Flex Radio Dayton 2015 Marketing. The cliche of the "World Class" guest speaker.

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Flex Radio has announced  guest speakers at their Dayton 2015 banquet. Two "world renowned" contest/Dxers.  

  • Ranko Boca, 403A, is one of the world’s most accomplished radio sport contesters.  From his incredible mountain top station above the Bay of Kator, Montenegro, he’s made over 500,000 QSOs since his country gained independence in 2006!  Ranko also manufactures a growing family of networked station integration products under the 4O3A brand.  Learn more at http://www.4o3a.com/
  • Craig Thompson, K9CT, is the co-leader of PJ7E, NH8S, K9W and holds 3 expedition of the year awards.  He designed and owns a world class, winning contest superstation with 11 towers from 1.8 to 1296 MHz plus EME.  Craig enjoys station design engineering and working as a team in M/S and M/2 contests.    To read more about K9CT visit http://k9ct.us/
Impressive "hobbyist" resumes for sure. Yet in my view irrelevant to the SDR community.  Ranko has made "Over 500,000" Qso's.  Sorry I don't believe it. He may well of contacted these stations but he surely didn't talk to them for any length of time. Imagine getting to know 500,000 people! Laughs. Like most contesters he was too busy moving on to the next contact.

And Craig Thompson has 11 Towers and a "Worldclass superstation". Also irrelevant to the vast majority of Flex users.  The idea of having `11 Towers is too absurd to even address. This is a hobby for most. Not a lifestyle, profession or an identity.

My point? These speakers are a transparent attempt to have  "one of the worlds most accomplished" and another "world Class station owner"  pump up interest in the the Flex SDR platform in the Contest community.

Flex has every right to focus their marketing efforts on whoever they like. But I think their "world class" choices (Jeez what blow hard rhetoric!) are predictable and tired. The same marketing tripe put forth by Yaesu and Icom and even Kenwood on occasion.

Flex could have created an SDR extravaganza. Examples abound!  A round table discussion with an FPGA designer, Application developers, veteran users (no they don't have to have 11 towers), and enthusiastic posters from this very forum. If Flex were creative and daring they could even invite representatives from their competitors. Flex could show their confidence by inviting Anon, Elad, Quicksilver others to address their customer base as well.   Imagine a lively  "Blue Sky" discussion of where the SDR can go with audience participation.  What fun!!!  The Microsoft HoloLens comes to mind. Will I have the 20 meter band on my watch on 5 years?  ...........

Flex had a chance to be different. Like their platform, the possibilities are many.  But their market is ham radio operators.  And they like much of the hobby cannot think out of the box.  


mike whatley
wa4d.net 
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Mike Whatley

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Posted 5 years ago

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John

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Well, I agree with all this but have found out the hard way, as have many others that the local zoo ( europe ) will take an issue with anyone who dares to call CQ DX or have long qso's. Its a growing cancer amongst the "amateur radio fraternity" and its spreading. Seeking refuge in the microwave bands is one option, but I know my measely flex1500 is up to the job. I usually tell the zoo that I can put down more filters than they can with carriers and they will move on to someone else, but I digress. Flex would have done better to push its transceiver from the 1500 upwards , to the masses. As you said 11 towers is like saying I am running 10kw. Meaningless
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Why is it necessary to disparage other ham's interest in the pursuit of your own?

One could easily disparage all ham activity...
  • Contesting - meaningless, clogs up the bands (except WARC but never mind)
  • DX'ing - for the elite, clogs up the bands, meaningless (and most QRMers are from the US)
  • ESSB - pointless, ham radio is not broadcasting
  • Rag chewing - epitome of banal conversation (ailments, surgical procedures, aches, pains)
  • Emergency response - heck, who wants an AMATEUR doing that?
  • Experimentation - nobody builds anything any more why bother?
  • ...
ALL WRONG as ALL HAVE A PLACE.

For FlexRadio to thrive, they have to break out from the no-knob, SDR as a fad meme and become mainstream.

That's where the money is - Contesters and DX'ers spend money and buy a rig more than once every 7 years.

A forum for SDR experimentation and discussion is a wonderful idea and kudos for you bringing it up.

Stu K6TU
(Edited)
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k0eoo

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Comments like Mike's leave me quite speechless....  Flex is trying to grow there market and this Dayton's theme is "Contesting"; so whats wrong with that!!  Next year it might be networking and so on....  WE are all winners if Flex is able to grow there market....  And by the way, I'm not a contester and I think what they're doing is GREAT.....  Dennis, k0eoo
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Dan -- KC4GO

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It's funny I don't do much of any of the normal ham stuff .

  • A little Digital mostly listen
  • I check in to a net 2 to 3 times a week
  • Play with antennas 
  • Trying to figure out how to improve my Signal to Noise Ratio
  • Listen to short wave  
  • Of of the the 168 hours a week I may transmit 1 of them not all the same mode.
  • Oh and I might work a CW contact or 2 
Most of which is not part of what I find in CQ or QST but I still enjoy the magazines
 and still read all the posts on the community with great interest. After all I might learn something
Howard and Stu have all ready instanced my knowledge. I follow Ken's antenna exploits with intrest.

  
(Edited)
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Steve N4LQ

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Dan: You're part of the silent majority.
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Ok now...

4O3A and K9CT both built up great stations, 403A is a beacon and develops valuable hardware for station integration and more that we use building performance radio stations, K9CT not only is a great contester but uses his resources and skill to do things like handing out all time new ones from Navassa amongst many other projects.  Just because these guys have the resources to take things to a higher level than many doesn't make them less a ham.  In fact both of these operators regularly use their resources to give so much back to the entire community. Lets let them do the same with flex. 

It is a great honor to have these guys part of the community.  Bottom line, flex is making the right choices in the right places to not only boost sales but engage a community that will foster things like improved station integration, ease of use 3rd party application development, performance enhancements, and more.    If the power contest community adopts the flex platform, it will benefit everyone at all levels of operating and help Flex Radio lead the pack in transitioning the performance radio community into broad adoption of SDR.

There is something for everyone here.. no need to slam any particular community nor set an expectation that a particular platform will cater to 1 particular subset of the hobby.  That would signify a narrow vision.  This was quite the opposite and is a very smart move.   

Great job Gerald and team.  Keep up the good work.  and keep thinking outside the box.

Chris Tate

N6WM

Chairman, California QSO Party

ARRL Assistant Section Manager for DX and Contesting East Bay section

Past President, Northern California Contest Club

Flex Signature series owner, user and supporter.



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Mike Whatley

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As I said, Flex can market as they wish. I find their choices to be the same tired practices that have existed in the hobby for decades.  I would offer that a creative marketing campaign that is more inclusive could be just as effective. But we'll never know, because Flex (and probably correctly) chose the predictable path.

Disparaging other parts of the hobby is part of the culture. It has existed  as long as I can remember. At age 15 in 1965 I recall listening to 75meter a.m. where AMers  conducted a "Slop Bucket War" against SSB users. It was amusing and fun for a Novice teenage to listen to!  And variations of it go on to this day. So what?

I don't know what Flex's market share is. There is no data available like for almost every other industry and product line. It's a weird business.  We have credible data that Apple sold 75 million iPhones, but can't find out whether Kenwood sold 4,000 TS -990's or Flex sold 643 6700's.  

That said, I care little for whether Flex "breaks out" and "thrives".  That's the beauty of the disruptive era we live in. I like their product line. But if they were to fail. I'd move on to another platform.  If there is a need, someone will fill it. 

Who wants stability? It's sooo yesterday.   Laughs!

Cheers

mike/wa4d
(Edited)
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Simon Lewis

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Mike we have the same sad disparaging here in NZ. A friend of mine recently upgraded his 6m station .. new yagis.. 1KW amp etc. He happened to mention this to some locals one night and the howls of discontent was incredible ... I think the comment of "wow I'd keep that quiet if I was you" was most puzzling. So improving your station to gain ground over the locals is viewed with disdain. Sadly a very NZ trait ... called Tall Poppy Syndrome here ... if you're out front setting the pace and doing well ... well that's just not on :)  I have been licenced since I was 14 ... teh funniest thing I ever heard in the hobby was someone selling up .... "I've done everything" he said ... really? I think I could have 3 lifetimes and still not DO everything :) The great thing about the hobby is it can be anything you want or do not want ... there is no one niche... which is great .. so diverse .. so challenging ... SDR is just one facet .. but one is never better than the other .. just different :)

Cheers Simon ZL4PLM
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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Well, Mike, the world is an open oyster. What are you holding this year at Dayton  to promote your world-view?

I could not disagree with your compliments given in your opinion piece but could not disagree more with your conclusions.

Flex has not paid 1/100th the attention to the contesting community that competitors like Elecraft and Icom have over the years. In my opinion, they have done a good balance between casual experimentors and mature operators. Personally, I think, like automobile racing, contesting involvement by a rig manufacturer is needed because they learn so much from being on that edge (and especially analying the failures).

We have all benefited by the mentoring presence of Stu, K6TU, in the Flex family as he is always pushing to do "a bit more" with his Flex's than the radio can currently do. This is how you continue to proress "early-mature" products and he has been great. K9CT is another that is trying to help out integrating the Flex contesters.

I am not sure I will be there this year but in my opinion, this looks like the very best banquet yet from Flex!
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Steve W6SDM

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Mike must have accidentally put salt in his breakfast cereal this morning.  Either that or he got hold of a bad Easter egg.

I am a contester and a DXer.  I also had a very long rag chew with a ham that I had never met before last night.  So long it was that the XYL asked me why I never had conversations like that with her.  The only thing he knew about the Flex was what he had seen in QST.  He didn't contest and wasn't into DX despite the fact he's got a TH-11 on a 75-foot tower.  Nevertheless, we had a lot in common.  It's the brotherhood of amateur radio.

There are many facets to amateur radio.  You can enjoy the ones that appeal to you and ignore the rest.  However, to criticize them simply because you don't understand or like them really isn't doing anyone any good.  There are those who think SDR is cheating and those who think DX clusters are cheating.  When Doctor Christiaan Barnard did the first heart transplant, some said that was cheating.  After all, why can't we just die when we're supposed to.

Amateur radio is inclusive, not exclusive.
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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I can remember when I was a young man and worked in a record store in Savannah. There was this young kid, whose name I cannot remember, always came in and said that Jimi Hendrix could not play worth a damn. Just cannot remember his name at all.

Moral of story is that you get the ability to be listened to with respect gained by accomplishment.
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Mike Whatley

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Neal....Most of the Ham Radio population are living in the analog past. And in my view they are irrelevant to contemporary life.  I cannot tell you how many Hams I have worked on the air who proudly and defiantly tell me they only have a flip phone. No smart device!  These men (and they are exclusively middle aged to elderly men) are disconnected from the explosion of the app information culture.  Smart phones and the myriad of information stream apps are now as important to civic participation and understanding as radio was during WWII. It's not an option. This is a "known unknown" (With respect to Former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld)

 In the previous era, the ability to be listened to was indeed based on the currency of "respect" gained by accomplishment or marketing/advertising and publishing. Traditional  propagandists  were often people with many titles (Like Chris Tate, N6WM  Chairman of this, President of that, Assistant to somebody.) Members of   Vertical bureaucracies with self important titles that often carried weight in the swaying of opinion or endorsement of various practices or products.  That era and it's methods are obsolete. With the rise of social Media, globalized communications and the ability to reach anyone/anywhere, being "listened to" is now based on the message. It's validity. And how it is conveyed.  The pomposity of many vertical bureaucracies have been exposed for what they are. And media manipulation of the message is now far more difficult to conceal.  ( Hello Bill O"Reilly and Brian Williams!  Laughs!)

Technologists in the USA developed instant messaging and all of the top tier Social Media platforms, yet the Islamic State has used these tools with superior methods to drive their vile message artfully forcefully and globally.  More than one American high level policy maker has lamented of late that the ISIL forces have mastered what our team seemingly cannot. So it's not about WHO is delivering the message. But how effectively their message is conveyed and through what distribution channel.

Just what is the "accomplishment" you refer to.  Screaming into a microphone and making 500,000 contacts is an "accomplishment"?  I say no.


BTW.... How much do you think Flex is paying these "World Class" hams to speak at this event? .   Flex Radio Systems is a remarkably transparent company. Perhaps they will tell us?  

If Flex were to "broadcast" the World class speakers at the banquet via Meerkat or Periscope you and others could watch in real time.

 But oh wait! That requires a Smart Phone!!

Cheers,

mike/wa4d.net 
(Edited)
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Simon Lewis

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Mike .. for the record .. SMS/Text Messaging was NOT invented by the US .. it was invented by Hillebrand while working for Deutsche Telekom and followed through standardisation under the GSM group. The first SMS service was run under the UK's Racal/Airtouch service .. now called Vodafone :)  MMS was further developed by GSM and the ETIS and Open Mobile Alliance mostly driven by Nortel and Nokia. I worked for Vodafone throughout the explosion of 3G/UMTS/4G and it was an incredible time for software development .. things have come a long long way .. I remember thinking at the time ... we haven't seen anything yet... I never realised at the time HOW much it was going to change the world :)
(Edited)
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Mike Whatley

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Yes Simon in my irrational exuberance, I overstepped. By that I meant the Texting apps of the current period , POST SMS... that of AOL instant messenger, Yahoo, and the many in app "chat" capabilities that now exist thanks much in part to the pioneers you list.  Thank YOu for the correction.

Cheers
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Steve W6SDM

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The later is if you're  a beta tester at Pfizer, makers of the "little blue pill".  :)
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Simon Lewis

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Burt ... in your opinion .. in his opinion it is an achievement .. the fact is that both viewpoints are valid .. for you and for him - that's what makes the hobby so fun :)
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Ken - NM9P

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In my job as a pastor, I talk to a lot of people, some for longer than others, depending upon the situation.  After services, when I am in the "Handshake line" greeting folks on their way out, I do not enter into lengthy conversations about controversial issues, nor do I discuss someone's objections to the trustees decisions about the paint scheme of the women's restroom.  If someone wants to chat for a longer period of time I ask them to stand b y until I have greeted everyone, or make an appointment for a longer conversation.  For someone to insist upon monopolizing my time just because THEY want to would be rude to all the others who wish to be greeted.  However, if someone has a crisis, I will ask one of my other church leaders to take over the greeting and allow me to deal with someone who needs me.  Are my brief greetings shallow and lacking in significance?  Yes and no.  They are important acknowledgement of others presence.  They establish rapport that may open the door for deeper conversation later.

I see Amateur Radio contacts in much the same way.  There are times for lengthy rag chews, and there are times for quick contacts.  For me to insist upon a lengthy contact with a rare DX station just because I have an aversion to "quickie" contacts would be the height of arrogant rudeness.  To expect everyone to engage in every conversation with equal depth is not only unrealistic, but disrespectful to the legitimate preferences of others.

Are there rude contesters who do not respect people who are already on a frequency before they fire up a CQ?  Certainly.  Are their rude rag chewers who just fire up on "their" frequency when a DXer or contester is there?  Yes!  And on 75 Meters, my group has almost nightly problems with a group that simply fires up when they think it is "their" time,  without so much as a "would you mind if we begin our net (or rag chew club) in half an hour?"   We would gladly move if they asked courteously, or they could politely wait until we are finished.  We usually occupy the frequency from 8 pm to 10 pm, no longer.  But there are two groups, one above and one below, that start tuning up, whistling at us, or just start talking over us for half an hour before their net is supposed to begin, in an effort to force us off of "their" frequency.    My point is that rudeness and disrespect are all too common on the amateur bands.  Most of the time it begins when one person or group begins to think that THEIR favorite activity is superior to the activities and interests of others, and that THOSE people or interests do not deserve access to the spectrum.

Ken - NM9P
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Ken

As per usual you are the voice of wisdom....
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DrTeeth

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Ken, you have sadly summed up the modern world. Unfortunately, every country has that class of people who cannot live and let live and ruin it for others.
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Bob Craig, K8RC

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The greatest part of this hobby is that it IS so inclusive. In my 49 years as a ham, I've handled traffic, rag chewed, contested, scratch-built my own single sideband exciter, chased DX, worked RTTY with a computer I built from the chips, experimented with satellites and now explore the possibilities of SDR with a nice little box I got from these guys.

Some times, ham radio HAS been my lifestyle. Even my high school sweetheart knew I was going to be unavailable for one weekend in November for SS-CW. I still have the picture of her logging for me at Field Day.(Yes, she's now my XYL)

Other times, I have gone a few years with nothing but a few repeater QSOs to my credit. You can even ignore the hobby entirely for a while and it will be there when time and resources permit.

If a SSB contest is clogging up the bands, call CQ on RTTY. If a DXpedition has a pileup parked somewhere, move. The spectrum display makes finding a clear spot a snap.

The point is, our hobby is what you make it. The actions and attitudes of the people manufacturing the radios don't set the possibilities, YOU do.

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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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Mike

Knowing the company is I think I do, You might be the one surprised at how much they are paying the presenters. My suspicion is exactly what youl would pay them if they appeared at your house (ie, a good dinner or the closest the hotel can come to it!).

I agree that diversity of activities is the pure joy of the hobby, really active hams might not actually get on the air much at all (I have 2 friends who are building a 40M moxon antenna right now and its a huge project involving a lot of people who will never use it personally).

So the question is: what the heck are you really trying to say:Flex isn't pushing the technology edge hard enough by  playing it safe to all these contester/dxers?

I just don't know what you expect a company in  the business to sell SDRs to be doing?

Have you been to one of their banquets? It sounds like you want a SDR convention instead of what the purpose of the dinner is. The dinner has "experts/representatives" distributed so there is at least one per dinner table, allowing for some "low pressure" q/a time and general fellowship before the meal, then after the meal abt 1 hour of presentation. Usually Flex provides no concrete information on the next releases/new radios but during the Q/A they often tell more by saying "we can't tell you" then if they answered the original question.

The other thing beneficial about the dinner is seeing the FLex guys themselves. All the conspiracy theorists, etc. cannot compete with just how nice/kind/smart these guys are. Its hard to imagine other companies being this transparent.

Mike, you might consider going to the ARRL Digital Convention, its more in depth, has more than Flex and you get a real breadth of how far the envelope is being pushed.

As far as ISIL is concerned, wrong thread/forum.
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M0JUE

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(Edited)
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Simon Lewis

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yup .. actually I am having a long standing argument with a friend of mine around the 2.x upgrade . - He cannot see that for Flex to develop SSDR further they are paying developers and investing in tools/platforms to do so. As a certified PM (PMP) and certified Scrum Master working in a front line software dev team, I know how much a sprint costs to run and how much dev hours that equals to. He has some idea that  is some kind of insidious fee structure that will somehow pop out to a full time "pay or your radio is worthless" approach. He also works in IT so bizzare how he should think that but ... his view (he's not  flex owner) is that somehow Flex should not be allowed to make substantial profit on their investment. I argued how is this different from Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood charging $ for their radios that inc's that cost, Or charge $150 bucks for a TCXO board, or $100 for a voice recorder that prob cost a few bucks to make. But he's not having it. Yes the model is different, well not to me in the IT world, Software as a Service (SaaS) isn't new, but for amateurs it is. Bottom line is why do people see Flex as not being able to decide how they make money and even the type of activities they can carry out to do so? All a bit odd!   
(Edited)
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Steve W6SDM

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Guys like that give me the urge to scratch my... um... head.  :)
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Simon Lewis

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did you forget to take your meds or something .. seesh talk about chip on your shoulder .. try gardening it will make you feel better
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Simon Lewis

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you have gone out of your way to be aggressive, nasty and insulting in just about all the emails I can see ... your youtube page isn't much better - as has been pointed out to you .. there are opinions on both sides .. you only want to see yours .. backed up with a tirade of insults to reinforce you don't like contests .. you don't like the fact others have a differing opinion - too bad - accepting others facets of radio is a fact of life - get used to it - at the moment you sound like an A typical grumpy old ham!
 
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Please take the feuding elsewhere. 

No matter if you are jovial or morose,  way off topic and unconstructive.

Baiting is never pretty, and we all can do better.

73

Steve K9ZW


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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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What is off topic is your calling contesters "liars" and basically deriding their participation in the hobby.  Opinions that have nothing to do with the upcoming Banquet, FRS or DXing. 

We should take discussing contesting as a good or bad thing somewhere else, as it has nothing to do with the Guest Speakers, and is really not germane to the FRS community.

I remain exceptionally interested in hearing what Ranko and Craig have to share with the FRS Banquet crowd. 

If you're not interested, that is fine.  It is your right, though once you've had your say that should be the end of the thread for you.

I must be pretty rotten in a few folks books, as I enjoy contesting, DXing, and Ragchewing.  Guess I just kind of like the variety this hobby offers - and all the people one gets to meet through it.

Swinging back to Dayton - I am so very curious what FRS has in store for the dinner.  Maybe I am expecting too much, but I'll enjoy the run up in anticipation nonetheless!

truly 73,

Steve K9ZW



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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Burt,

Why are you being so miserable?  

I have gone so far out of the way to hint and encourage your participation on topic, hoping to help you not only "un-hijack" the topic, but to agree to amiably disagree. 

Some of this stuff not only will we never agree on, but stepping away it doesn't even matter.  

I value my radio friends, you included.

Wish you were imagining the possibilities I'm seeing behind this upcoming FRS event.

As for good/bad parts of the hobby, we're in a bad part... real bad, as we're not even on the air nor are we having a conversation that leaves either of us the better for having it.

If I've peeved you, I'll buy the first beer at Dayton.  My guess is that I already owe a few folk a round, and would happily include you in it.

If you can make Dayton, it will have to be another time.  

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Steve W6SDM

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One ham thinks that contesters are rude and their 5x9 reports are lies.  So, we do away with contesting.

Another ham decides that DXers have expensive radios, high power amps, and huge antennas.  That's not fair because not everyone can afford one and they're at the disadvantage in the pile-ups.  So, we limit QSOs to a 500-mile radius of one's QTH and power to 100 watts.

A guy comes in who says Morse code is archaic and annoying to listen to.  Since there isn't a license code requirement, there shouldn't be any band allocations either.  CW goes away too.

This leaves plenty of bandwidth for crotchety old men to host nets that talk about their hernia surgery and medical treatment to cure toenail fungus.  Problem is, as old age sets in these guys start dropping like flies and there's nobody to take their place.

If there were to be a apocalypse of the amateur radio hobby,  this is probably how it would happen.
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John

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If radio amateurs are lying about signal strengths, then what else do they lie about ?
The readibilty segment of the 59 is also very important as its an indicator of speech quality and intelligibility. How many stations have I not heard with 59 reports and their audio is well over driven and splattering across my waterfall display and this is coming from everyone across the board, the leaners to the advanced respectable people out here. Something is not right
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DrTeeth

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I can see the point in giving 59 in contests as it speeds up the QSO rate especially when the other end is expecting it. Outside of contests, I give true reports.
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Ken - NM9P

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In a contest the report is an "exchange" originally an honest signal report, but yes, it has evolved (or perhaps de-volved) into the "contest 59" or "contest 599."
In high volume competition contesting, this is acceptable to me because the other half or two-thirds of the report is the more meaningful part of the exchange anyway.  It is concrete fact, but a signal report is highly subjective....What does a signal strength of 9 really mean?  S-9?  20 over?  40 over?  Based upon whose S-meter standards?  There are many different "standards" for meter readings.  It is with the preamp on or off?  On a flex, the preamp doesn't change the S-meter reading, but on my old TS-850, it added 20 sB to the reading,  What does a 57 really mean?  S-7?  or is it a percentage based, not on an exact signal strength, but upon a comparison to usual signal strengths experienced on that band?  Is it a percentage of maximum strength vs. strength above the noise level, which is very different on 6 meters that on 160 Meters.  

So what does an "honest" report mean?  In a contest, or merely on a busy 75 Meter band during "rush hour," does a Readability of only 3 or 4 mean you are garbled because you are over processed, or difficult to copy because there is so much static (QRN) or interference (QRM)?

In a contest, the signal report doesn't really give that much useful information, nor does it reveal accurate propagation patterns of the band or performance of the antenna system.  The only thing that is truly indicative is the volume of contacts.  Software has been written that will plot a contester's log and compare time, frequency and rate and does some sophisticated analysis based upon these bits of concrete information.  The only way that a signal report would be helpful would be requiring a "true" signal strength such as Flex's "-dBm" levels on our meters and pan scopes.  then the exchange could be "thanks, you're -73 in Indiana."

Or perhaps the exchange could be:  "Your report is -89 dBm, garbled due to hypercompression, and your 1K and 2K EQ is low.  I would be able to pull you out a little easier but there are 6 other stations trying to call you at the same time as well as the XE3 2 KHz below and the 6Y5 1.5 KHz above you. If I cross-polarize  my antenna I can get an additional 3 dB of strength on your signal during the occasional ionospheric phase rotation....."  But then this wouldn't be a contest exchange.  It would, however, be a nice rag chew between two friends who are experimenting with antennas and speech processors. 

Frankly, I have engaged in both kinds of operating, each in their own time and place.  They are both enjoyable to me.  They each have their own value as part of promoting the technical art of Amateur Radio.  Yes, it is a technical art, not merely a conversational art.  It encompases a wide variety of activities, each with their own purpose, whether they are enjoyed or hated by other practitioners.  

Even complaining, griping and moaning is part of the communications art of amateur radio.  I know some hams on 75 meters who could win a gold medal in this aspect of the "sport!"  Some of them are crusty old farts, but I love them anyway.  Sometimes they are fun to listen to, and occasionally it is fun to verbally spar with them.  But when it starts to get personal and disrespectful, i exercise my VFO control.  Life's too short to get upset about dumb stuff!

So folks.... Have a good debate, even an energetic or heated one, but let's not get personal.  That serves no purpose.    And if you're a crusty old fart that just loves to argue, I'll buy you a coke at Dayton and spar with you, one old fart to another, as long as you buy me one too and we leave as friends.

73 - Ken - NM9P
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Ken - NM9P

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Burt,
1) When I was in High School, the Chess Team was also considered a sport, and a person could receive a Varsity letter for it, also for the "Brain Game team."  This was disparaged by the Jocks, especially some of the football players who considered that the only true sport was busting heads on the gridiron.  In my wider definition of "sport" there is room for many things, some of them are physically strenuous, others mentally challenging, all of them involving skill, intellect (more or less) strategy, physical or mental endurance, teamwork, and other attributes that are common in what others call the "true" sports.  Who would have though that running around the floor trailing a long ribbon was a sport?  Or curling - sliding a rock across the ice and directing its path with brooms?  But once you watch it in them, both can be admired for their skill and/or artistic expression.  (BTW, I was on the Chess Team for a season, but got bored, and instead got into Ham Radio and playing the guitar.  I did, however play baseball from the time I could hold a bat until I was 17 years old and too old for the Babe Ruth Leagues.  I didn't play varsity HS baseball because I was too involved in Ham Radio, Music, and other adventures)

2) Nowadays, as an article referenced elsewhere in this post, the "signal report" serves more as a preamble to the more important part of the exchange and is part of the game, and accepted my most of the players.  There are many contests that have different kinds of exchanges, like the Stew Perry 160 contest, or most of the VHF/UHF contest that exchange Maidenhead grid squares, and Idea that I like, because the scoring is based upon distance in relatively equally divided sections, making it more fair.  The ARRL Sweepstakes has a very long exchange that includes a sequential serial number, power indication, repeat of the callsign, date of issue of ham license, etc.  It makes for a more interesting contest.  But Those are the rules established.  Other contests have different rules.  If they had a contest that required verifiable signal strength data in -dBm I am sure some would love it and others would hate it.  Some would find a way to transfer the signal strength into the logging program via the API and just read it off.  Others would say that this is cheating and insist that the operator should be required to actually observe the S-meter directly and give that report with no automation.  But whatever the rules are, or evolve into, that is the way that the game will be played.  As long as most of the people play by the rules.

Gee, I could protest that American "football" is all a lie, too, because they hardly ever actually kick the ball.  But the rules have changed over the years, some for the better, some to the detriment of the game, some for player safety, some for fan enjoyment.
But I still love the Indianapolis Colts.  (And the Chicago Cubs for that matter, so my intellect, or my sanity, may still be a matter of opinion!)

Some don't appreciate contesting at all.  Some get way too competitive and cheat (c'mon, it IS just a game.)  Others find it a great way to develop first class stations and hone operating skills.  For me, if I hadn't run some CW contests back in the early 80's I may never have gotten past the 20 WPM and gotten my Extra.  The momentary pressure, but insignificant risk of embarrassment, of diving in "over my head" in a 30-35 WPM Morse Code furrball gave me the psychological encouragement to push ahead.  I saw my copy speed go up and the accompanying reduction of stress go down.  When you have been duking it out in a CW contest or DX pileup for several hours, a 5 minute code test is nothing!

Ken - NM9P
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Bill -VA3WTB

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While I do find Burt's comments to be a little on the sharp side I do see his point. It is not fair that non contesters have to move to a dead band or shut their radios off because they are chased off. If there was a contest a few times a year? but almost every weekend. Every state has one, that's a lot of contest. It would be nice if something could be worked out so all can enjoy.

Oh I suppose we are getting a little off topic, as for the Ham Fest speakers? I never feel it is my place to critisize Flex in what they decide not being in their shoes. I'm sure they make plans for things with reasons that most of us have little info on...
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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I for one am VERY KEEN to hear what Ranko 4O3A and Craig K9CT have to say to the FlexRadio System's crowd. 

Put into context these two gentlemen are skipping the Dayton Contest Dinner Saturday night to speak to us at the FlexRadio System Dinner.

We should be VERY curious what interesting things they have to say. 

As for armchair quarterbacking of FRS Marketing, whatever points might have been worth discussing got loss in negativism -  we can do better!

If Ranko and Craig are willing to give up their time to present, I am sure willing to give up my time to go listen. 

I'll happily buy them dinner myself if just to enjoy their company.

See you there!

73

Steve K9ZW

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DrTeeth

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I think Mike has a point. It is a bit like saying that somebody who has a garage full of expensive sports cars is a much better driver than somebody who drives a clapped out 25 year old clunker - it does not follow.
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Mark Griffin

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I myself operate in the contests. Plus all around other Ham Radio operations. I don't have a Flex radio as of yet. I currently use an Elecraft K3 for both day to day ham radio as well as contesting. There are some who feel that the Flex is not a contest grade radio. I have no opinion on that because I don't have one. I would love to see presentations such as what will be in Dayton to show the contest worthiness of the Flex. I go out on youtube looking for Flex radio/contest video's but don't really see much of anything. I say bravo to Flex for expanding their marketing!
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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I think we can stick a fork in this one and call it Done!
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Mike Whatley

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Hell I thought it was "Done" about 2 hours after I posted it Neal!  Laughs.
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Lewis Cheek

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Mike, how is the weather :)
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Mike Whatley

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Laughs. Dawggone you Lewis!  And without a call sign too!

Cheers
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Lewis Cheek

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Sorry about that Mike, it's N4CO. No lids, no space cadets, no one sucking down Social Security. Can't say that since I'm on the check of month club now. Nice to see you're still around. Was not the same in N.VA when you moved. I do know how you like to discuss the weather.

Where you hanging your hat now, last I read was that great liberal town, Charlottesville ?
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Joe, KQ1Q

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Re the notion that contesters giving 59 reports are "liars", here is some thoughtful commentary by AD5ST examining both sides of the issue: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&...
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Lewis Cheek

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If somehow ( maybe they do ) Flex could insert the true signal report into contest signal report it would be so nice. I'm just too lazy to change it myself, so just go along with the 599,5NN or even ENN exchange. :)
(Edited)
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Walt

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Not to change the "Contest or not to Contest" debate. . .

But what I found more interesting is that I did a quick look at the web sites for both these stations and did not see a single Flex radio (or did I miss something?)

So perhaps the presentations will be "Why I dumped $50,000 dollars worth radios into the recycle bin and replaced everything with Flex ?" 

Or maybe just "You can contest no matter what radio you have". (as long as you transmit 50 KW ERP)

Anyway - I was more interested in the radios and setups they use to make the big scores.   Since I cannot afford to go to Dayton, I will be looking for a summary or two on here afterwards.

Back to running 20 watts to my 30 ft. wire hidden in a tree behind the condo . . . . ready to Search and Pounce !

 
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Ken - NM9P

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As much as I may enjoy the mental and verbal sparring on the subject of contesting (and my apologies to the group if I participated in hijacking the thread)  Back to the main topic....

I am sure that these two guys have assembled first class stations and that they may have a lot to teach any ham, including Flexers, about the adventure of assembling high performance antennas, audio clarity, reducing grounding and RF problems, designing the layout of a station for ergonomic efficiency, safety, and other things in general relating to operating a cutting edge Amateur radio station.

Whether or not you agree with their favorite way of enjoying the hobby, there is probably a great deal to be learned from their experience.  They have done things in the hobby that most of us never even dream of attempting.  Besides that, they might even be entertaining!  I hope my schedule will allow me to join the party.  Right now things look a little sketchy.

Ken - NM9P
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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It is time to close this thread.
(Edited)

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.