Digital Lazy Mans Ham Radio

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  • Updated 2 weeks ago
  • (Edited)
What I’m seeing is Digital destroying HF SSB and CW
What fun is it looking at text type messages ?
I guess it just easier than SSB and CW no noise too??

Welcome to 2019
Hell kids don’t even go outside or ride bikes together they have iPhones
Sorry just how I feel about Digital Ham Radio if you want call it Ham Radio
Yukon -Joe
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Joe Conover

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Posted 2 weeks ago

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Wayne VK4ACN

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I love Ft8. Im working heaps of new ones on Ft8. Would be impossible on ssb and nearly impossible on cw given the state of present band condx. When the condx inprove I will be doing more on ssb/cw. If i can hear them on cw/ssb i'll work them. But thats the condx atm. I do think though with band condx at all time low and cycle 25 is supposed to be worse, i think lot of hams would have given up. So you could argue Ft8 is holding onto hams until condx improve. My 2c worth.
(Edited)
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Joe Conover

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Ok I see for weak signal work
I just like see more at least try using SSB you be shocked
band open more than u think -
(Edited)
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Tim VE6SH

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Amateur Radio today looks very different from how it did 10 years ago. It will change even more over the next 10 years. The ARS has evolved from inception and will continue to do so. It has to be relevant to future generations of amateurs. FT4/8 is part of that evolution. We need to adapt to stay relevant and change our view of what "ham radio" means to others.

Tim VE6SH
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Ted VE3TRQ

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Just as computers are now a part of everyday life, so computers are a part of all aspects of any hobby, Amateur Radio is no exception. Expect that as those who have grown up with compute devices join the ranks of amateur operators, they will not be satisfied with a peripheral role for computers in the hobby, but will expect compute devices will be at the core of it.

Witness Flex radios :-) Tell me compute devices aren’t at the core of our radios today!
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Michael N3LI

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There are a lot of different modes and operations in Ham Radio. We shouldn't fall into the trap of decidiing that one mode, or type of radio is better, or that certain modes are unworthy. 

During the Morse code versus the world battles years ago, I was tolkd I wasn't a "real" ham becaue I primarily used SSB. I've been told that the Flex  signature series radios are not "real" radios. Real radios are Superhet, and have knobs and don't have any computer involved at all. I've heard that Technicians are not real Amateurs, and I even know a couple guys who refuse to update from the old Advanced license to Extra, because they consider themselves real hams that passed a faster test, than me, whom they refer to as a nickel ham, an unworthy who only had to take a 5 wpm test. 

There are so many different activities in Ham Radio that it seems a shame to decide what is good and what is killing the hobby. With all of the options, this is truly a golden age.

Anyhow, This is just thrown out for your consideration Joe. 
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Joe Conover

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I agree 1986 I got licensed not like it used be ,I don’t like what I’m seeing even at our ham club meeting - EGOs are taking over -/people down taking to older hams and new members trying to prove they are smarter and force their ideas -chased about half our older members away -I sorry but I’m not part of evolution nor adapting -I see this the same thinking distorting home life the way kids play now texting and video game - they don’t how to relate on face to face old good outside and play together- -
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Wayne VK4ACN

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Im licenced in 1977 and im enjoying ham radio more than ever. Theres something for everyone
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Tim VE6SH

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Yep. I can remember when I was licensed in 1977 me and others of my vintage were faced with the same criticisms  form older amateurs("damn kids and your 2m repeaters"!). You have to put the ARS in perspective. Think where we would be today if the morse code requirements were still in the Int Radio Regulations....I suspect many fewer amateurs!

Tim VE6SH
(Edited)
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tmcdonough

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I feel like perhaps I have been negligent. I too was first licensed in 1977 and I don't think I've ever complained that people who become hams today didn't have to go to an FCC Field Office to take a test other than Novice and had to fill in circuit diagrams with the missing components.

People like different things and the great thing about Amateur Radio is there is so much to choose from. On any given day I can grab my straight key and work CW, use the microphone to communicate with a voice mode, hook up my computer and do one of many dozens of digital modes, use a satellite, do microwave stuff, or even just use FM to yack on the local repeater while we decide where we're going to met for lunch.

Tim N9PUZ
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Wayne VK4ACN

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Im.guessing someone out there may still be using a spark gap tx
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Pat - WH6HI

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Hope not, they would have lots of angry neighborhoods.....
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Norm - W7CK

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spark gap is illegal.  
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KF4HR

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Not for me either Joe.  I tried FT8 and after a few QSO (QSO's really?) I grew tired of it quickly.  But many do like it.  Hi and Bye... perhaps its a sign of the times.

When the bands do get better I wonder if these hi/bye FT4/8 fanatics will ever transition back to real communications modes?  Heck, they may forget how to really communicate! :D

The only good thing I see about FT4/8 is it doesn't take up very much of the band space, otherwise IMO, b-o-r-i-n-g. 
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Michael N3LI

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Some folks like rag chewing, some contesting. Some like digital modes. Some like APRS, a few even like Packet.  Some like going out to breakfast, sitting around and chatting in person and almost never use a radio. It's a hobby, and I'm loathe to impress my idea of fun on others. My only rules are be respectful.

On a personal note, I came to Ham radio from computers. So Flex and digital modes are a natural for me. I also am almost deaf, so the digital modes allow me a lot of opportunities I wouldn't have otherwise. My better half can hear me in the next room with the sound levels I use in my headsets and it annoys her. So a nice quiet digital signal that I see instead of hear is FB!
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Bill -VA3WTB

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FT8 is not for me either but after working it for a bit I can understand the challenge in it.
From here in Ontario Canada, I can log thousands of US stations, but why would I want that? Nothing to it. Then one day I thought, lets just look for other countries to work, any country. Then things got a lot harder and contacts took longer. I was trying to work different zones, not easy.

One day I connected to a zone by chasing them for hours. We finally connected but I could not close them because I didn't have power to do so, 100W.
After trying for some time I turned my amp on and worked at 500W. That was what I needed to close the deal and log them. So I do understand the challenge. But for most enjoyment, talking to people is what I like most.
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Dave - W6OVP

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>Hi and Bye... perhaps its a sign of the times.

Why that sounds like contesting. Do you also dislike contesting? Wonder how long contesting has been a serious part of Ham Radio...?
(Edited)
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Paul Menown

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What has this to do with Flex 6400? This isn't in the correct forum.
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Michael N3LI

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We do go all over the place in here! 
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Joe Conover

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It’s just a forum nice place make new friends
I’m sure we can all just relax chill out and take things a lot less
Serous
I was raised respect people and Grandmother three Magic words -Please-Thank You ,I was Wrong and I’m sorry -
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N9VC

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Three? I count eight.
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Joe Conover

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Oh Back 6400M I have few questions

I getting my first computer ever Acer laptop from friend -Tuesday and just put internet at house with Rooter - wife freaking a little she afraid of computers

Be side getting updates from Flex. will the internet and computer make 6400M preform better on SSB ?
(Edited)
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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No. Having the radio connected to a computer and the Internet will not change the performance.

Performing updates when they are released may include bug fixes and feature enhancements that affect receive. Flex posts the release notes for each software release. There you can find what has been fixed or added.

Dave wo2x
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Joe Conover

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Thank U
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Pat - WH6HI

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No, but allows for operational features such as logging with auto up loads to cloud logging....
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Dave - W6OVP

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>What I’m seeing is Digital destroying HF SSB and CW

You got that right Joe. But I'm still in a frump from when licensed in 1954 I learned there was no more spark. Now THERE was real Ham Radio! Everying since is just a cheap imitation and a silly distraction.  /s

BTW, have you no noticed they no longer provide a crank with new cars? Not even a hole to plug one in. How are you supposed to start the engine? Bah Humbug.

LONG LIVE DIGITAL!    -Dave
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Michael N3LI

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I've always wanted to see one of those old school RF alternator stations. Humongous things that reached up to about 500 KHz. I understand they had a very nice tone. Before that it was apparently just rasping noises.
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Ken - NM9P

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Digital “destroying HF SSB and CW?” Really?

When I was a 7th grader in 1972 studying for my license there was a great debate as to whether allowing novices to use a VFO was going to destroy the hobby.

And SSB had just won the war waged by AMers who were convinced that SSB was going to destroy ham radio.

Similar arguments were made about the introduction of 2-meter repeaters,

The same with giving Technicians SSB Access to 10 Meters,

And auto patches,

And eliminating the requirement to log every Contact, CQ, or test transmission,

And not requiring mobiles to identify their US call zone would encourage pirate operations,

And store bought rigs would turn the bands into a bunch of appliance operators and glorified CBers.

And the same hysteria with dropping the code speed to 5 WPM for General Class,

And Code-free Technicians,

And dropping the code altogether,

And the introduction of PSK31,

And computerized contest logging,

And keyboard CW,

And voice keyers,

And packet radio,

And DX spotting networks,

And linked repeaters,

And IRLP,

And even the introduction of SDR radios.


In my over 45 years as a ham I have heard at least 45 arguments that “++++++++ is going to destroy Amateur Radio...”


Yes, the hobby has changed, significantly in some ways, but it is still going strong. Some of the developments that seemed most threatening to some at first have made the largest improvements. Others have fallen by the wayside as short-lived fads. But they were fun while they lasted!


We must guard against the attitude of “enjoy it my way, or you are destroying the hobby.” One of the greatest things about the hobby is that it encourages experimentation, innovation, and development. Otherwise we would all still be using spark gaps and crystal receivers.


Ken - NM9P
(Edited)
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Michael N3LI

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Ken, as I have often told people "Ham radio is dying, and it will be dying forever1"  
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Ted VE3TRQ

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The thing to remember is that “dying” is a part of “living”. Essentially, without death, there can be no life. Renewal is the keyword.

Wow - does this thread ever have a life!
(Edited)
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Joe Conover

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What The average age of hams in 2019 I went to Alaska 40 meter SSB net picnic July - I’m 63 I was second youngest person there -

After a 59 year old -that freaked me out a little no new hams -
(Edited)
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Ted VE3TRQ

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We have a raft of new hams here in town - from both Universities. They are young, they are eager, BUT almost all of them just use UHF and VHF on the repeaters :-( For now.
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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When I got my Ham license in1958 the first Mode I used was a very primitive DIGITAL MODE.

I I always thought that CW AM and later SSB AND FR Were ruining ham radio
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Ken - NM9P

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Wait, Howard, YOU once used CW? I thought you threw your key into the ocean? Hi hi!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Yes I did have to once to get the Extra but then screwed it to a lead brick from a nuclear pile and dumped ii into Lake Ontario. Probably still toxic.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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But in fact according to many radio manufactures, who stands to lose or win in the market, claim ham radio is growing by at least 1% per year.

Do you think companies would continue to spend big money for research and develop for a new radio if they thought ham radio was dying?

All these companies do yearly market research to understand the market trends, are they all wrong?
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Michael N3LI

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My own take on the never ending "Ham Radio is dying" lament made by some is that for some people, it is dying. A couple guys I know look at their portion of the hobby, and it is ragchewing nets of people that are very similar to them. Older, and lamenting their younger days passing - usually in all aspects of life. So yes - their ranks go down over time. Not that many younger hams are that interested - I tried some of their nets, and a lot of it is the same people, talking about the same things, day after day. Wasn't for me, but they were enjoying it, so its all good.

Ham radio is growing as far as I can tell. It isn't our father's Ham radio, where so many were licensed before they were even teenagers. The demographics have changed, and many become Hams after their children are out of the house, and they can afford to buy some good radios. 

So heck yeah. I find Ham radio to be changing, but quite healthy.  And be a person a prepper, a rag chewer, a contester or an experimenter like myself, there's a lot of room in this big tent.
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Joe Conover

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I seem that in Sitka AK and now Bethel AK
After 2 meters repeaters hit both towns all hams went VHF repeaters again it’s easier than turning VFO -
Than this happen in Bethel the 2 meters expert and repeater owner left bethel with the repeater -just 3 hams on Air now no more VHF users - Sitka AK just one guy left AL6G on SSB -
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Joe Conover

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Ok what average Ham operator age 2019 ??? that will tell us the truth ?
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I'm 43, I'll be 44 in November this year.
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Pat - WH6HI

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To each his own! It is no use labeling people as lazy or any other label. There are always new things on the horizon, and that is what makes Ham radio very interesting. Anyone can set up for SSB and operate, no computers necessary, and have fun. Success in Ham radio is dependent on ones skills and is an on going process that never ends. That is the essence and attractiveness of what we do.
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K3SF

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Bah Humbug

Give me back Dem Dar Meg-aRrr-Phones so we can yell ship to ship, and ship to shore.....

Ahoy Mate  !!


;-)


Paul K3SF

(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Must read yer post wit der Hollywood pirate accent, matey. Arrrr.
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Joe Conover

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Found it average age ham operator the CB boom craze -1974=37 ,1999=47 ,2009 =51. ,2019=61
Wow so the younger folks are not becoming new Hams -Most Be Video gaming and Twitter and Facebook-Ham Radio loosing ground Dam it-
(Edited)
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Mike W9OJ

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Ham radio is not as exciting when every kid has a smartphone.
(Edited)
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Joe Conover

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That my point when kids give up bikes and outdoor playing and give up working with their minds and hands -welcome Smart phones and loss respect for human inter-reaction -See now what happing
We the parents lost our grip on our own kids
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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The interpretation of those figures may be skewed by the following facts. 1) People tend to be healthier for longer periods of time, and are more active for a longer period of time. 2) People tend to live longer than they did back in 1974. 3) Many of the older hams are retired baby boomers, and the population is skewed that direction just like it is in every other demographic study.

So the average age of hams is not necessarily a sign of a dying hobby. Just a more experienced one.

In 1974, when I received my ham license, I was probably the only ham in my high school, which numbered about 1150. There were LOTS of kids involved in CB during the CB craze. I gave some demonstrations in class and helped start a ham radio club and soon the Amateur ranks grew to 5-10 and more by the time I graduated.

Amateur Radio grows in direct proportion to the number of hams in a local community that make it (and their club meetings) interesting to young people.

If the old fogies in the local club don’t do anything but sit around and gripe about how the snot-nosed kids are ruining the hobby, the snot-kids will never catch the radio bug.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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The lamentations about the every changing amateur radio world have been cyclical from the start of our hobby.

My buddy George W9EVT (check hi out on QRZ - he has been licensed 75 years) run everything from pre-WWII gear, classic Collins gear, the state of the art conventional transceivers and a Flex-6300 - often in the same day!

He’s found a personal sweet spot in SSB but has dabbled in most modes. He’s been working at remot8ng one his Icoms and of course his Flex (which replaced a 5000a).

Like a huge candy store take what you want but never dismiss the other candies, as they may be someone else’s favorites!

I am thrilled at how a Flex-6000 fits for so many options. And yes I have other transceivers. But usually you will find me on a Flex.

The other Flex feature is its forward open architecture meaning that I personally have only scratch the surface with what it can do.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Blog://k9zw.wordpress.com
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Bob- W5TX

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Ken/Howard
Gess I’m the only one to comment so far having been active in the AM/SSB wars (licensed in ‘51) when folks said those who sounded like ducks talking we’re screwing up the bands. Except for those who are avid AM fans, the SSBers won converts because the technology was superior. Speed ahead till today and similar things are happening. FT8, remote operation via the internet, computer analysis of circuits, antenna design via computer optimization and much more. We think of vhf/uhf hardware advances, repeaters, microwave operation, moon bounce and the list goes on. Much of what is commonplace today did not exist in 1951 and for years thereafter. Of course we had digital operation from the beginning in ham radio - CW but the computer was between our ears. The hobby is so diverse there is almost some interesting facet for anyone if they are introduced to it. So, yeah, FT8 is a bit like watching grass grow but working the world on 100W or lots less is amazing. Many of the things mentioned above are no less amazing depending on your interest or experience. If you like SSB, so be it but if the bands are so lousy or the local QRN is so bad you can’t hear other stations, it’s not FT8’s fault but rather the hand Mother Nature has dealt us. If the bands were like they were in the mid 50’s (great) there would be no complaining about lack of other mode activity. I think many hams have decided that if Mother Nature has given us lemons, perhaps lemonade is the answer. Thus the popularity of FT8/PSK etc. At any rate since FT8 only consumes 1 SSB channel of bandwidth for many concurrent signals and you can’t hear many of them since they are below the noise floor (but still communicating) they can’t be too much of a nuisance to the other modes :).
Joe Taylor W1JT of WSJT-x fame studied the lighthouses of the universe (pulsars) and won the Nobel Prize for that work. Perhaps his and others future modes will enable hams to communicate across the solar system - hmmm I wonder. Gotta go hear a station on asteroid hx343 calling on ST8 mode on 47GHz. Need him for WANA (worked all nearby asteroids)
73
Bob Hicks WN5TKB/W5TKB/W5TX
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Hi Bob.
When I started studying, there were still a few skirmishes remaining from the AM vs. "Donald Duck" war.  And there was still a lot of inaccurate advice circulating about how to adjust your receiver for maximum intelligibility of SSB.  

As you know, these were born as people tried to listen to SSB with rigs using a simple BFO injection with no real product detector.  It was a real dance to decode SSB, requiring one to constantly adjust RF Gain, BFO Frequency (pitch), AGC level (if any), AF Gain, etc.  

Once product detectors were introduced, (part of the superior technology to which you referred) which didn't require the fancy dance, many users still continued to use the old advice with the new machines.  Then they wondered why their newfangled rig didn't perform well.

We have the same situation now, sometimes with SDR's and Digital modes.  The "dance" is a little different, and some users are having trouble catching up with the new steps.

Our job is to become "Dance Instructors" to a new generation of hams.

Indeed the last several sunspot cycles (the worst in many generations) require a number of different dances in the hobby!

Oh, I would love to see how my Flex would perform with a cycle like the 1958 Max!  Having been born in 1959, I missed that one!

Ken - NM9P
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Neal Pollack, N6YFM

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Somewhat surprised that the original poster can't notice the reason for FT-8 right now, vs. SSB.

 N O   S U N S P O T S     !!!!

Propagation is in the toilet, unless, that is, you really find it fun talking locally with SSB, which
makes it about as entertaining as CB Radio.   For those of us that don't own 100 foot towers,
live on a modest city lot with a wire antenna, and don't have access to a 50 KiloWatt linear,
I'm afraid we have to play with FT-8 until the solar cycle starts upward.   That, or retire to the
television set, bar, BBQ, fishing, casino, or whatever.

I suspect that when the sun spots return, so will SSB.   Just wait.  It will not be long now...

Cheers,

Neal
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Roger, W6VZV

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My thoughts exactly.  I love SSB and CW as well as keyboard digital modes such as MFSK and PSK31.  But right now band conditions are absolutely hideous, making these modes highly problematic for those of us not blessed with 70 foot towers and six element beams.  FT8 is keeping ham radio alive through the worst solar minimum I've seen in 50 years of hamming.  When band conditions return, I will return to SSB and the other modes.  Meanwhile, I am having a lot of fun with FT8 and FT4.
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David G4NRT / Z21NRT

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My view is a simple one ... amateur radio is a very broad church and it has many aspects.  If one of them is not for you then don't do it ... 

David G4NRT/Z21NRT
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Joe Conover

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Great points of views
Dam I going RTTY now and Decoding CW and sending CW now via my Flex 6400B and computer
Loving my Flex 6400B
I’m going deaf in 3 years so I need look pass SSB
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Ken - NM9P

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Joe Conover   ...  Very sorry to learn of your hearing loss.  
Necessity breeds many innovations in Amateur Radio, and life in general.
Whether it is hearing loss, or rotten band conditions from no sunspots, digital modes are here to stay, but they will change shape many times as hams innovate in response to internal and external stimuli.

Best of luck to you.  

BTW, as one who is only a few years away from needing a hearing aid, (my wife says I already do) I really appreciate the Flex's RX EQ!  it is invaluable at times when I am on SSB.
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Joe Conover

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RadioSport Headset Mic a Gods blessing to me it’s only
Headset that works great with my powerful behind
Ear hearing Aids -Sounds very natural and God Bless Flex they have a volume adjustment in programming it turned it up Max
I send a nice email to owner of RadioRadio for his foresight
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Joe Conover

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My doctor told me try these powered speakers on Flex 6400M he said there a headset jack give me extra volume

JBL Control 2P 5.25" 2-Way Powered Speaker
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P

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RadioSport headphones are the most comfortable I have ever warn.  They are almost indestructible, too, built to aviation standards.  You can't go wrong with them.
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Michael N3LI

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Ah hearing loss. My wife tells people we meet that if I reply to a question with something that sounds crazy, it's because my mind makes stuff up for words I don't quite hear. I just tell them to laugh, because it is funny. Might as well have fun with a problem. 
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Pat N6PAT

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Don't like digital ham radio? Then don't use it. Problem solved.

That's what's great about this hobby. There's always something to bitch about.