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Stranger in a strange land ...

W7NGA
W7NGA Member ✭✭
edited January 2020 in Amateur Radio Interests
I've been a ham 50 years. I was 13, reading QST and Popular Electronics underneath the sheets by flashlight, after hearing my mother scream to turn out the lights and go to sleep. Nah, I wanted to read about the Novice stations and their pursuit of WAS and WAC using NC-303's, HQ-110's, and Globe Scouts. I dreamed of one day owning a Viking Ranger and working the world. I wanted to be an engineer. I grew up .. went to Stanford, and got a PhD. 

I don't have issue with tweaking the tuning on my antenna tuner and amplifier. I don't mind manually switching antennas, using a bug, slepping QSL cards to the Post Office, calling CQ to find a kindred-spirit worthy of an hour long chat, or hoping to find an RTTY station that loves the mode as I do. Someone that, like me, desires more than a disingenuous signal-report and a 30-second QSO. Someone that loves the mode, sees the underlying beauty of, and someone that holds dearly to that same passion for discovery.

I know ... different strokes for different folks. I get it ..

On this forum, I read of the contesting world and the directions unfolding. I own a Flex 6300 and enjoy it. It sits next to my Collins S-line, my 75A4's, my Drake C-line, my R390A. The Flex outperforms every receiver I own. My grandsons think it is cool and love the panadapter. But dudes .. it isn't perfect. I listen to the Flex-Net on 20-meters, and the obsequious signal reports where everyone sounds so buttery smooth and perfect and always 5/9 (if they are Flex'ing). Heads up .. most of those signals, tuned to with a critical ear, sound marginally acceptable. I'm being polite ... and no, just because you bought a PR-40 does not mean you sound FB. Sorry.

The joke is, that most Flex 6000's have an echo on their signal due to RF intrusion. It may be subtle but it is insidious and noticeable to the critical ear. Additionally, perfect 100% AM modulation is not attainable through the ACC port and RF ingress is very problematic. This too, is well-documented and the topic of many ESSB and AM aficionado discussions. 

So, don't forget about the non-contestor ... please. The little guy that loves to pound out a CQ on CW, thrills in the sonics of bodacious AM, and gets chills every time they hear the crisp 170hz shift of a DX RTTY station.

I accept the changes .. I just don't care for them nor like the trend. I am excited by Maestro, but it has absolutely nothing to do with contesting.

image.

73's

dan  W7NGA
San Juan Island, Wa. 


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Comments

  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2018
    (I accept the changes .. I just don't care for them nor like the trend) What changes are you talking about?, can you expound a little? It is interesting after Flex worked with some of the most prominent contester's to help design the Maestro, you say it has nothing to do with contesting.
  • Jon_KF2E
    Jon_KF2E Member ✭✭
    edited December 2019
    I agree with Bill. I read your post twice and still can't decipher your point(s).

    Jon...kf2e

  • Ned K1NJ
    Ned K1NJ Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017

         He is excited by Maestro, and other technology, but for him, it's not because of contesting.
    He has enjoyed being on the path that has brought us this far.  (My interpretation)

    Ned,  K1NJ
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Could be right Ned, If get a Maestro it won't be for contesting.
  • W7NGA
    W7NGA Member ✭✭
    edited January 2020
    The changes are towards contesting .. I see a trend. I accept that the world is competitive and this might be where the winds **** .. but I think it is to the detriment of amateur radio. I read this forum and the **** is clearly towards contesting. I'm just the guy in the thatched shack with the local gazing through the window, as I pound out another CQ. The buzz is around contesting .. not the guy just trying to have a QSO with a rig that works outstandingly .. bare bones. The Flex 6300 isn't prime-time .. so don't obsess on Maestro until the 6300 meets the requirements of us in the trenches, desiring stellar AM and ESSB performance. Those of us ... just wanting a radio that works to our expectations.

    I cannot think of any other way to express this ...

    I'm feeling as if a dinosaur ... hamasaurous?

    dan  W7NGA
    San Juan Island, Wa.
     
  • George KF2T
    George KF2T Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Burt, please accept that contesting is a worthwhile activity for others who enjoy it. Comments about different preferences/ideas are welcome, but derision of them is not at all helpful.
  • SteveM
    SteveM Member
    edited December 2015

    Burt,

    I'm new to this hobby and so I lack the historical knowledge that you and others own. I've been reading some of the old QST articles: see here. From their earliest days, it seems amateurs have yet to change. We're still b!itching about the other guy (see articles regarding QRM from non-ARRL amateurs). Also, you bemoan a weekend or two per year of being forced off the bands, while the pioneers from the 'teens were shut down for years due to wartime restrictions.

  • km9r.mike
    km9r.mike Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    I think the FRS team is composed of type A personalities and am confident that they will not rest until they have a product that is mature in all areas of development and are smart enough to implement advances in one subset to improve areas in another subset. A win win vice the hypothesized win lose.
  • ctate243
    ctate243 Amateur radio contester Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    Just like grand prix racing..  technology developed in the Maximum Performance realm trickles down and benefits folks driving down the highway or a country road.  likewise, improved radio performance designed tested and optimized for contesting adds value to the technology of the casual ham operator.  Since SDR represents the future of radio, contesters are starting to add SDR to their toolkit, and along with that bring their selves, ergonomic and operating expertise, filter and station automation skills, and other ideas to the community.   We all have and will continue to benefit from this group.

    As for the argument of taking up the bands for contesting...  There are 7 days a week, and 10 HF ham bands.  Contests primarily occur on weekends, 2 of 7 days, on 6 of the 10 ham bands and mostly on 5.  In fact 4 of those 10 overall bands 12,17,30 and 60 meters are implicitly reserved for non contesters.

    This is also diluted by the fact that contests are mostly mode specific, occurring in either the CW/RTTY or Phone segment of the bands in question.

    Bottom line.. is unless you think you "own" a qrg(and you know you dont) there is always someplace else to go if you want to have a heartfelt 1 hour qso with a buddy.  

    the argument that contesters take up all the ham bands even during a contest weekend is simply false.  If you have a pact to meet someone for a ragchew somewhere, and it happens to be on one of the contest weekends, the wise choice would be to schedule it on a warc band, or on a mode other than the contest.  end of problem.  you just down get to keep "your" qrg.  

    thats the way it is..  Its not unfair..  Its not going to change.  get over it and enjoy the improved technology the competitive ham radio group brings..  and use your skills and expertise as an operator to find someplace to use it.

    ~C.
    N6WM  


  • SteveM
    SteveM Member
    edited December 2015
    Am I to understand you despise every contest?!? I thought you were only miffed for the 3-4 big ones (Field Day, ARRL DX, CQ WW, CQ WPX) that occur throughout the year. Those are the ones that cause the bands to be crowded. How can the smaller ones be a bother to you?
  • ctate243
    ctate243 Amateur radio contester Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    You only need cw on 30 meters and a 17m or 12m dipole is small cheap and easy to build. I have worked DXCC on 12, 17 and 30 meters repeatedly year after year, and there has always been space to call cq or have a ragchew on those "narrow rocky" beaches.  If you dont know cw, then your not concerned about the cw contests, they don't intrude on you.  that narrows down the contest weekends as well to just SSB contests.  Bottom line is the standard ham bands are non contest areas a majority of the time, and there is another option if one is going on.  Its totally reasonable, and even contesters get frustrated with the SSB congestion..  all the better reason to continue to improve technology, get clean signal rigs on the air..and contesters are instrumental in developing those improvements for all rigs.  for the benefit of us all.


      
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Chris, I know any negative comments about contesting ruffles feathers on here. I should not be forced to vacate a band because of contest. 40M is a very good band for groups of people to chat. So many will continue using it. Many times the conditions on 12,17, 30M are not good for us.

    Every state has a contest and there is usually one every weekend, that makes it hard for those that get on there radio mostly weekends.

    But I think it must work both ways, if a contester jumps on our freq I suppose they won't hear who they are trying to contact either with us talking.

    And I see you slam the door closed as though there is nothing to discus, you said get over it and that's just the way is. I'm sorry but their are others using the bands as well. If this was a shut case you would not have felt the need to comment.
  • ctate243
    ctate243 Amateur radio contester Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    Sure Bill, I totally understand.   And maybe my "get over it" statement was a little terse so let me change my tune a bit.

    I (yes contester me) have belonged to a west region ragchew group for years.  We move it based on time of year,  even time of evening,  propagation and contest conditions.   In the winter we go low..  80 and 160 meters, and other times use 40 meters and even 20 meter scatter when conditions allow.    

    We have never even needed to move it to the WARC bands..  but sometimes we skip it.. VERY RARELY but sometimes.. due to contest conditions.  Not that big of a deal.  The group is strong and has lots of technically competent friendly and chatty hams.  The group is solid and strong and has no problem with the occasional qsy.. Isnt that how its supposed to work?  
     
    I personally think we can all handle the occasional qsy.. and its not going to make any particular group implode if they have to occasionally qsy.  The contest qrm simply doesn't occur on a large scale that often.   Its scheduled and predictable and the benefits brough to the community are great.  

  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Chris, I do take part in field day, it's fun.
  • ctate243
    ctate243 Amateur radio contester Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    Thats great Bill.. not sure of your point.. I enjoy field day as well. but I mostly enjoy the barbeque and ****  for that :-).
  • W7NGA
    W7NGA Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Field Day has a useful purpose in the spirit of Amateur Radio and community service.
    The others ... not so much.
    I would like a demarcation to exist ... an egalitarian solution if you will.

    dan  W7NGA
  • SteveM
    SteveM Member
    edited December 2015
    I listen to some of the rag-chew sessions and wonder how that provides "a useful purpose in the spirit of Amateur Radio and community service". Guys sitting around drinking **** and talking about the fungus between their toes.
  • Ernest - W4EG
    Ernest - W4EG Member ✭✭
    edited May 2015
    Ditto here!
    What is this PhD talking about.
    And will not waste my time to read it over again.

    The only thing I see is N O N - S E N S E
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Steve, your kidding right? you have never been in a good discussion?
    I have many time times, and many I have talked to make our hobby what it is, a matter of fact made our radios what they are. You need to get out more, Hi Hi
  • Ernest - W4EG
    Ernest - W4EG Member ✭✭
    edited May 2015
    Say Doc,
    You are wrong. l am on the list for Maestro for my Flex-6700 and I am NOT a contester.  However, I am a member of a DX club for the camaraderie and fellowship with my colleagues.   
  • W7NGA
    W7NGA Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Yeah .. I wrote it and it is as clear as mud. I wanted to convey a sense of frustration at the trend in Amateur Radio towards contesting, and watching product development biased towards this trend. Sorry for wasting your time Ernest ... best 73's
  • SteveM
    SteveM Member
    edited December 2015

    I said "some of the rag-chew sessions", not all. The comment was directed toward Dan who wants to segregate so-called "useful contests" from others. I just meant that rag-chewing should be treated likewise.


    I do "get out" once in awhile. I've been on 80M late and have heard what goes on there. Have you?

  • Ernest - W4EG
    Ernest - W4EG Member ✭✭
    edited May 2015
    Dr. Dan,

    I was an adult when I returned to college: And you remind me of the professor's lectures that were so boring and completely off  course, of what they were suppose be teaching. 

    However, I was the student that challenged all their  non sensible theories. I had nothing to loose; with a great job that I loved and paid well.

    At the end of the semester I received a lower grade than some of the students that were just occupying a seat in the classroom, seldom completing the assignments etc...  

    I challenged those grades in front of the Dean of the department, with evidence and recordings of the lectures and grades of the; what should had been failing students.

    I will just say after the discussion with the Dean, my grades were changed and several professors were no where on the campus. 

    Finally, I have come to the realization in many cases that a higher level degree only means the ability to memorize not the ability to function in life or the ability to inspire others.
  • km9r.mike
    km9r.mike Member ✭✭
    edited May 2015
    Yes understand fully and sorry for the unintended slight.
  • W7NGA
    W7NGA Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Geez .. Ernest, I almost detect an attitude at play here. Honestly, I had a glass of wine and reacted to the questions vis-a-vis Maestro on this forum and they all seemed to be contest related. I too will ultimately buy a Maestro and I am hoping it will serve my plebeian requirements as well as contesters.

    That was the intent with a little fun and nostalgia added. I should also say that you do not know me, do not know the engineering and mathematics I do, and I see no reason for an ad hominem attack here, tangentially or in jest.

    Life is too short for this Ernest ... see you on 15-meters perhaps.

    73's

    dan W7NGA
  • SteveM
    SteveM Member
    edited December 2015

    Burt,

    I once heard a rag-chewer talking SSB on 14.000MHz.

    Field day is considered a contest by ARRL - it is listed on their contest calendar: see for yourself.

    Since you do despise every contest, then the reasoning you have given for your stance is bogus. There is no reasonable objection to some of the small state contests (e.g. SD, AK, or RI); it's likely you've never even encountered them. Do you just need someone or something to despise?

  • Ernest - W4EG
    Ernest - W4EG Member ✭✭
    edited May 2015
    Take care Dan and yes life is rather short so I already had a drink and a toast to you!
  • Gerald-K5SDR
    Gerald-K5SDR FlexRadio Employee ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Let me clarify. Maestro was not just designed for contesting.  However, if the "knobs" work well for contesting/DXing, they will be ergonomically efficient for most other applications.  The reverse is not necessarily true.  

    Take a look at the definition and placement of the knobs and buttons on Maestro to judge whether they work for you. There are 12 knobs, 15 buttons, and an 8 inch high definition touch screen.  The physical controls cover the most used functions with the next most used one touch away.  Maestro is designed for maximum radio workflow productivity and ergonomics.

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