Big Island ARRL News, 04 November 2017, 0610 UTC, Post #360.
Author: HQ, ARRL, Newington, CT, 06111.
Accessed on 04 November 2017, 0610 UTC.
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Big changes are coming to the Amateur Radio Community, largely thanks to the proliferation of digital modes and other weak signal enhancing technologies. HQ ARRL believes the “wave” of digital modes “has changed the atmosphere of the HF bands”, making it possible to contact stations even in the worst of atmospheric conditions. Traditional modes such as CW, SSB, AM, and FM require more personal interaction and effort on the part of radio amateurs to maintain contact.
Some radio amateurs are wondering if FT8 and its digital cousins signal the end of one era and the beginning of a new, more minimalist age.
Joe Taylor (K1JT), who developed several early digital modes, believes that FT8 and its related platforms are really “a dividing line between…digital modes and more traditional modes.” Taylor adds that FT8 is a special purpose mode that will supplement the traditional contest modes now in use:
“SSB and CW are general-purpose modes…They are good for ragchewing, DXing, contesting, emergency communications, or whatever. FT8 and the other modes in WSJT-X are special-purpose modes. They are designed for making reliable, error-free contacts using very weak signals — in particular, signals that may be too weak for the more traditional modes to be usable, or even too weak to hear.”
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