John Beckman - W4BTX HAM RADIO "A PAST TIME FOR A LIFETIME"W
I had a ham friend ask me last week if I was using FT8 or any of the WsPR modes, since the sun spot cycle is on the way up? And I told him, "No. I'm not interested in my copter taking to another ham's computer for a couple seconds. That is "somethiing" but to me it is not ham radio.".
Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against technology expanding exponentially. And, if a ham is merely interested in logging a lot of contacts, FT8 is the way to go. You could conceivably work DXCC in a weekend. So you do you, and I'll do me and we'll both gt what we want out of ham radio...
In fact, I'm all for improving technology, and ways for hams to use it. I've been a ham for 68 years. I started out a a Novice (WN4BTX). We were restricted to using crystals (no VFOs allowed) for transmit frequent. Hell,nobody had a bunch of crystals. So I would caall CQ" for a whole minute or so. Then I had to tune the whole band to see if anyone has respond. And the reverse was true. If I heard a CQ I had to call the guy on my frequency and hope he found me. It was a pain in the ass and I only made ONE contact as a Novice.
I got into Amateur Radio to "talk to human beings." So I spent my time improving my CW ability so I could get a General class licenses and do just that. (And I moved up the license ladder until I reached Extra Class in 1974. And I did all that work because "I wanted to talk to people." And I did - AM, CW, RTTY, VHf, PSK-31 and all sorts of digital modes.
Ham radio, for me, is a people-person method for me to learn about the ham I've contacted. I don't really care what rcvr, xmtr, and antenna he is using. I want that "personal" contact I get from talking to him. I'm interested in him or her and i want to know about their other hobbies, their families, where they go on vacations, what it is like in their part of the country or the world, etc.
And then I tell him or her about me. If I can engage someone in a conversation, I often find that we have a lot in common. When that happens we know each other pretty well and become e ham friends. In the future I'll be on the lookout for him or her and we can pick up where we 73d the last time.
Modes like FT8 allow hams with physical handicaps to at leasts utilize that expensive transceiver he bought. And, as I said, if one just wants to rack up contacts and a collection of callsigns - fine. That's your bag. For me, I will stick to the reason I got into this hobby 68 years ago I want to talk to PEOPLE.
Fortunately, although they are getting scarce, there are still some conversational hams out there. And those are the ones I'm looking for.
73 from John, W4BTX until next week. Take care and stay safe.