DXCC credit) what
has historically taken a significant effort. . .QRO, large antennas/arrays,
and receive antennas. As for the DXpeditions, they will quickly migrate to
this mode with the improving QSO throughput as it requires comparatively
little skill on the part of the operators. For me personally, it is
disappointing to watch it all unfold. But unfold, it will. 73. .
.Dave, W0FLS
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www
GEORGE WALLNER
2018-03-30 18:26:52 UTC
Permalink
Dave,
For those of us who like CW, it will always be the preferred mode. FT8 may
lower the DXCC threshold; perhaps it should be counted differently. But FT8
is opening 160 m to hams with limited facilities, and that is a good thing.
Most of us know that HF is a linear environment and that there is always
some signal, even if it is way below the noise. That signal has always been
there, ready to be exploited by a new mode. So FT8's success should not be a
surprise.
Personally, I want the CW QSO, not the just the QSO.
I see a parallel in sailing. Power boats (and ships for sure) way outperform
sailing boats. Still, there are as many sailing enthusiasts out there as
before. They love sailing, not just getting there.

C U on CW,

George.
AA7JV



On Fri, 30 Mar 2018 10:10:29 -0500
IMHO, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the demise of CW (alas). Between FT8 and RHR, topband standings as we have known them are virtually meaningless. The guy with a backyard vertical, reasonable radial system, and 100w can easily accomplish on topband (and get equal DXCC credit) what has historically taken a significant effort. . .QRO, large antennas/arrays, and receive antennas. As for the DXpeditions, they will quickly migrate to this mode with the improving QSO throughput as it requires comparatively little skill on the part of the operators. For me personally, it is disappointing to watch it all unfold.
But unfold, it will. 73. . .Dave, W0FLS
-----Original Message----- From: k1zm--- via Topband
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 6:50 AM
Subject: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is Upon us!
Hello Gang
I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention lately, but I may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking place right before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its possible implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on.
I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI.
Norbert DJ7JC has been a real trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success doing so - so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert. Norbert has managed to make quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very much appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!
So what I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion on Norbert - it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!.
On or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in his grayline period - and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M and me here at VY2ZM.
Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have been another and a few more as well. I also heard some EU stations in there calling among the NA stations.
About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but QRNN on his side prevented a legitimate qso. I heard him fine but I know he did not copy my callsign correctly - and later he even said so over ON4KST noting "I heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU qso's on Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up."
The next night Norbert came on ON4KST chat and announced that he was going to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials following its release by K1JT. I am told that the dx'pedition version of FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1 Dx'pedition.
1) A shortened qso sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO elements
2) The promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX (in this example the FOX was 7Q7EI)
3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400 qso's per hour may be possible one day - which would improve the overall qso totals of any dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY.
So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m and I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM.
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to operate this new flavor of FT8. It is a bit tricky and I invite anyone reading this who may be interested to take a look - because Dx'pedition mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must configure things exactly right - or it just does not function as one might expect traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's.
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not pay close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in the game to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side.
So what is going on here exactly? And why did I choose to make this post to Topband?
The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I observed this past summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season. I happen to like to work 6M E during the summer and was all set around the end of June for what I hoped would be a great E season on 6M CW into Europe. I worked a couple of stations on CW in late June but during the first or second week of July, K1JT released the production version of FT8 and almost immediately everyone realized its potential (particularly those in the Mid and Far Western USA) - where it was immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA and others on the Left Coast.
Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a single CW DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E season after that - everyone had qsy'ed to 50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so well on 6M - even on E skip paths. And since I did not have FT8 capability - I was TOTALLY SHUT OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER!
So how does this apply to Topband? Pls read on.....
Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert was back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z - until around 0320z - again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode. By now, most of us had downloaded the dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort of figured out how to do the parameter settings correctly - so quite a few QSO's ensued.
I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were quite a few others.
Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT still has some clean up work to do to refine the dx'pedition mode software - because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is not yet possible - but I think the throughput rate will one day improve materially. (:Last night the throughput was SO SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he stop using dx'pedition mode in favor of the more reliable current release of FT8 that is on the air today.)
Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of this transpire. My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again! This is 6M E season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to Ft8 was now happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it suggests a real possibility of it becoming the choice of major dxpeditions going forward - meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m far more regularly going forward and CW mode utilized much less perhaps (maybe!). My crystal ball is no better than yours - but if FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and becomes more EFFICIENT one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will become very popular and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by the rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband!
You can take that to the BANK!
At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long - lamented some of the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT. Basically, while he was more than courteous, it was clear that he felt like "HEY! I am the FOX here.....I get to choose to operate whatever mode I think will work - and those sitting in their comfortable chairs back at home (and not sitting in the heat here on the shores of Lake Malawi - really do not get to decide this.!! Again, I am the FOX here.......) Basically, Norbert was right on here - IMHO....
1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing reliably as they should - at least not yet all the time - for example: K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI calling him on his screen for at least 20 mins before the software linked up at each end to sent the RR73 message - the signal that the QSO was complete.
And Norbert was clearly "seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they linked up to finalize and log the QSO.
I had similar problems on 160M when working Norbert - so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But, we do have to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental release - and YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out.
But it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better - and WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think we will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working future DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is happening every night on 1840 today. I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every night - and am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old dawgs (like me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn new tricks.
This all took place on 1836 and I think on 3569 down on 80m these past few nights. Traditional FT8 (according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes place on 1840. So I am hopeful that the migration to the new mode continues to take place in an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really will not mix well - should FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause problems - (just my opinion) - but reality I think.
So - I think that is the lot for now. Not much more to report - but for sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT about it - I do not think this is a passing FAD. "DIGI-WIGI" or its other name "JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!!
73 JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM
Jeff Briggs
DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of 160 Meters
Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX Engineering, Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
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Anthony Scandurra
2018-03-30 18:30:41 UTC
Permalink
George,

I understand and agree with most of what you say, but the sailboat analogy
is a bad one.

I can sail a boat alone. I can't have a QSO without someone else on the
same mode. The vacuum FT8 creates is the problem.

73, Tony K4QE
Post by GEORGE WALLNER
Dave,
For those of us who like CW, it will always be the preferred mode. FT8 may
lower the DXCC threshold; perhaps it should be counted differently. But FT8
is opening 160 m to hams with limited facilities, and that is a good thing.
Most of us know that HF is a linear environment and that there is always
some signal, even if it is way below the noise. That signal has always been
there, ready to be exploited by a new mode. So FT8's success should not be
a surprise.
Personally, I want the CW QSO, not the just the QSO.
I see a parallel in sailing. Power boats (and ships for sure) way
outperform sailing boats. Still, there are as many sailing enthusiasts out
there as before. They love sailing, not just getting there.
C U on CW,
George.
AA7JV
On Fri, 30 Mar 2018 10:10:29 -0500
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
IMHO, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the demise of CW (alas).
Between FT8 and RHR, topband standings as we have known them are virtually
meaningless. The guy with a backyard vertical, reasonable radial system,
and 100w can easily accomplish on topband (and get equal DXCC credit) what
has historically taken a significant effort. . .QRO, large antennas/arrays,
and receive antennas. As for the DXpeditions, they will quickly migrate to
this mode with the improving QSO throughput as it requires comparatively
little skill on the part of the operators. For me personally, it is
disappointing to watch it all unfold. But unfold, it will. 73. .
.Dave, W0FLS
-----Original Message----- From: k1zm--- via Topband
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 6:50 AM
Subject: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is Upon us!
Hello Gang
I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention lately, but
I may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking place right
before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its possible
implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on.
I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current
dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI. Norbert DJ7JC has been a real
trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success doing so -
so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert. Norbert has managed to make
quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very
much appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!
So what I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion on
Norbert - it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its
possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!.
On or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in his
grayline period - and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M and
me here at VY2ZM. Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have been
another and a few more as well. I also heard some EU stations in there
calling among the NA stations.
About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but QRNN
on his side prevented a legitimate qso. I heard him fine but I know he did
not copy my callsign correctly - and later he even said so over ON4KST
noting "I heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU qso's
on Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up."
The next night Norbert came on ON4KST chat and announced that he was
going to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials
following its release by K1JT. I am told that the dx'pedition version of
FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1 Dx'pedition.
Dx'pedition Mode - offers some unique promise when and if it ever is
1) A shortened qso sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO elements
2) The promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX
(in this example the FOX was 7Q7EI)
3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400 qso's per hour may be
possible one day - which would improve the overall qso totals of any
dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY.
So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m
and I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM.
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to
operate this new flavor of FT8. It is a bit tricky and I invite anyone
reading this who may be interested to take a look - because Dx'pedition
mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must configure things
exactly right - or it just does not function as one might expect
traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's.
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a
couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not pay
close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in the game
to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side.
So what is going on here exactly? And why did I choose to make this post to Topband?
The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I observed this past
summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season. I happen to like to work 6M E
during the summer and was all set around the end of June for what I hoped
would be a great E season on 6M CW into Europe. I worked a couple of
stations on CW in late June but during the first or second week of July,
K1JT released the production version of FT8 and almost immediately everyone
realized its potential (particularly those in the Mid and Far Western USA)
- where it was immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA and others on
the Left Coast.
Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a single CW
DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E season after
that - everyone had qsy'ed to 50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so
well on 6M - even on E skip paths. And since I did not have FT8 capability
- I was TOTALLY SHUT OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER!
So how does this apply to Topband? Pls read on.....
Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert
was back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z - until around 0320z -
again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode. By now, most of us had downloaded the
dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort of figured out how to do
the parameter settings correctly - so quite a few QSO's ensued.
I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were quite a few others.
Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT
still has some clean up work to do to refine the dx'pedition mode software
- because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is not yet possible - but I
think the throughput rate will one day improve materially. (:Last night
the throughput was SO SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he stop
using dx'pedition mode in favor of the more reliable current release of FT8
that is on the air today.)
Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those
constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those
without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of this
transpire. My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again! This is 6M E
season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to Ft8 was now
happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it suggests a real
possibility of it becoming the choice of major dxpeditions going forward -
meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m far more regularly going forward
and CW mode utilized much less perhaps (maybe!). My crystal ball is no
better than yours - but if FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and
becomes more EFFICIENT one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will
become very popular and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by
the rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband!
You can take that to the BANK!
At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long - lamented some of
the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT. Basically, while he was more
than courteous, it was clear that he felt like "HEY! I am the FOX
here.....I get to choose to operate whatever mode I think will work - and
those sitting in their comfortable chairs back at home (and not sitting in
the heat here on the shores of Lake Malawi - really do not get to decide
this.!! Again, I am the FOX here.......) Basically, Norbert was right on
here - IMHO....
1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing reliably as they should - at
least not yet all the time - for example: K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI
calling him on his screen for at least 20 mins before the software linked
up at each end to sent the RR73 message - the signal that the QSO was
complete.
And Norbert was clearly "seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they
linked up to finalize and log the QSO. I had similar problems on 160M when
working Norbert - so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But,
we do have to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental release -
and YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out.
But it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better - and
WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think we
will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working future
DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is happening every
night on 1840 today. I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every night - and am
dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old dawgs (like me)
are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn new tricks.
This all took place on 1836 and I think on 3569 down on 80m these past
few nights. Traditional FT8 (according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes
place on 1840. So I am hopeful that the migration to the new mode
continues to take place in an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really
will not mix well - should FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause
problems - (just my opinion) - but reality I think.
So - I think that is the lot for now. Not much more to report - but for
sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT about it -
I do not think this is a passing FAD. "DIGI-WIGI" or its other name
"JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!!
73 JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM
Jeff Briggs
DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of 160 Meters
Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX Engineering,
Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
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d***@iowatelecom.net
2018-03-30 19:43:27 UTC
Permalink
Hello George. . .

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I don't believe most hams have any
issue with computer-to-computer modes opening up new opportunities for hams
with limited facilities. The rub comes in when those contacts are lumped in
and counted for DXCC mixed and other recognition programs in the same manner
as traditional contacts. To use your boat analogy below, it's like putting
a power boat in the same race with a sailboat. They both have their merits.
. .but they are simply two different things. That said, there will always
be people seeking equal recognition without having to make the effort. . .
that's become a given in the pop culture. 73 to all. . .Dave, W0FLS

-----Original Message-----
From: GEORGE WALLNER
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 1:26 PM
To: ***@iowatelecom.net ; ***@aol.com ; ***@contesting.com
Subject: Re: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is
Upon us!

Dave,
For those of us who like CW, it will always be the preferred mode. FT8 may
lower the DXCC threshold; perhaps it should be counted differently. But FT8
is opening 160 m to hams with limited facilities, and that is a good thing.
Most of us know that HF is a linear environment and that there is always
some signal, even if it is way below the noise. That signal has always been
there, ready to be exploited by a new mode. So FT8's success should not be a
surprise.
Personally, I want the CW QSO, not the just the QSO.
I see a parallel in sailing. Power boats (and ships for sure) way outperform
sailing boats. Still, there are as many sailing enthusiasts out there as
before. They love sailing, not just getting there.

C U on CW,

George.
AA7JV



On Fri, 30 Mar 2018 10:10:29 -0500
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
IMHO, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the demise of CW (alas).
Between FT8 and RHR, topband standings as we have known them are virtually
meaningless. The guy with a backyard vertical, reasonable radial system,
and 100w can easily accomplish on topband (and get equal DXCC credit) what
has historically taken a significant effort. . .QRO, large
antennas/arrays, and receive antennas. As for the DXpeditions, they will
quickly migrate to this mode with the improving QSO throughput as it
requires comparatively little skill on the part of the operators. For me
personally, it is disappointing to watch it all unfold. But unfold, it
will. 73. . .Dave, W0FLS
-----Original Message----- From: k1zm--- via Topband
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 6:50 AM
Subject: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is Upon us!
Hello Gang
I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention lately, but I
may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking place right
before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its possible
implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on.
I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current
dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI. Norbert DJ7JC has been a real
trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success doing so -
so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert. Norbert has managed to make
quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very
much appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!
So what I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion on
Norbert - it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its
possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!.
On or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in his
grayline period - and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M and
me here at VY2ZM. Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have
been another and a few more as well. I also heard some EU stations in
there calling among the NA stations.
About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but QRNN
on his side prevented a legitimate qso. I heard him fine but I know he
did not copy my callsign correctly - and later he even said so over ON4KST
noting "I heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU qso's
on Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up."
The next night Norbert came on ON4KST chat and announced that he was
going to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials
following its release by K1JT. I am told that the dx'pedition version of
FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1 Dx'pedition.
Dx'pedition Mode - offers some unique promise when and if it ever is fully
1) A shortened qso sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO elements
2) The promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX
(in this example the FOX was 7Q7EI)
3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400 qso's per hour may be
possible one day - which would improve the overall qso totals of any
dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY.
So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m and
I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM.
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to
operate this new flavor of FT8. It is a bit tricky and I invite anyone
reading this who may be interested to take a look - because Dx'pedition
mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must configure things
exactly right - or it just does not function as one might expect
traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's.
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a
couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not pay
close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in the game
to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side.
So what is going on here exactly? And why did I choose to make this post to Topband?
The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I observed this past
summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season. I happen to like to work 6M E
during the summer and was all set around the end of June for what I hoped
would be a great E season on 6M CW into Europe. I worked a couple of
stations on CW in late June but during the first or second week of July,
K1JT released the production version of FT8 and almost immediately
everyone realized its potential (particularly those in the Mid and Far
Western USA) - where it was immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA
and others on the Left Coast.
Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a single CW
DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E season after
that - everyone had qsy'ed to 50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so
well on 6M - even on E skip paths. And since I did not have FT8
capability - I was TOTALLY SHUT OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing -
BUMMER!
So how does this apply to Topband? Pls read on.....
Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert
was back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z - until around 0320z -
again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode. By now, most of us had downloaded the
dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort of figured out how to do
the parameter settings correctly - so quite a few QSO's ensued.
I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were quite a few others.
Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT
still has some clean up work to do to refine the dx'pedition mode
software - because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is not yet possible -
but I think the throughput rate will one day improve materially. (:Last
night the throughput was SO SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he
stop using dx'pedition mode in favor of the more reliable current release
of FT8 that is on the air today.)
Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those
constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those
without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of this
transpire. My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again! This is 6M
E season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to Ft8 was now
happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it suggests a real
possibility of it becoming the choice of major dxpeditions going forward -
meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m far more regularly going
forward and CW mode utilized much less perhaps (maybe!). My crystal ball
is no better than yours - but if FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by
K1JT and becomes more EFFICIENT one day than CW mode - you can be SURE
that it will become very popular and it will get used far more (at the
expense of CW) by the rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to
Topband!
You can take that to the BANK!
At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long - lamented some of
the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT. Basically, while he was
more than courteous, it was clear that he felt like "HEY! I am the FOX
here.....I get to choose to operate whatever mode I think will work - and
those sitting in their comfortable chairs back at home (and not sitting in
the heat here on the shores of Lake Malawi - really do not get to decide
this.!! Again, I am the FOX here.......) Basically, Norbert was right on
here - IMHO....
1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing reliably as they should - at
least not yet all the time - for example: K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI
calling him on his screen for at least 20 mins before the software linked
up at each end to sent the RR73 message - the signal that the QSO was
complete.
And Norbert was clearly "seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they
linked up to finalize and log the QSO. I had similar problems on 160M when
working Norbert - so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But,
we do have to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental
release - and YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed
out.
But it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better - and
WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think we
will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working
future DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is
happening every night on 1840 today. I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every
night - and am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old
dawgs (like me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to
learn new tricks.
This all took place on 1836 and I think on 3569 down on 80m these past few
nights. Traditional FT8 (according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes place
on 1840. So I am hopeful that the migration to the new mode continues to
take place in an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really will not mix
well - should FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause problems -
(just my opinion) - but reality I think.
So - I think that is the lot for now. Not much more to report - but for
sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT about
it - I do not think this is a passing FAD. "DIGI-WIGI" or its other name
"JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!!
73 JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM
Jeff Briggs
DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of 160 Meters
Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX Engineering,
Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon
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Joe Subich, W4TV
2018-03-31 00:08:00 UTC
Permalink
The rub comes in when those contacts are lumped in and counted for
DXCC mixed and other recognition programs in the same manner as
traditional contacts.
The difference in sensitivity between FT8 and CW is about as much as
between AM and CW. There is no thought of banning CW from Mixed DXCC
so why should FT8 be treated any differently? What FT8 does is allow
those who are not running California Killowatts on 160 meters a real
chance of success where they had no shot previously.

73,

... Joe, W4TV
Hello George. . .
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  I don't believe most hams have any
issue with computer-to-computer modes opening up new opportunities for
hams with limited facilities.  The rub comes in when those contacts are
lumped in and counted for DXCC mixed and other recognition programs in
the same manner as traditional contacts.  To use your boat analogy
below, it's like putting a power boat in the same race with a sailboat.
They both have their merits. . .but they are simply two different
things.  That said, there will always be people seeking equal
recognition without having to make the effort. . . that's become a given
in the pop culture.         73 to all. . .Dave, W0FLS
-----Original Message----- From: GEORGE WALLNER
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 1:26 PM
Subject: Re: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is
Upon us!
Dave,
For those of us who like CW, it will always be the preferred mode. FT8 may
lower the DXCC threshold; perhaps it should be counted differently. But FT8
is opening 160 m to hams with limited facilities, and that is a good thing.
Most of us know that HF is a linear environment and that there is always
some signal, even if it is way below the noise. That signal has always been
there, ready to be exploited by a new mode. So FT8's success should not be a
surprise.
Personally, I want the CW QSO, not the just the QSO.
I see a parallel in sailing. Power boats (and ships for sure) way outperform
sailing boats. Still, there are as many sailing enthusiasts out there as
before. They love sailing, not just getting there.
C U on CW,
George.
AA7JV
On Fri, 30 Mar 2018 10:10:29 -0500
Post by d***@iowatelecom.net
IMHO, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the demise of CW
(alas). Between FT8 and RHR, topband standings as we have known them
are virtually meaningless.  The guy with a  backyard vertical,
reasonable radial system, and 100w can easily accomplish on topband
(and get equal DXCC credit) what has historically taken a significant
effort. . .QRO, large antennas/arrays, and receive antennas.  As for
the DXpeditions, they will quickly migrate to this mode with the
improving QSO throughput as it requires comparatively little skill on
the part of the operators.   For me personally, it is disappointing to
watch it all unfold. But unfold, it will.           73. . .Dave, W0FLS
-----Original Message----- From: k1zm--- via Topband
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 6:50 AM
Subject: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is Upon us!
Hello Gang
I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention lately,
but I may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking
place right before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its
possible implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls
read on.
I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current
dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI. Norbert DJ7JC has been a
real trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success
doing so - so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert.  Norbert has
managed to make quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on
Topband and we all very much appreciate his efforts - well done
Norbert - thank you!
So what I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion
on Norbert - it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and
its possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!.
On or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in
his grayline period - and was heard by a number of stations including
NO3M and me here at VY2ZM. Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS
may have been another and a few more as well.  I also heard some EU
stations in there calling among the NA stations.
About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but
QRNN on his side prevented a legitimate qso.  I heard him fine but I
know he did not copy my callsign correctly - and later he even said so
over ON4KST noting "I heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged
no NA or EU qso's on Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun
came up."
The next night Norbert came on ON4KST  chat and announced that he was
going to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta
trials following its release by K1JT.  I am told that the dx'pedition
version of FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1
Dx'pedition.
Dx'pedition Mode - offers some unique promise when and if it ever is
1) A shortened qso sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO elements
2) The promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the
FOX (in this example the FOX was 7Q7EI)
3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400 qso's per hour may be
possible one day - which would improve the overall qso totals of any
dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY.
So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m
and I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM.
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how
to operate this new flavor of FT8.  It is a bit tricky and I invite
anyone reading this who may be interested to take a look - because
Dx'pedition mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must
configure things exactly right - or it just does not function as one
might expect traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's.
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked
a couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did
not pay close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late
in the game to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side.
So what is going on here exactly?  And why did I choose to make this
post to Topband?
The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I observed this past
summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season.  I happen to like to work
6M E during the summer and was all set around the end of June for what
I hoped would be a great E season on 6M CW into Europe.  I worked a
couple of stations on CW in late June but during the first or second
week of July, K1JT released the production version of FT8 and almost
immediately everyone realized its potential (particularly those in the
Mid and Far Western USA) - where it was immediately called a "GAME
CHANGER" by K7JA and others on the Left Coast.
Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a single
CW DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E season
after that - everyone had qsy'ed to 50.313 to work FT8 - because it
WORKED so well on 6M - even on E skip paths.  And since I did not have
FT8 capability - I was TOTALLY SHUT OUT and had NO 6M E season of
Dx'ing - BUMMER!
So how does this apply to Topband?  Pls read on.....
Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands from 7Q7EI - and
Norbert was back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z - until
around 0320z - again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode.  By now, most of us
had downloaded the dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort of
figured out how to do the parameter settings correctly - so quite a
few QSO's ensued.
I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were quite a few others.
Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT
still has some clean up work to do to refine the dx'pedition mode
software - because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is not yet
possible - but I think the throughput rate will one day improve
materially.  (:Last night the throughput was SO SLOW that some
suggested to Norbert that he stop using dx'pedition mode in favor of
the more reliable current release of FT8 that is on the air today.)
Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those
constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those
without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of
this transpire.  My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again!
This is 6M E season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to
Ft8 was now happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it
suggests a real possibility of it becoming the choice of major
dxpeditions going forward - meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m
far more regularly going forward and  CW mode utilized much less
perhaps (maybe!).  My crystal ball is no better than yours - but if
FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and becomes more EFFICIENT
one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will become very
popular and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by the
rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband!
You can take that to the BANK!
At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long - lamented some
of the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT.  Basically, while he
was more than courteous, it was clear that he felt like "HEY!  I am
the FOX here.....I get to choose to operate whatever mode I think will
work - and those sitting in their comfortable chairs back at home (and
not sitting in the heat here on the shores of Lake Malawi - really do
not get to decide this.!!  Again, I am the FOX here.......)
Basically, Norbert was right on here - IMHO....
1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing reliably as they should -
at least not yet all the time - for example:  K8KZ was clearly seeing
7Q7EI calling him on his screen for at least 20 mins before the
software linked up at  each end to sent the RR73 message - the signal
that the QSO was complete.
And Norbert was clearly "seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before
they linked up to finalize and log the QSO. I had similar problems on
160M when working Norbert - so it is clear that K1JT has some more
work to do,. But, we do have to realize that this is still only a
BETA/experimental release - and YES - it does have some glitches and
bugs yet to be ironed out.
But it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better -
and WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do
think we will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when
working future DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M -
which is happening every night on 1840 today.  I am seeing Wal W8LRL
most every night - and am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam
VY2HH - so old dawgs (like me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and
screaming) to learn new tricks.
This all took place on 1836 and I think on 3569 down on 80m these past
few nights.  Traditional FT8 (according to the ARRL 160m bandplan)
takes place on 1840.  So I am hopeful that the migration to the new
mode continues to take place in an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW
really will not mix well - should FT8 start showing up below 1830 that
will cause problems  - (just my opinion) - but reality I think.
So - I think that is the lot for now.  Not much more to report - but
for sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT
about it - I do not think this is a passing FAD.  "DIGI-WIGI" or its
other name "JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!!
73 JEFF  K1ZM/VY2ZM
Jeff Briggs
DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of 160 Meters
Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX Engineering,
Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon
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Ed Sawyer
2018-03-30 17:02:08 UTC
Permalink
My thoughts on FT8:



- How is it actually a Q from our normal perspective? The comments
Jeff made on the fact that 2 operators (on both sides of the circuit) could
see evidence of each other for 20 minutes before the "computers" finally
made the connection - is proof that the operator is not making the QSO.

- There is a floating robot in the Pacific making FT8 QSOs with
people right now - unattended.

- 3Z9DX has stated that they will leave an FT8 station going 24/7
(which means unattended) on T31.

- Are these what we want to count as QSOs? What about in contests
- FT8 is already infiltrating VHF contests. Should they be considered valid
contest Qs - while you sleep?

- I agree with Jeff and others that for people that that consider
topband a PTA to operate and/or are not CW operators - 160M looks like the
perfect place to drop a robot and go concentrate on something else. But
isn't this a slippery slope? What about 10M/12M since the sunspots are low.
Or 80M because the static crashes in the tropics are terrible - etc. Before
you know it the whole DXpedition is an FT8 robot while the "crew" is
lounging about the pool with the XYL/YLs.

- If we continue to facilitate such nonsense, they we deserve what
we get in my opinion. If we decide that the band counter is so important we
don't care how we have to get it, then its time to look in the mirror folks.

- On the other hand, maybe some people are happier with the
computer doing the heavy lifting of digging out the QSO. Personally, count
me out of that list.



Ed N1UR

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Hans Hjelmström
2018-03-30 17:14:21 UTC
Permalink
FULLY AGREE. Perfect written. THANKS.

BUT it is easy to solve this.
If ARRL make a special award for ,,,,no hearing QSO,,,, and make these
computer to computer connections ONLY valid for this award,,,,anyone that
like to work dxcc this way can do so.Years ago they claimed minimum 339 or 33 on a
confirmation of a QSO,,,, now they accept things much below possibility to hear
in your rx.

Final and PSE Happy Eastern and cu this season 6 meters and next on top band CW,
SSB,RTTY.Now to the dinning table for Eastern ´´´´snaps,,,.

Hans SM6CVX
Post by Ed Sawyer
- How is it actually a Q from our normal perspective? The comments
Jeff made on the fact that 2 operators (on both sides of the circuit) could
see evidence of each other for 20 minutes before the "computers" finally
made the connection - is proof that the operator is not making the QSO.
- There is a floating robot in the Pacific making FT8 QSOs with
people right now - unattended.
- 3Z9DX has stated that they will leave an FT8 station going 24/7
(which means unattended) on T31.
- Are these what we want to count as QSOs? What about in contests
- FT8 is already infiltrating VHF contests. Should they be considered valid
contest Qs - while you sleep?
- I agree with Jeff and others that for people that that consider
topband a PTA to operate and/or are not CW operators - 160M looks like the
perfect place to drop a robot and go concentrate on something else. But
isn't this a slippery slope? What about 10M/12M since the sunspots are low.
Or 80M because the static crashes in the tropics are terrible - etc. Before
you know it the whole DXpedition is an FT8 robot while the "crew" is
lounging about the pool with the XYL/YLs.
- If we continue to facilitate such nonsense, they we deserve what
we get in my opinion. If we decide that the band counter is so important we
don't care how we have to get it, then its time to look in the mirror folks.
- On the other hand, maybe some people are happier with the
computer doing the heavy lifting of digging out the QSO. Personally, count
me out of that list.
Ed N1UR
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Brian Pease
2018-03-30 17:51:56 UTC
Permalink
When 90% of band activity is taking place in ~1% of the available
bandwidth, it gets one's attention, doesn't it.
Personally, I have always considered DXpedition, and especially contest,
CW exchanges to be a bit silly, with nearly everyone getting a 5NN
signal report.  With today's technology I think eventually a computer
will be able  sort out a CW pileup nearly as well as a human, and do it
24/7 while perhaps giving more accurate signal reports.  Maybe someday
there will be unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX entities.  It
is certainly much easier than self-driving cars, which should be sorted
out in a few years.
Post by Ed Sawyer
- How is it actually a Q from our normal perspective? The comments
Jeff made on the fact that 2 operators (on both sides of the circuit) could
see evidence of each other for 20 minutes before the "computers" finally
made the connection - is proof that the operator is not making the QSO.
- There is a floating robot in the Pacific making FT8 QSOs with
people right now - unattended.
- 3Z9DX has stated that they will leave an FT8 station going 24/7
(which means unattended) on T31.
- Are these what we want to count as QSOs? What about in contests
- FT8 is already infiltrating VHF contests. Should they be considered valid
contest Qs - while you sleep?
- I agree with Jeff and others that for people that that consider
topband a PTA to operate and/or are not CW operators - 160M looks like the
perfect place to drop a robot and go concentrate on something else. But
isn't this a slippery slope? What about 10M/12M since the sunspots are low.
Or 80M because the static crashes in the tropics are terrible - etc. Before
you know it the whole DXpedition is an FT8 robot while the "crew" is
lounging about the pool with the XYL/YLs.
- If we continue to facilitate such nonsense, they we deserve what
we get in my opinion. If we decide that the band counter is so important we
don't care how we have to get it, then its time to look in the mirror folks.
- On the other hand, maybe some people are happier with the
computer doing the heavy lifting of digging out the QSO. Personally, count
me out of that list.
Ed N1UR
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Anthony Scandurra
2018-03-30 18:21:53 UTC
Permalink
"Maybe someday there will be unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX
entities."

This was actually proposed at the 2017 IDXC in Visalia by a well-known and
prolific DXpeditioner. I was the only person in the room who stood up with
a dissenting opinion about it. However, I did have several people come up
to me after the presentation was over to tell me they agreed with me.

Reducing the human element ruins the accomplishment, in my opinion. I
think many others agree with that sentiment.

I am all for technological advancement, but, for instance, when SSB
supplanted AM, the human element was not reduced.

Digital mode proponents will say that there is still a human element to the
process (despite what some naysayers have proclaimed), and I agree.
However, the REDUCTION of the human element reduces the FUN part of it.
One can argue that you cannot copy RTTY without electronic means, either.
That does not fully compare with how the JT modes work. The JT modes, more
than any others, reduce the human's role in the QSO. When was the last
time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back without it's human pushing
the green keys?

73, Tony K4QE
Post by Brian Pease
When 90% of band activity is taking place in ~1% of the available
bandwidth, it gets one's attention, doesn't it.
Personally, I have always considered DXpedition, and especially contest,
CW exchanges to be a bit silly, with nearly everyone getting a 5NN signal
report. With today's technology I think eventually a computer will be
able sort out a CW pileup nearly as well as a human, and do it 24/7 while
perhaps giving more accurate signal reports. Maybe someday there will be
unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX entities. It is certainly
much easier than self-driving cars, which should be sorted out in a few
years.
Post by Ed Sawyer
- How is it actually a Q from our normal perspective? The comments
Jeff made on the fact that 2 operators (on both sides of the circuit) could
see evidence of each other for 20 minutes before the "computers" finally
made the connection - is proof that the operator is not making the QSO.
- There is a floating robot in the Pacific making FT8 QSOs with
people right now - unattended.
- 3Z9DX has stated that they will leave an FT8 station going 24/7
(which means unattended) on T31.
- Are these what we want to count as QSOs? What about in contests
- FT8 is already infiltrating VHF contests. Should they be considered valid
contest Qs - while you sleep?
- I agree with Jeff and others that for people that that consider
topband a PTA to operate and/or are not CW operators - 160M looks like the
perfect place to drop a robot and go concentrate on something else. But
isn't this a slippery slope? What about 10M/12M since the sunspots are low.
Or 80M because the static crashes in the tropics are terrible - etc.
Before
you know it the whole DXpedition is an FT8 robot while the "crew" is
lounging about the pool with the XYL/YLs.
- If we continue to facilitate such nonsense, they we deserve what
we get in my opinion. If we decide that the band counter is so important we
don't care how we have to get it, then its time to look in the mirror folks.
- On the other hand, maybe some people are happier with the
computer doing the heavy lifting of digging out the QSO. Personally, count
me out of that list.
Ed N1UR
_________________
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Jamie WW3S
2018-03-30 19:23:10 UTC
Permalink
actually happening as we speak ( or type)......Jupiter Research Foundation
has an unmanned boat type drone searching the pacific for humpback whales,
and the drone has a solar powered ham transceiver on board, passing out FT8
contacts as it motors around the pacific....last I looked made a little over
1100 qsos.....from some pretty rare grid squares !!!!

-----Original Message-----
From: Anthony Scandurra
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 2:21 PM
To: ***@contesting.com
Subject: Re: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is
Upon us!

"Maybe someday there will be unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX
entities."

This was actually proposed at the 2017 IDXC in Visalia by a well-known and
prolific DXpeditioner. I was the only person in the room who stood up with
a dissenting opinion about it. However, I did have several people come up
to me after the presentation was over to tell me they agreed with me.

Reducing the human element ruins the accomplishment, in my opinion. I
think many others agree with that sentiment.

I am all for technological advancement, but, for instance, when SSB
supplanted AM, the human element was not reduced.

Digital mode proponents will say that there is still a human element to the
process (despite what some naysayers have proclaimed), and I agree.
However, the REDUCTION of the human element reduces the FUN part of it.
One can argue that you cannot copy RTTY without electronic means, either.
That does not fully compare with how the JT modes work. The JT modes, more
than any others, reduce the human's role in the QSO. When was the last
time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back without it's human pushing
the green keys?

73, Tony K4QE
Post by Brian Pease
When 90% of band activity is taking place in ~1% of the available
bandwidth, it gets one's attention, doesn't it.
Personally, I have always considered DXpedition, and especially contest,
CW exchanges to be a bit silly, with nearly everyone getting a 5NN signal
report. With today's technology I think eventually a computer will be
able sort out a CW pileup nearly as well as a human, and do it 24/7 while
perhaps giving more accurate signal reports. Maybe someday there will be
unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX entities. It is certainly
much easier than self-driving cars, which should be sorted out in a few
years.
Post by Ed Sawyer
- How is it actually a Q from our normal perspective? The comments
Jeff made on the fact that 2 operators (on both sides of the circuit) could
see evidence of each other for 20 minutes before the "computers" finally
made the connection - is proof that the operator is not making the QSO.
- There is a floating robot in the Pacific making FT8 QSOs with
people right now - unattended.
- 3Z9DX has stated that they will leave an FT8 station going 24/7
(which means unattended) on T31.
- Are these what we want to count as QSOs? What about in contests
- FT8 is already infiltrating VHF contests. Should they be considered valid
contest Qs - while you sleep?
- I agree with Jeff and others that for people that that consider
topband a PTA to operate and/or are not CW operators - 160M looks like the
perfect place to drop a robot and go concentrate on something else. But
isn't this a slippery slope? What about 10M/12M since the sunspots are low.
Or 80M because the static crashes in the tropics are terrible - etc.
Before
you know it the whole DXpedition is an FT8 robot while the "crew" is
lounging about the pool with the XYL/YLs.
- If we continue to facilitate such nonsense, they we deserve what
we get in my opinion. If we decide that the band counter is so important we
don't care how we have to get it, then its time to look in the mirror folks.
- On the other hand, maybe some people are happier with the
computer doing the heavy lifting of digging out the QSO. Personally, count
me out of that list.
Ed N1UR
_________________
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Wes Stewart
2018-03-30 19:54:06 UTC
Permalink
I've "made a contact", if you want to call it that, with that robot twice now. 
That's about the only use I have for FT8; making contacts that shouldn't count
for anything, although, I think ARRL accepts them for the grid chase thingy.

Wes  N7WS

ps. At least it didn't send me a text via JTAlert telling me what to send next,
as happened on a "QSO" with some west African station.
actually happening as we speak ( or type)......Jupiter Research Foundation has
an unmanned boat type drone searching the pacific for humpback whales, and the
drone has a solar powered ham transceiver on board, passing out FT8 contacts
as it motors around the pacific....last I looked made a little over 1100
qsos.....from some pretty rare grid squares !!!!
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http:
Brian Pease
2018-03-31 01:40:49 UTC
Permalink
I predict that it won't be long before there is an FT-8 robot, or
something similar, on the Moon!  What better way to test a new antenna
than a long haul s/n report?
No one has mention Amateur satellites yet that in some cases have
allowed working thousands of miles with a handheld.
Post by Wes Stewart
I've "made a contact", if you want to call it that, with that robot
twice now.  That's about the only use I have for FT8; making contacts
that shouldn't count for anything, although, I think ARRL accepts them
for the grid chase thingy.
Wes  N7WS
ps. At least it didn't send me a text via JTAlert telling me what to
send next, as happened on a "QSO" with some west African station.
Post by Jamie WW3S
actually happening as we speak ( or type)......Jupiter Research
Foundation has an unmanned boat type drone searching the pacific for
humpback whales, and the drone has a solar powered ham transceiver on
board, passing out FT8 contacts as it motors around the
pacific....last I looked made a little over 1100 qsos.....from some
pretty rare grid squares !!!!
_________________
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_________________
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VK3HJ
2018-03-31 03:57:35 UTC
Permalink
Having gone from 100% phone operations to more than 90% CW in the past ten
years, I have my opinions on mode use, but I'll attempt to keep them
relevant.

I have played a bit with RTTY and PSK, and have made a few Hellschreiber and
Olivia contacts. Digital modes are technically interesting, but not
attractive to me, at this time. I'll never say never! The above modes can be
used to converse, compared with the very technically clever JT modes which
are so pared-down, that only the very bare essentials are passed. That
appeals to some, even many amateur operators, for various reasons already
discussed. I will not criticise those who enjoy operating that way.

After an unproductive session on Top Band last night, I went to 40 m for an
"easy" DX CW QSO before retiring to bed. I don't feel the need to field
pileups of "short QSO" every time I transmit, and really do enjoy a few or
several minutes of exchanges with the other operator. Nor do I feel the need
to log "x" number of QSO every time I light my station.

On most, if not all of our DX bands, there is adequate, if not plenty of
spectrum to separate the various modes and type of digital modes into their
sub-bands to reduce or hopefully eliminate conflict. One good thing about
the new very narrow-band digital modes is that one can fit a bunch of
activity into a few kilohertz of spectrum.

My point is, how about we keep mode sub-bands harmonised internationally, so
each can co-exist without upsetting the neighbours? We don't need an IARU
Conference every time a new mode is invented. There are plenty of interest
groups that can coordinate internationally, given the almost universal
common medium of the Internet.

This year, I resolve to become proficient in the use of my Vibroplex Bug!

73,

Luke VK3HJ

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Joe Subich, W4TV
2018-03-31 00:15:41 UTC
Permalink
When was the last time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back
without it's human pushing the green keys?
Mechanical RTTY machines have had answerback (WRU) capability for more
than 50 years:
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletype_Model_33>

73,

... Joe, W4TV
"Maybe someday there will be unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX
entities."
This was actually proposed at the 2017 IDXC in Visalia by a well-known and
prolific DXpeditioner. I was the only person in the room who stood up with
a dissenting opinion about it. However, I did have several people come up
to me after the presentation was over to tell me they agreed with me.
Reducing the human element ruins the accomplishment, in my opinion. I
think many others agree with that sentiment.
I am all for technological advancement, but, for instance, when SSB
supplanted AM, the human element was not reduced.
Digital mode proponents will say that there is still a human element to the
process (despite what some naysayers have proclaimed), and I agree.
However, the REDUCTION of the human element reduces the FUN part of it.
One can argue that you cannot copy RTTY without electronic means, either.
That does not fully compare with how the JT modes work. The JT modes, more
than any others, reduce the human's role in the QSO. When was the last
time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back without it's human pushing
the green keys?
73, Tony K4QE
Post by Brian Pease
When 90% of band activity is taking place in ~1% of the available
bandwidth, it gets one's attention, doesn't it.
Personally, I have always considered DXpedition, and especially contest,
CW exchanges to be a bit silly, with nearly everyone getting a 5NN signal
report. With today's technology I think eventually a computer will be
able sort out a CW pileup nearly as well as a human, and do it 24/7 while
perhaps giving more accurate signal reports. Maybe someday there will be
unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX entities. It is certainly
much easier than self-driving cars, which should be sorted out in a few
years.
Post by Ed Sawyer
- How is it actually a Q from our normal perspective? The comments
Jeff made on the fact that 2 operators (on both sides of the circuit) could
see evidence of each other for 20 minutes before the "computers" finally
made the connection - is proof that the operator is not making the QSO.
- There is a floating robot in the Pacific making FT8 QSOs with
people right now - unattended.
- 3Z9DX has stated that they will leave an FT8 station going 24/7
(which means unattended) on T31.
- Are these what we want to count as QSOs? What about in contests
- FT8 is already infiltrating VHF contests. Should they be considered valid
contest Qs - while you sleep?
- I agree with Jeff and others that for people that that consider
topband a PTA to operate and/or are not CW operators - 160M looks like the
perfect place to drop a robot and go concentrate on something else. But
isn't this a slippery slope? What about 10M/12M since the sunspots are low.
Or 80M because the static crashes in the tropics are terrible - etc.
Before
you know it the whole DXpedition is an FT8 robot while the "crew" is
lounging about the pool with the XYL/YLs.
- If we continue to facilitate such nonsense, they we deserve what
we get in my opinion. If we decide that the band counter is so important we
don't care how we have to get it, then its time to look in the mirror folks.
- On the other hand, maybe some people are happier with the
computer doing the heavy lifting of digging out the QSO. Personally, count
me out of that list.
Ed N1UR
_________________
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Matt NQ6N
2018-03-31 01:42:02 UTC
Permalink
This is a very interesting discussion. I'd noticed some bugs in DXpedition
mode with FT8 but am looking forward to those being resolved. I'd suggest
an alternative FT8 frequency for any and all participants to test out
DXPedition mode while the bugs get worked out.

I have an inverted L on 160m and after about 300W on TX I become severely
limited by my lack of RX antennas and become an alligator. For what it's
worth, the existence of FT8 does not reduce my interest in improving my RX
antennas whatsoever. I've worked one or two new countries on 160 on FT8
that I hadn't worked yet on CW. I know that from 9 land even if I maximize
the investment of money and engineering at my QTH toward RX antennas, I'll
still be able to complete more QSOs on FT8 than on CW due to the processing
gain of FT8.

As someone who has (for various reasons) not had the chance (yet) to put up
competitive antennas, the DX bug has bitten me most noticeably with FT8.
When the software prints out a line that shows up purple meaning it's a new
country I get a big rush of adrenaline. It makes doing ham radio from the
black hole a lot more fun. And yes, it's quite a thrill to CQ on 160m FT8
and see RX reports light up across Europe on pskreporter. I'm still an
alligator, but I now have a much better sense of the DX QSOs I'm missing
out on.

So overall I think that FT8 is a great thing for DXing. Yes, it does alter
the fairness of the honor roll competition because of the processing gain,
but if we wanted it to be completely fair we'd incorporate all gain (from
antennas and processing) and use some distance-based metric, handicapping
stations closer to the DX such that they'd be forced to use lower power,
etc. DXing was absolutely not "fair" before FT8, so I don't think that we
have much to worry about with the advent of FT8 other than a flood of new
DXers joining the fun in the pileups.

73,
Matt NQ6N/9
When was the last time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back
without it's human pushing the green keys?
Mechanical RTTY machines have had answerback (WRU) capability for more
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletype_Model_33>
73,
... Joe, W4TV
"Maybe someday there will be unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX
entities."
This was actually proposed at the 2017 IDXC in Visalia by a well-known and
prolific DXpeditioner. I was the only person in the room who stood up with
a dissenting opinion about it. However, I did have several people come up
to me after the presentation was over to tell me they agreed with me.
Reducing the human element ruins the accomplishment, in my opinion. I
think many others agree with that sentiment.
I am all for technological advancement, but, for instance, when SSB
supplanted AM, the human element was not reduced.
Digital mode proponents will say that there is still a human element to the
process (despite what some naysayers have proclaimed), and I agree.
However, the REDUCTION of the human element reduces the FUN part of it.
One can argue that you cannot copy RTTY without electronic means, either.
That does not fully compare with how the JT modes work. The JT modes, more
than any others, reduce the human's role in the QSO. When was the last
time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back without it's human pushing
the green keys?
73, Tony K4QE
When 90% of band activity is taking place in ~1% of the available
Post by Brian Pease
bandwidth, it gets one's attention, doesn't it.
Personally, I have always considered DXpedition, and especially contest,
CW exchanges to be a bit silly, with nearly everyone getting a 5NN signal
report. With today's technology I think eventually a computer will be
able sort out a CW pileup nearly as well as a human, and do it 24/7 while
perhaps giving more accurate signal reports. Maybe someday there will be
unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX entities. It is certainly
much easier than self-driving cars, which should be sorted out in a few
years.
Post by Ed Sawyer
- How is it actually a Q from our normal perspective? The comments
Jeff made on the fact that 2 operators (on both sides of the circuit) could
see evidence of each other for 20 minutes before the "computers" finally
made the connection - is proof that the operator is not making the QSO.
- There is a floating robot in the Pacific making FT8 QSOs with
people right now - unattended.
- 3Z9DX has stated that they will leave an FT8 station going 24/7
(which means unattended) on T31.
- Are these what we want to count as QSOs? What about in contests
- FT8 is already infiltrating VHF contests. Should they be considered valid
contest Qs - while you sleep?
- I agree with Jeff and others that for people that that consider
topband a PTA to operate and/or are not CW operators - 160M looks like the
perfect place to drop a robot and go concentrate on something else. But
isn't this a slippery slope? What about 10M/12M since the sunspots are low.
Or 80M because the static crashes in the tropics are terrible - etc.
Before
you know it the whole DXpedition is an FT8 robot while the "crew" is
lounging about the pool with the XYL/YLs.
- If we continue to facilitate such nonsense, they we deserve what
we get in my opinion. If we decide that the band counter is so
important
we
don't care how we have to get it, then its time to look in the mirror folks.
- On the other hand, maybe some people are happier with the
computer doing the heavy lifting of digging out the QSO. Personally, count
me out of that list.
Ed N1UR
_________________
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Grant Saviers
2018-03-31 16:09:49 UTC
Permalink
Yep, automatic TTY networks go back a lot more than 50 years. Certainly
with the Model 19 in the 1940s and probably before that.

The ASR-33 and its "stunt box" are a true marvel of low cost mechanical
engineering. Send WRU, asking "who are you?" And the automatic answer
back - "HERE IS" a character stream (older TTYs in baudot, USASCII for
ASR33) sent in response from a broken off tabs on a drum, up to 20
characters (more than FT8 - hi). Plus the A is ASR means a remote TTY
(later a computer) on the TTY network could command the paper tape in
the reader to be sent without any humans around. Or an electrical
switch could be triggered - like to turn on your amp.

The ASR33 wasn't the first TTY to offer such capability, the Model 28
and many before it enabled very large TTY networks to operate unattended
at the remotes. I worked on the computer end of one as a summer job in
the 1960's. A lot of those "telephone" lines leased for TTY use were DC
circuits end to end and could have surprisingly high voltages present to
overcome the line resistance.

https://www.smecc.org/teleprinters/28stuntbox001.pdf

Another example besides punched cards where mechanical widgets performed
pretty complex tasks we have forgotten or now think were invented with
computers.

A fun place to see such stuff in Seattle
http://www.museumofcommunications.org/ Plus Paul Allen's Living
Computer Museum http://www.livingcomputers.org/ (older computers
restored and working)

And the best computer museum is in MountainView CA The Computer
History Museum computerhistory.org Main exhibit "Revolution, the
First 2000 Years of Computing"

Grant KZ1W
Post by Joe Subich, W4TV
When was the last time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back
without it's human pushing the green keys?
Mechanical RTTY machines have had answerback (WRU) capability for more
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletype_Model_33>
73,
... Joe, W4TV
"Maybe someday there will be unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX
entities."
This was actually proposed at the 2017 IDXC in Visalia by a
well-known and
prolific DXpeditioner. I was the only person in the room who stood up with
a dissenting opinion about it. However, I did have several people come up
to me after the presentation was over to tell me they agreed with me.
Reducing the human element ruins the accomplishment, in my opinion. I
think many others agree with that sentiment.
I am all for technological advancement, but, for instance, when SSB
supplanted AM, the human element was not reduced.
Digital mode proponents will say that there is still a human element to the
process (despite what some naysayers have proclaimed), and I agree.
However, the REDUCTION of the human element reduces the FUN part of it.
One can argue that you cannot copy RTTY without electronic means, either.
That does not fully compare with how the JT modes work. The JT modes, more
than any others, reduce the human's role in the QSO. When was the last
time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back without it's human pushing
the green keys?
73, Tony K4QE
Post by Brian Pease
When 90% of band activity is taking place in ~1% of the available
bandwidth, it gets one's attention, doesn't it.
Personally, I have always considered DXpedition, and especially contest,
CW exchanges to be a bit silly, with nearly everyone getting a 5NN signal
report. With today's technology I think eventually a computer will be
able sort out a CW pileup nearly as well as a human, and do it 24/7 while
perhaps giving more accurate signal reports. Maybe someday there will be
unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX entities. It is certainly
much easier than self-driving cars, which should be sorted out in a few
years.
Post by Ed Sawyer
- How is it actually a Q from our normal perspective? The comments
Jeff made on the fact that 2 operators (on both sides of the circuit) could
see evidence of each other for 20 minutes before the "computers" finally
made the connection - is proof that the operator is not making the QSO.
- There is a floating robot in the Pacific making FT8 QSOs with
people right now - unattended.
- 3Z9DX has stated that they will leave an FT8 station going 24/7
(which means unattended) on T31.
- Are these what we want to count as QSOs? What about in contests
- FT8 is already infiltrating VHF contests. Should they be considered valid
contest Qs - while you sleep?
- I agree with Jeff and others that for people that that consider
topband a PTA to operate and/or are not CW operators - 160M looks like the
perfect place to drop a robot and go concentrate on something else. But
isn't this a slippery slope? What about 10M/12M since the sunspots
are
low.
Or 80M because the static crashes in the tropics are terrible - etc.
Before
you know it the whole DXpedition is an FT8 robot while the "crew" is
lounging about the pool with the XYL/YLs.
- If we continue to facilitate such nonsense, they we deserve what
we get in my opinion. If we decide that the band counter is so
important
we
don't care how we have to get it, then its time to look in the mirror folks.
- On the other hand, maybe some people are happier with the
computer doing the heavy lifting of digging out the QSO. Personally,
count
me out of that list.
Ed N1UR
_________________
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_________________
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Anthony Scandurra
2018-03-31 17:04:45 UTC
Permalink
I stand corrected. Thank you, Joe and Grant, for the RTTY history lesson.

I hope my point about the reduction of the human element was not lost
despite its faulty premise with regard to RTTY.

73, Tony K4QE
Post by Grant Saviers
Yep, automatic TTY networks go back a lot more than 50 years. Certainly
with the Model 19 in the 1940s and probably before that.
The ASR-33 and its "stunt box" are a true marvel of low cost mechanical
engineering. Send WRU, asking "who are you?" And the automatic answer
back - "HERE IS" a character stream (older TTYs in baudot, USASCII for
ASR33) sent in response from a broken off tabs on a drum, up to 20
characters (more than FT8 - hi). Plus the A is ASR means a remote TTY
(later a computer) on the TTY network could command the paper tape in the
reader to be sent without any humans around. Or an electrical switch could
be triggered - like to turn on your amp.
The ASR33 wasn't the first TTY to offer such capability, the Model 28 and
many before it enabled very large TTY networks to operate unattended at the
remotes. I worked on the computer end of one as a summer job in the
1960's. A lot of those "telephone" lines leased for TTY use were DC
circuits end to end and could have surprisingly high voltages present to
overcome the line resistance.
https://www.smecc.org/teleprinters/28stuntbox001.pdf
Another example besides punched cards where mechanical widgets performed
pretty complex tasks we have forgotten or now think were invented with
computers.
A fun place to see such stuff in Seattle http://www.museumofcommunicati
ons.org/ Plus Paul Allen's Living Computer Museum
http://www.livingcomputers.org/ (older computers restored and working)
And the best computer museum is in MountainView CA The Computer History
Museum computerhistory.org Main exhibit "Revolution, the First 2000
Years of Computing"
Grant KZ1W
When was the last time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back
without it's human pushing the green keys?
Mechanical RTTY machines have had answerback (WRU) capability for more
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletype_Model_33>
73,
... Joe, W4TV
"Maybe someday there will be unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX
entities."
This was actually proposed at the 2017 IDXC in Visalia by a well-known and
prolific DXpeditioner. I was the only person in the room who stood up with
a dissenting opinion about it. However, I did have several people come up
to me after the presentation was over to tell me they agreed with me.
Reducing the human element ruins the accomplishment, in my opinion. I
think many others agree with that sentiment.
I am all for technological advancement, but, for instance, when SSB
supplanted AM, the human element was not reduced.
Digital mode proponents will say that there is still a human element to the
process (despite what some naysayers have proclaimed), and I agree.
However, the REDUCTION of the human element reduces the FUN part of it.
One can argue that you cannot copy RTTY without electronic means, either.
That does not fully compare with how the JT modes work. The JT modes, more
than any others, reduce the human's role in the QSO. When was the last
time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back without it's human pushing
the green keys?
73, Tony K4QE
When 90% of band activity is taking place in ~1% of the available
Post by Brian Pease
bandwidth, it gets one's attention, doesn't it.
Personally, I have always considered DXpedition, and especially contest,
CW exchanges to be a bit silly, with nearly everyone getting a 5NN signal
report. With today's technology I think eventually a computer will be
able sort out a CW pileup nearly as well as a human, and do it 24/7 while
perhaps giving more accurate signal reports. Maybe someday there will be
unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX entities. It is certainly
much easier than self-driving cars, which should be sorted out in a few
years.
Post by Ed Sawyer
- How is it actually a Q from our normal perspective? The comments
Jeff made on the fact that 2 operators (on both sides of the circuit) could
see evidence of each other for 20 minutes before the "computers" finally
made the connection - is proof that the operator is not making the QSO.
- There is a floating robot in the Pacific making FT8 QSOs with
people right now - unattended.
- 3Z9DX has stated that they will leave an FT8 station going 24/7
(which means unattended) on T31.
- Are these what we want to count as QSOs? What about in contests
- FT8 is already infiltrating VHF contests. Should they be considered valid
contest Qs - while you sleep?
- I agree with Jeff and others that for people that that consider
topband a PTA to operate and/or are not CW operators - 160M looks like the
perfect place to drop a robot and go concentrate on something else.
But
isn't this a slippery slope? What about 10M/12M since the sunspots are low.
Or 80M because the static crashes in the tropics are terrible - etc.
Before
you know it the whole DXpedition is an FT8 robot while the "crew" is
lounging about the pool with the XYL/YLs.
- If we continue to facilitate such nonsense, they we deserve what
we get in my opinion. If we decide that the band counter is so
important
we
don't care how we have to get it, then its time to look in the mirror folks.
- On the other hand, maybe some people are happier with the
computer doing the heavy lifting of digging out the QSO. Personally,
count
me out of that list.
Ed N1UR
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Richard (Rick) Karlquist
2018-03-31 17:40:30 UTC
Permalink
This is an interesting discussion related to FT8.

In 1973 (a whole 45 years ago!) when I worked for Boeing Electronic
Products in Seattle, they had a commericial (not ham radio) meteor
scatter station. An ASR-33 at the master station in Seattle would send
what amounted to "CQ" to a system of slave receivers connected to rain
gauge sensors (they do get a bit of rain in Seattle :-) around the
Pacific Northwest. If a particular rain gauge sensor picked up pings
from meteor trials, it would immediately transmit its data back,
presumably while the trial was still hot. If the trail went cold, the
slave would get another chance the next time a meteor came. So this
ASR-33 would just print data as it came in at random times. There may
have been a DEC PDP-11 involved (there were no microprocessors at the
time unless you count pocket calculators, and the HP35 wasn't
programmable).

I don't know much FT8, but this legacy system sounds a lot like
FT8. Automatic QSO'ing, like the floating FT8 station out of
Hawaii. Waiting for the teletype to fire up every few minutes
while it earned "worked all rain gauges" was more like watching paint
dry than having "fun". They did need to have an "operator" at the
master station to change the paper in the teletype once in a while.

Rick N6RK
Post by Grant Saviers
Yep, automatic TTY networks go back a lot more than 50 years. Certainly
with the Model 19 in the 1940s and probably before that.
The ASR-33 and its "stunt box" are a true marvel of low cost mechanical
engineering.  Send WRU, asking "who are you?"  And the automatic answer
back - "HERE IS" a character stream (older TTYs in baudot, USASCII for
ASR33) sent in response from a broken off tabs on a drum, up to 20
characters (more than FT8 - hi).  Plus the A is ASR means a remote TTY
(later a computer) on the TTY network  could command the paper tape in
the reader to be sent without any humans around.  Or an electrical
switch could be triggered - like to turn on your amp.
The ASR33 wasn't the first TTY to offer such capability, the Model 28
and many before it enabled very large TTY networks to operate unattended
at the remotes.  I worked on the computer end of one as a summer job in
the 1960's.  A lot of those "telephone" lines leased for TTY use were DC
circuits end to end and could have surprisingly high voltages present to
overcome the line resistance.
https://www.smecc.org/teleprinters/28stuntbox001.pdf
Another example besides punched cards where mechanical widgets performed
pretty complex tasks we have forgotten or now think were invented with
computers.
A fun place to see such stuff in Seattle
http://www.museumofcommunications.org/    Plus Paul Allen's Living
Computer Museum http://www.livingcomputers.org/  (older computers
restored and working)
And the best computer museum is in MountainView CA   The Computer
History Museum   computerhistory.org  Main exhibit "Revolution, the
First 2000 Years of Computing"
Grant KZ1W
Post by Joe Subich, W4TV
When was the last time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back
without it's human pushing the green keys?
Mechanical RTTY machines have had answerback (WRU) capability for more
     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletype_Model_33>
73,
   ... Joe, W4TV
"Maybe someday there will be unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX
entities."
This was actually proposed at the 2017 IDXC in Visalia by a
well-known and
prolific DXpeditioner.  I was the only person in the room who stood
up with
a dissenting opinion about it.  However, I did have several people
come up
to me after the presentation was over to tell me they agreed with me.
Reducing the human element ruins the accomplishment, in my opinion.  I
think many others agree with that sentiment.
I am all for technological advancement, but, for instance, when SSB
supplanted AM, the human element was not reduced.
Digital mode proponents will say that there is still a human element to the
process (despite what some naysayers have proclaimed), and I agree.
However, the REDUCTION of the human element reduces the FUN part of it.
One can argue that you cannot copy RTTY without electronic means, either.
That does not fully compare with how the JT modes work. The JT modes, more
than any others, reduce the human's role in the QSO.  When was the last
time a mechanical RTTY machine responded back without it's human pushing
the green keys?
73, Tony K4QE
Post by Brian Pease
When 90% of band activity is taking place in ~1% of the available
bandwidth, it gets one's attention, doesn't it.
Personally, I have always considered DXpedition, and especially contest,
CW exchanges to be a bit silly, with nearly everyone getting a 5NN signal
report.  With today's technology I think eventually a computer will be
able  sort out a CW pileup nearly as well as a human, and do it 24/7
while
perhaps giving more accurate signal reports.  Maybe someday there
will be
unmanned solar-powered stations on remote DX entities.  It is certainly
much easier than self-driving cars, which should be sorted out in a few
years.
-          How is it actually a Q from our normal perspective?  The
comments
Jeff made on the fact that 2 operators (on both sides of the circuit) could
see evidence of each other for 20 minutes before the "computers" finally
made the connection - is proof that the operator is not making the QSO.
-          There is a floating robot in the Pacific making FT8 QSOs
with
people right now - unattended.
-          3Z9DX has stated that they will leave an FT8 station
going 24/7
(which means unattended) on T31.
-          Are these what we want to count as QSOs?  What about in
contests
- FT8 is already infiltrating VHF contests.  Should they be considered
valid
contest Qs - while you sleep?
-          I agree with Jeff and others that for people that that
consider
topband a PTA to operate and/or are not CW operators - 160M looks like the
perfect place to drop a robot and go concentrate on something
else.  But
isn't this a slippery slope?  What about 10M/12M since the sunspots
are
low.
Or 80M because the static crashes in the tropics are terrible - etc.
Before
you know it the whole DXpedition is an FT8 robot while the "crew" is
lounging about the pool with the XYL/YLs.
-          If we continue to facilitate such nonsense, they we deserve
what
we get in my opinion.  If we decide that the band counter is so
important
we
don't care how we have to get it, then its time to look in the mirror folks.
-          On the other hand, maybe some people are happier with the
computer doing the heavy lifting of digging out the QSO. Personally,
count
me out of that list.
Ed  N1UR
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Wes Stewart
2018-03-31 19:43:07 UTC
Permalink
Sounds like SNOTEL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNOTEL

In 1976, the ARRL SW Division convention was held here in Tucson. The local club
sponsor hadn't done anything toward serious VHF programs, so Steve, then W7RUC,
now W7CI, and yours truly, arranged a VHF breakfast meeting at the convention
hotel.  At personal expense we sent letters to all of the Tropo/MS/EME guys we
could think of inviting them to the breakfast.  For speakers, we got Mike,
K6MYC, to talk about antenna design and another guy, whose, to my regret, name
escapes me, to speak about MS propagation.  His talk was about his company's
involvement in a similar (if not the same) program. He had tons of data on
meteor bursts, most of them shorter that we used on CW and SSB at the time.

Wes  N7WS

ps. Reportedly, our meeting was the hit of the convention.
Post by Richard (Rick) Karlquist
This is an interesting discussion related to FT8.
In 1973 (a whole 45 years ago!) when I worked for Boeing Electronic Products
in Seattle, they had a commericial (not ham radio) meteor
scatter station.  An ASR-33 at the master station in Seattle would send what
amounted to "CQ" to a system of slave receivers connected to rain gauge
sensors (they do get a bit of rain in Seattle :-) around the Pacific
Northwest.  If a particular rain gauge sensor picked up pings from meteor
trials, it would immediately transmit its data back,
presumably while the trial was still hot.  If the trail went cold, the slave
would get another chance the next time a meteor came. So this ASR-33 would
just print data as it came in at random times.  There may have been a DEC
PDP-11 involved (there were no microprocessors at the time unless you count
pocket calculators, and the HP35 wasn't
programmable).
I don't know much FT8, but this legacy system sounds a lot like
FT8.  Automatic QSO'ing, like the floating FT8 station out of
Hawaii.  Waiting for the teletype to fire up every few minutes
while it earned "worked all rain gauges" was more like watching paint dry than
having "fun".  They did need to have an "operator" at the master station to
change the paper in the teletype once in a while.
Rick N6RK
_________________
Topband
Ken Claerbout
2018-03-31 18:24:22 UTC
Permalink
Seems like this is a matter of personal preference, where our
individual interest lies, and what motivates us to operate.

Some of you may know my attempts to activate XW on the lowbands these
past few years. My success on Topband to the US, most difficult path,
has been limited at best. It seems this would be an opportunity ripe
for use of FT8. Personally, I have ZERO interest in doing so. I’d
rather stay home or, drink beer with the guys at night than do that.
Just my personal preference. Nothing wrong with those who would do it
different. Same with RHR. I’ve seen it used to overcome propagation
challenges that someone has from their home QTH. I don’t think much
of it, I don’t understand the satisfaction, but I recognize it’s
allowed for DXCC and people still feel good about working someone that
way. Your prerogative.

I got involved in lowbands around the age of 17 because I loved the
challenge. That and competing with my peers, through continuous home
station improvements has kept me engaged in this for almost 40 years.

This is a game changer, and you can be sure more, with greater impact,
are on the way. If it keeps people active in our beloved hobby,
that’s a good thing! For those who think guys like me are dinosaurs,
I would kindly suggest you don’t understand what motives us.

73
Ken K4ZW
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Peter Sundberg
2018-04-01 07:16:07 UTC
Permalink
For those who have not yet seen how the future of 160m band
harvesting - not DX'ing - will be done, check this video out

<http://ae5x.blogspot.se/2018/01/video-fully-automated-ft8-qsos.html>http://ae5x.blogspot.se/2018/01/video-fully-automated-ft8-qsos.html


Apparently SV5DKL made 13.000 QSO's on the bands in a few months,
totally without operator intervention. I bet many hams were happy to
put SV5 as a new DXCC in their log, Isn't it wonderful that his
computer was so helpful with that while the operator was busy with
other things.

As for the legal aspects of unattended operation of a ham radio
station - who will be able to tell if the operator is there or not as
it is fully automatic anyway..

In the near future - if we embrace this way of operating - for
Wednesday activity nights on 160m we just let our computer do the
work and check in the morning how many contacts that were made and
how many that are already credited via LotW. Simple as that.

In contrast to this digital automation it was very interesting to
read Jeff K1ZM's report from the Spratly expedition on how the
experienced and highly skilled crew put in a BIG effort to make real
radio contacts. Way to go! And I am glad that they did not leave an
FT8 robot station behind, neatly tucked away in a corner of the
conference room.. :-)

I do not want to take part in this modern Internet driven computer
game. If people would disconnect their FT8 computers from the report
services on the net there would be a lot less amazing contacts in the
noise as the "a priori" advantage is lost. Then it would be more
apparent what the radio channel is actually providing for them.

I think that the statement from Ken K4ZW in his recent posting is
very appropriate:

"For those who think guys like me are dinosaurs, I would kindly
suggest you don't understand what motives us. 73 Ken K4ZW"

We can't change/stop this new lazy way of automatic band harvesting.
Many will even make huge amounts of money on the new way of operating.

But we can still do it the old fashion way, as it pleases us to make
radio contacts. Therefore I will continue to populate the 160m band
with my CW signal until there are no more stations to work.


73
Peter SM2CEW


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Hans Hjelmström
2018-04-01 07:35:58 UTC
Permalink
Good morning all

As it probably can not be stopped. The ONLY way seems that ARRL acts, and
NOT accept these modes ( unhearing modes) for todays dxcc. If they make a
separate dxcc for these modes, anyone that prefer these kind of QSO,,,, can
use these for that NEW dxcc. And it will not impact ,,,todays dxcc.

And all others can continue with the challenge and work new ones , by the help
of improved antennas , operating skills aso aso

BUT as I understand ( wrong or not ) they ( arrl ) are not interested to act.

Have a fine Eastern .

Hans SM6CVX
For those who have not yet seen how the future of 160m band harvesting - not DX'ing - will be done, check this video out
<http://ae5x.blogspot.se/2018/01/video-fully-automated-ft8-qsos.html>http://ae5x.blogspot.se/2018/01/video-fully-automated-ft8-qsos.html
Apparently SV5DKL made 13.000 QSO's on the bands in a few months, totally without operator intervention. I bet many hams were happy to put SV5 as a new DXCC in their log, Isn't it wonderful that his computer was so helpful with that while the operator was busy with other things.
As for the legal aspects of unattended operation of a ham radio station - who will be able to tell if the operator is there or not as it is fully automatic anyway..
In the near future - if we embrace this way of operating - for Wednesday activity nights on 160m we just let our computer do the work and check in the morning how many contacts that were made and how many that are already credited via LotW. Simple as that.
In contrast to this digital automation it was very interesting to read Jeff K1ZM's report from the Spratly expedition on how the experienced and highly skilled crew put in a BIG effort to make real radio contacts. Way to go! And I am glad that they did not leave an FT8 robot station behind, neatly tucked away in a corner of the conference room.. :-)
I do not want to take part in this modern Internet driven computer game. If people would disconnect their FT8 computers from the report services on the net there would be a lot less amazing contacts in the noise as the "a priori" advantage is lost. Then it would be more apparent what the radio channel is actually providing for them.
"For those who think guys like me are dinosaurs, I would kindly suggest you don't understand what motives us. 73 Ken K4ZW"
We can't change/stop this new lazy way of automatic band harvesting. Many will even make huge amounts of money on the new way of operating.
But we can still do it the old fashion way, as it pleases us to make radio contacts. Therefore I will continue to populate the 160m band with my CW signal until there are no more stations to work.
73
Peter SM2CEW
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Patrick Parmentier
2018-04-01 08:12:00 UTC
Permalink
Happy Easter all, and what abt WAZ 160m ? 73 Pat on7pq .

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: Topband [mailto:topband-***@contesting.com] Namens Hans Hjelmström
Verzonden: zondag 1 april 2018 09:36
Aan: Peter Sundberg
CC: ***@aol.com; ***@contesting.com
Onderwerp: Re: Topband: Straws in the Wind ....A 160m Dx'ing Sea Change is
Upon us!

Good morning all

As it probably can not be stopped. The ONLY way seems that ARRL acts, and
NOT accept these modes ( unhearing modes) for todays dxcc. If they make a
separate dxcc for these modes, anyone that prefer these kind of QSO,,,, can
use these for that NEW dxcc. And it will not impact ,,,todays dxcc.

And all others can continue with the challenge and work new ones , by the
help
of improved antennas , operating skills aso aso

BUT as I understand ( wrong or not ) they ( arrl ) are not interested to
act.

Have a fine Eastern .

Hans SM6CVX
For those who have not yet seen how the future of 160m band harvesting
- not DX'ing - will be done, check this video out
<http://ae5x.blogspot.se/2018/01/video-fully-automated-ft8-qsos.html>h
ttp://ae5x.blogspot.se/2018/01/video-fully-automated-ft8-qsos.html
Apparently SV5DKL made 13.000 QSO's on the bands in a few months, totally
without operator intervention. I bet many hams were happy to put SV5 as a
new DXCC in their log, Isn't it wonderful that his computer was so helpful
with that while the operator was busy with other things.
As for the legal aspects of unattended operation of a ham radio station -
who will be able to tell if the operator is there or not as it is fully
automatic anyway..
In the near future - if we embrace this way of operating - for Wednesday
activity nights on 160m we just let our computer do the work and check in
the morning how many contacts that were made and how many that are already
credited via LotW. Simple as that.
In contrast to this digital automation it was very interesting to read
Jeff K1ZM's report from the Spratly expedition on how the experienced
and highly skilled crew put in a BIG effort to make real radio
contacts. Way to go! And I am glad that they did not leave an FT8
robot station behind, neatly tucked away in a corner of the conference
room.. :-)
I do not want to take part in this modern Internet driven computer game.
If people would disconnect their FT8 computers from the report services on
the net there would be a lot less amazing contacts in the noise as the "a
priori" advantage is lost. Then it would be more apparent what the radio
channel is actually providing for them.
"For those who think guys like me are dinosaurs, I would kindly suggest
you don't understand what motives us. 73 Ken K4ZW"
We can't change/stop this new lazy way of automatic band harvesting. Many
will even make huge amounts of money on the new way of operating.
But we can still do it the old fashion way, as it pleases us to make radio
contacts. Therefore I will continue to populate the 160m band with my CW
signal until there are no more stations to work.
73
Peter SM2CEW
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Roger D Johnson
2018-03-30 12:46:04 UTC
Permalink
I'm an Old Timer. I'll be 76 next month and have 299 confirmed on 160m.
My goal is to join the magic 300 club. If that happens, and the digital
modes become the modes of choice, I think I'll retire and devote more time
to my other hobbies. The "my computer talked to your computer" QSOs have
absolutely no appeal for me.

73, Roger
Hello Gang
I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention lately, but I may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking place right before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its possible implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on.
I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI.  Norbert DJ7JC has been a real trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success doing so - so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert.  Norbert has managed to make quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very much appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!
So what I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion on Norbert - it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!.
On or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in his grayline period - and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M and me here at VY2ZM.  Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have been another and a few more as well.  I also heard some EU stations in there calling among the NA stations.
About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but QRNN on his side prevented a legitimate qso.  I heard him fine but I know he did not copy my callsign correctly - and later he even said so over ON4KST noting "I heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU qso's on Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up."
The next night Norbert came on ON4KST  chat and announced that he was going to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials following its release by K1JT.  I am told that the dx'pedition version of FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1 Dx'pedition.
1) A shortened qso sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO elements
2) The promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX (in this example the FOX was 7Q7EI)
3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400 qso's per hour may be possible one day - which would improve the overall qso totals of any dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY.
So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m and I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM.
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to operate this new flavor of FT8.  It is a bit tricky and I invite anyone reading this who may be interested to take a look - because Dx'pedition mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must configure things exactly right - or it just does not function as one might expect traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's.
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not pay close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in the game to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side.
So what is going on here exactly?  And why did I choose to make this post to Topband?
The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I observed this past summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season.  I happen to like to work 6M E during the summer and was all set around the end of June for what I hoped would be a great E season on 6M CW into Europe.  I worked a couple of stations on CW in late June but during the first or second week of July, K1JT released the production version of FT8 and almost immediately everyone realized its potential (particularly those in the Mid and Far Western USA) - where it was immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA and others on the Left Coast.
Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a single CW DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E season after that - everyone had qsy'ed to 50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so well on 6M - even on E skip paths.  And since I did not have FT8 capability - I was TOTALLY SHUT OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER!
So how does this apply to Topband?  Pls read on.....
Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert was back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z - until around 0320z - again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode.  By now, most of us had downloaded the dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort of figured out how to do the parameter settings correctly - so quite a few QSO's ensued.
I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were quite a few others.
Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT still has some clean up work to do to refine the dx'pedition mode software - because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is not yet possible - but I think the throughput rate will one day improve materially.  (:Last night the throughput was SO SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he stop using dx'pedition mode in favor of the more reliable current release of FT8 that is on the air today.)
Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of this transpire.  My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again!  This is 6M E season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to Ft8 was now happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it suggests a real possibility of it becoming the choice of major dxpeditions going forward - meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m far more regularly going forward and  CW mode utilized much less perhaps (maybe!).  My crystal ball is no better than yours - but if FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and becomes more EFFICIENT one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will become very popular and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by the rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband!
You can take that to the BANK!
At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long - lamented some of the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT.  Basically, while he was more than courteous, it was clear that he felt like "HEY!  I am the FOX here.....I get to choose to operate whatever mode I think will work - and those sitting in their comfortable chairs back at home (and not sitting in the heat here on the shores of Lake Malawi - really do not get to decide this.!!  Again, I am the FOX here.......)  Basically, Norbert was right on here - IMHO....
1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing reliably as they should - at least not yet all the time - for example:  K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI calling him on his screen for at least 20 mins before the software linked up at  each end to sent the RR73 message - the signal that the QSO was complete.
And Norbert was clearly "seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they linked up to finalize and log the QSO.  I had similar problems on 160M when working Norbert - so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But, we do have to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental release - and YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out.
But it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better - and WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think we will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working future DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is happening every night on 1840 today.  I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every night - and am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old dawgs (like me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn new tricks.
This all took place on 1836 and I think on 3569 down on 80m these past few nights.  Traditional FT8 (according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes place on 1840.  So I am hopeful that the migration to the new mode continues to take place in an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really will not mix well - should FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause problems  - (just my opinion) - but reality I think.
So - I think that is the lot for now.  Not much more to report - but for sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT about it - I do not think this is a passing FAD.  "DIGI-WIGI" or its other name "JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!!
73 JEFF  K1ZM/VY2ZM
Jeff Briggs
DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of 160 Meters
Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX Engineering, Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
Jim Brown
2018-03-30 17:24:32 UTC
Permalink
FYI,

This was posted yesterday by K1JT to the WSJT email reflector.

73, Jim K9YC

Everyone paying attention should already know what's contained in this
message -- but it's clear that some do not.

The current General Availability (GA) release of WSJT-X is v1.8.0.  That
program version does not include FT8 DXpedition Mode.

We have made beta-level "release candidates" available for the explicit
purpose of testing FT8 DXpedition Mode.  The release candidates have
included cautionary warnings to the effect that in its present form,
DXpedition Mode should be used only for controlled testing.

A few operators or groups have ignored our warnings and tried to use FT8
DXpedition Mode in true pileup situations.  The consequences are
predictably bad -- especially when the offending operator(s) have chosen
their frequencies badly and other operators are using a mix of program
versions including v1.8.0, v1.9.0-rc2, v1.9.0-rc3, some version of JTDX.

FT8 DXpedition Mode is not yet ready for “production” use. Until WSJT-X
v1.9.0 is fully released -- not a beta-level "release candidate", but a
full General Availability release -- DXpedition Mode should be used only
in controlled test situations.

The next public test of FT8 DXpedition Mode conducted by the WSJT
Development Group will be conducted on April 7, a little over a week
from now.  You are cordially invited to join us for this test.  See the
announcement posted here yesterday (Subject: WSJT-X v1.9.0-rc3: Testing
of FT8 DXpedition Mode) for details.

    -- 73, Joe, K1JT

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wsjt-***@lists.sourceforge.net
https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/wsjt-develOn 3/30/2018 4:50
Hello Gang
I am probably not the only one who has been paying attention lately, but I may be the first to comment directly on what has been taking place right before our eyes the past two nights on 1.836kHz - and its possible implications going forward for future Dx'ing on 160m. Pls read on.
I am sure most readers of these pages are well aware of the current dx'pedition to Malawi operating as 7Q7EI.  Norbert DJ7JC has been a real trooper working the lowbands and has had quite a bit of success doing so - so well deserved kudos & thanks to Norbert.  Norbert has managed to make quite a few NA stations happy with a NEW ONE on Topband and we all very much appreciate his efforts - well done Norbert - thank you!
So what I am about to comment on next IN NO WAY is an negative opinion on Norbert - it is just an observation as to what is now occurring and its possible implications for all of us who like to work DX on 160M!.
On or about 27 March, Norbert tried 160M CW operating on 1830kHz - in his grayline period - and was heard by a number of stations including NO3M and me here at VY2ZM.  Others were in there too perhaps - Kaz K8KS may have been another and a few more as well.  I also heard some EU stations in there calling among the NA stations.
About 0228z, Norbert asnwered me as UY2ZM - went QRZ a few times but QRNN on his side prevented a legitimate qso.  I heard him fine but I know he did not copy my callsign correctly - and later he even said so over ON4KST noting "I heard a few callers, mainly from EU but logged no NA or EU qso's on Topband - so I went back to 80M CW as the sun came up."
The next night Norbert came on ON4KST  chat and announced that he was going to try 1836 using the new FT8 Dx'pedition mode now in beta trials following its release by K1JT.  I am told that the dx'pedition version of FT8 will also be used experimentally by the upcoming KH1 Dx'pedition.
1) A shortened qso sequence using only 2 of the traditional FT8 required QSO elements
2) The promise of simultaneous qso's between Multiple HOUNDS and the FOX (in this example the FOX was 7Q7EI)
3) The potential, as a result, of up to 300-400 qso's per hour may be possible one day - which would improve the overall qso totals of any dx'pedition - IF this ever becomes REALITY.
So on night two Norbert came up on FT8 dx'pedition mode - first on 80m and I managed to work him fairly quickly here at VY2ZM.
Others worked him as well - as we all struggled to learn exactly how to operate this new flavor of FT8.  It is a bit tricky and I invite anyone reading this who may be interested to take a look - because Dx'pedition mode uses special settings within WSJT-x - and one must configure things exactly right - or it just does not function as one might expect traditional FT8 to function in order to complete qso's.
Nearer to his SR, Norbert went to 1836 and I think he may have worked a couple of NA stations - I tried but without success because I did not pay close enough attention to ON4KST - and I came to 160m too late in the game to have a good shot as he went into daylight on his side.
So what is going on here exactly?  And why did I choose to make this post to Topband?
The answer is fairly simple and stems from what I observed this past summer on 6M during the Sporadic E season.  I happen to like to work 6M E during the summer and was all set around the end of June for what I hoped would be a great E season on 6M CW into Europe.  I worked a couple of stations on CW in late June but during the first or second week of July, K1JT released the production version of FT8 and almost immediately everyone realized its potential (particularly those in the Mid and Far Western USA) - where it was immediately called a "GAME CHANGER" by K7JA and others on the Left Coast.
Well - it SURELY WAS A GAME CHANGER - because I did not hear a single CW DX station out of Europe on 6M for the rest of the summer E season after that - everyone had qsy'ed to 50.313 to work FT8 - because it WORKED so well on 6M - even on E skip paths.  And since I did not have FT8 capability - I was TOTALLY SHUT OUT and had NO 6M E season of Dx'ing - BUMMER!
So how does this apply to Topband?  Pls read on.....
Last night was NIGHT 3 into NA on the lowbands from 7Q7EI - and Norbert was back - first on 160m on 1836 from about 0130z - until around 0320z - again on FT8 - in dx'pedition mode.  By now, most of us had downloaded the dx'pedition mode version of WSJT-x and had sort of figured out how to do the parameter settings correctly - so quite a few QSO's ensued.
I happened to be one of the lucky ones on 160M - there were quite a few others.
Watching my screen though (along with KAZ K8KS) it was clear that K1JT still has some clean up work to do to refine the dx'pedition mode software - because the promise of 300 qso's per hour is not yet possible - but I think the throughput rate will one day improve materially.  (:Last night the throughput was SO SLOW that some suggested to Norbert that he stop using dx'pedition mode in favor of the more reliable current release of FT8 that is on the air today.)
Norbert also elected to stay on FT8 - despite many requests from those constrained by CW only capability to move over to CW mode - so those without FT8 basically sat on the sidelines last night watching all of this transpire.  My thoughts at the time were - "Here we go again!  This is 6M E season "DEJA VUE all over again - the 6M E migration to Ft8 was now happening all over again - but this time on 160M - and it suggests a real possibility of it becoming the choice of major dxpeditions going forward - meaning - FT8 is likely to be used on 160m far more regularly going forward and  CW mode utilized much less perhaps (maybe!).  My crystal ball is no better than yours - but if FT8 dx'pedition mode gets perfected by K1JT and becomes more EFFICIENT one day than CW mode - you can be SURE that it will become very popular and it will get used far more (at the expense of CW) by the rarer Dx'peditions when they choose to QSY to Topband!
You can take that to the BANK!
At one point, Norbert who was on CHAT all night long - lamented some of the comments he was seeing by others on CHAT.  Basically, while he was more than courteous, it was clear that he felt like "HEY!  I am the FOX here.....I get to choose to operate whatever mode I think will work - and those sitting in their comfortable chairs back at home (and not sitting in the heat here on the shores of Lake Malawi - really do not get to decide this.!!  Again, I am the FOX here.......)  Basically, Norbert was right on here - IMHO....
1) Experimental FT8 qso's are not completing reliably as they should - at least not yet all the time - for example:  K8KZ was clearly seeing 7Q7EI calling him on his screen for at least 20 mins before the software linked up at  each end to sent the RR73 message - the signal that the QSO was complete.
And Norbert was clearly "seeing" K8KS for the same 20 mins - before they linked up to finalize and log the QSO.  I had similar problems on 160M when working Norbert - so it is clear that K1JT has some more work to do,. But, we do have to realize that this is still only a BETA/experimental release - and YES - it does have some glitches and bugs yet to be ironed out.
But it does work (after a fashion) and I am sure it will get better - and WHEN IT DOES become a fully functional PRODUCTION RELEASE, I do think we will witness some MAJOR operating changes going forward when working future DX'peditions and even when casual dx'ing on 160M - which is happening every night on 1840 today.  I am seeing Wal W8LRL most every night - and am dabbling in it myself as is my XYL Miriam VY2HH - so old dawgs (like me) are being forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to learn new tricks.
This all took place on 1836 and I think on 3569 down on 80m these past few nights.  Traditional FT8 (according to the ARRL 160m bandplan) takes place on 1840.  So I am hopeful that the migration to the new mode continues to take place in an orderly fashion because FT8 and CW really will not mix well - should FT8 start showing up below 1830 that will cause problems  - (just my opinion) - but reality I think.
So - I think that is the lot for now.  Not much more to report - but for sure - "A change is coming to Dx'ing on 160M - there is NO DOUBT about it - I do not think this is a passing FAD.  "DIGI-WIGI" or its other name "JINGLE BELLS" looks like it is here to stay!!!
73 JEFF  K1ZM/VY2ZM
Jeff Briggs
DXing on the Edge: The Thrill of 160 Meters
Available worldwide through BookBaby, Array Solutions, DX Engineering, Royal Society of Great Britain, & Amazon
_________________
Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband
_________________
Topband Reflector

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