So what do ya think?


N3DQU@...
 

Here is an excerpt from Jim's Gazette NL#113, a web-based newsletter
courtesy of N2HOS. He writes mostly about RTTY, but every so often he has
something about PSK in his newsletters. You can subscribe to Jim's Gazette by
sending an email to < jem@n2hos.com >, just tell him you want to get on the
list. His comments on PSKer's are interesting, dontcha think? Jay N3DQU.

(start of excerpt)"...Speaking of DX, I continue to ponder the fate of
good-to-rare DX on the PSK31 frequencies. Maybe these ops just need a map.
Or, and this is the more likely
conclusion, they just don't share the ham's traditional interest in,
obsession or love affair with the subject of DX. The available evidence also
suggests they don't give a
damn about contests, either. Clearly this is a new breed of digital folk and,
while it is easy to make fun of their seemingly naïve approach to the digital
arena, the group
might be the best thing that has happened to us since the arrival of the
computer in the ham shack.

Allow me to illustrate just how serious this disinterest situation is. Two
days ago I tuned to 20 meters after a weeklong absence from the band. There
were 10-12
traces on the waterfall and, as usual, I clicked five or six of them in order
to get some idea of propagation. Image my surprise when, right in the middle
of the display, I
found an FK8 chatting away with a W7, delivering a solid signal into this
part of Florida. I couldn't wait for them to sign as the exchange full of
personal non-macro
information went on for several more minutes. Unheard of! Finally the moment
came when both signed. After a few seconds of silence I called the FK8 but he
chose
to go QRT and I missed out.

I called again and then remained on frequency for a few minutes to see if he
might come back with a 'QRZ,' but no such luck. Suddenly it dawned on me that
I was the
only station calling. Nobody else had seen the print or, if they did, care a
bit about making the contact. I watched for several more minutes to just to
make certain, all
the while shaking my head in disbelief.

So, I tuned down a few more Hz and there was another surprise. FR5HA was
calling CQ, calling CQ, and calling CQ. There were no takers during the time
I
watched, even though Joseph's signal was quite strong with fine print here.
It seemed that everybody else was too busy chatting away to even notice.

These keyboarders seem to have more interest in exploring the pure joy of
discovering new friends, regardless of location, than in the tightly focused
search for a new
country or a higher score. This just might lead to the restoration of the
lost art of conversation on the digital HF bands. My goodness, what an act of
heresy that would
be! HI

Some might say that they are not ignoring such opportunities, they simply
don't understand what digital modes are all about, that they are a bunch of
'newbies,' sort of
like a bunch of 'cb-ers.' I don't think so. I have a habit of eavesdropping
whenever I see that someone is making his or her first or second QSO in PSK.
Frequently
they explain that they are trying this new mode after long stints in CW or
SSB. Often it is an attempt to revive their interest in the hobby. Some are
coming back to a
digital mode after a long absence-one from the 'big iron' days of RTTY. But
I've copied few stories about being new to the hobby. My sample, of course,
is not very
scientific!

The lure of PSK to an experienced ham, though, is easy to understand. He/she
has a computer. The software is free. Voila! You're on the air with no
investment in
new gear or antennas. Exploration and experimentation has never been more
convenient!

Whatever the reason behind this unusual behavior, this phenomenal development
provides a major benefit to the digital portion of the spectrum. They are,
after all,
restoring round-the-clock usage to all our bands. 10-15-20 (and 6-12-17 as
well) are no longer glaring spots of inactivity except for those hours or
days when the DX
fanatics fire up and chase the new, new one (a temporary station on a distant
rock in one of the oceans) or when the contest gun-slingers fill the weekends
and bands
with thousands of two second exchanges. Nothing wrong with either pursuit,
but we old hands might profitably spend some time on the air chasing new PSK
contacts,
getting to know this new breed, getting back in the habit of normal,
extended, satisfying digital conversation. It was pure, unadulterated fun
back in the good old days .
. . and, you know what, it still is....." (end of excerpt).

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