Re: History lesson

Ray Clements is a good site for tracking mode activity on the various bands.
 For the past 24 hours, In the past 24 hours, there were only 18 active monitors running PSK31. Sixteen of those monitors were on the 20 meter band and most of the signals recorded were from USA, Canada, and Europe. There were only a few signals reported from Mexico, the Caribbean,  South America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceana.

RTTY shows even less activity with only 6 monitors with most signals being in Europe and Japan. There is some activity in North-East USA.

On the other hand, there were 143 active monitors on FT4 and 3282 on FT8. There is significant FT8 activity even on bands such as 60 meters that seldom see PSK activity. Thus, it is fair to say that FT4 and FT8 have effectively "replaced" PSK and RTTY as the modes of choice during the current period of poor propagation conditions. That is not in any way implying that FT4 and FT8 are "better" than PSK and RTTY. It is only an indication that the FT modes are capable of sending and receiving signals under propagation conditions so poor that the PSK and RTTY modes have limited utility, especially for making DX contacts.

We are in the waning days of Solar Cycle 24 with Cycle 25 expected to begin sometime later this year. Propagation is unlikely to improve during 2020, with the exception of sporadic occurrences.
Solar activity is predicted to improve between 2021 and 2025 before it starts to decline again. At some point during this time the FT modes are likely to become too sensitive for the propagation conditions unless people cut back to QRP power levels. During this time PSK activity is likely to return to the levels seen during the 2013-2014 peak of Cycle 24. However, as Cycle 25 starts its decline after 2025, there will come a time in when the FT modes  (with whichever variants are available at that time) will once again become useful and PSK is likely to fall out of favor once again.

If your station is capable of making contacts on PSK under poor conditions, that is wonderful. However, many comments on this forum reveal a high level of frustration due to poor conditions. If you cannot make contacts using PSK, use whatever modes are at your disposal.


------ Original Message ------
Received: 04:10 AM CDT, 05/06/2019
From: "William Schwiegeraht via Groups.Io" <bswag@...>
Subject: Re: [070Club] History lesson

Well, in all fairness to the author, he didn't write an article on the death of PSK31: He wrote an article on Frequency Calibration, so i'm not sure that his lack of sources took away from his primary subject.  He did not claim that PSK31 was dead, nor RTTY for that matter.  The word "replaced" was used in the context of being the most popular digital mode at present.  One would have to be deaf when parked on the dial frequency of each mode on multiple bands to not notice that fact.  None of this is to say that PSK, RTTY, or any other mode doesn't have its place in amateur radio - it's all about finding one's interest and pursuing it!  RIght now, FT8 has captured the interest of lots of hams.

Bill, N8KSG

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