Jim's GAZETTE Newsletter #122


Newsletter #122
20 May 2002

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any and all interested
parties, or to reproduce it in
any publication. All we ask is that you give credit where it is due.

SHORT NOTES: W6SKC a silent key. You may not recognize the call, but Hank
was the owner of Dovetron. Joe K0BX remembers him and his products
and describes them, even now, as good as any. Others second the motion.
KH9 is on the air as KH9/K7ASU. Terry will be there for the entire month of
May. QSL to his home call. All modes.
Do you need an amp? Some think so, some think not! Among the 'nots,' Chen
AA6TY says 'High power is only useful for working stations you can't print!'
Now there is a basic truth from a guy who deals in basic truths.
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission for those outside the USA) sent me
a two page letter dated March 14. At the bottom of page two, I figured
out that they were telling me that I needed a password to access the FCC
page. And, furthermore, that I would be receiving the password in a separate
letter. Nothing yet, but then I just renewed my license so I don't need to
access the site until 2007!
Insurance contacts. No, not with your insurance agents. Rather with those
rare DX stations that come up once in a blue moon. Doug N6TQS expounds on
the subject-and his experience is enough to insure that we listen carefully!
Doug says, 'They remain (those insurance contacts) a DX fact of life, and
remain controversial simply because each occasion removes one opportunity
from a finite number of potential contacts. And . . . too often it's the
with the big power and array who makes it. The CY0 group, for example,
reported that 20% of all contacts coming from one particular country were
Bill K2NJ reports on a W8 call who worked the DX four times a day just to
show the world he could do it!' But, Doug cautions that there is an
justification for the contact. That's not the only problem. He goes on to say
that 'On RTTY, we lost less to dupes than to ops who send the DX call 3
their call 6 times then PSE PSE K K K BTU. Then when I call him he says my
call twice, 599 three times, his call once and then TNX FOR NEW ONE OM
TIME/DATE SK SK SK diddle-diddle-diddle, etc etc etc.' All of this means a
lot of stress and many decisions for the DX operator. They can and do get
angry but it rarely shows. Doug swears that he composes a black list for
future reference . . . but it always gets destroyed with no action taken. God
On the other side of the coin, Randy WX5L sent along a few remarks from
Francois who, as a brand new RTTY op from 3XY had this to say. ' I was even
amazed how disciplined RTTY nuts were. Every time I called one station all
the other ones stopped transmitting until I acknowledged the report from the
station I called. Very efficient. That's why I could achieve 70 QSO per hour.
Well, just 3 words to conclude. I love RTTY.' Nice job, Francois!!
We landed at LaGuardia on Wednesday 15 May in brisk winds. So, without too
many damaging incidents, we have transplanted ourselves to New York
for the summer. It will, by common consent, be the last time we make the
jaunt. From 2003 on we will be full-time Floridians. As usual, the New York
spring is a gorgeous display. However, we were hardly ready for the very
chilly (almost frost) temperatures yesterday morning-and snow not too many
miles to the north. Come on, already!

Technical papers are solicited for presentation to the 21st Annual ARRL/TAPR
Digital Communications Conference. Dates are September 13-15 and the
place is Denver, CO. Email your paper to Maty Weinberg at maty@arrl.org. The
website is www.tapr.org/dcc. Among the topics, under the heading 'HF
Digital Modes,' may be (and I'm only guessing) a lively discussion about
Pactor III. If not, there should be.
Let's finish the notes with a lighter note. Sigi DJ3NG proposes some new
classes for ALL contests. And, as you think about his proposal, you must
the ideas have merit. For those hams who go the full 48 hours without a
break, he suggests 'SOAB(nsfm)=NO SLEEP, FREE MONDAY.' (Probably SO2R's
as well!). On the other side of the coin, for those who tend to fall asleep
at the controls and get their regular rest, the class would be
CLASS.' In my judgment, the SC's are entitled to a handicap. Hi! Shelby K4WW
vows he's going to enter the SNORE class if we don't cut down on the
number of RTTY contests during the sleepy side of the propagation cycle. In
the last contest he says, 'Saw two stations of 10M, worked them both. One of
40M, worked him. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.'

Reams of Emails followed the last column's discussion regarding Pactor III.
The subject could be enlarged, discussed, cussed, picked apart and put back
together for the next several months. But the time has come to put the issue
to the test, to the real world of HF use . . . not only to measure the new
and its characteristics, and the damage it does to other, less robust modes,
but to see if it has any value to the amateur community. Let the doubts or
claims stand aside as we all gather to judge the ultimate merit.

The last word on the subject relates to the Pactor III rules established by
the Winlink community. The group says (thanks to Steve K4CJX), 'Each PMBO
has a choice of two frequencies which they may scan but share in an organized
fashion. Because the vast majority of users are US calls, we have
restricted these Pactor III channels to the auto sub-bands. They are shared
and so arranged as to create minimum interference between them.'

What about those MBO's outside the Winlink span of control? Steve concludes,
'Your guess is as good as mine, but I would imagine they are far and few
between. All those lists are full of inactive MBO's and we have not supported
the old Winlink in over three years now.'

Okay, the rules seem clear. Now, as I crumple up and discard over 50 pages of
Email printouts, I am tired of the subject, hopeful about a friendly
outcome, but wary because that great big bear is now wading around in that
little pond which is filled with thousands of small, defenseless fish. Only
will tell.

73 de Jim N2HOS: GAZETTE at www.n2hos.com/digital

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