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RE: [wsjtgroup] Random Hour or lack thereof

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  • Chet S
    All, Is WSJT cool? Yes. Is MS and RH fun? Yes. Are the ping jockey earwiggers cheerful, helpful and courteous? Yes So then what is it causing some decline in
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 3, 2010
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      All,

      Is WSJT cool? Yes.
      Is MS and RH fun? Yes.
      Are the ping jockey earwiggers cheerful, helpful and courteous? Yes
      So then what is it causing some decline in activity?

      I'll postulate from my own situation. It takes a lot of time to sit down
      every Sat and Sun morning for RH.
      Life nowadays is busy. Constantly new things are presented or something
      changes. If a new activity moves in, then something else must go.

      In my own situation, early last year we were caring for an aged and ailing
      parent. That meant we stayed at home a lot, and therefore there was more
      time for at-home things, especially things that could start and stop easily.
      When that parent passed away, then life changed again. Now trips could again
      be taken. A good old sailboat was acquired that needed some TLC and a lot of
      learning on our part. So this summer, at-home things like tower projects,
      gardens, and (sorry) RH's moved off of the discretionary to-do list. Now it
      is winter, the boat is on land, and garden and tower projects are not
      do-able. So RH's are again possible. Every week though? Dunno, life is not
      the same way it was..

      Another possibility is the journey can grab hold stronger than the
      destination. Consider just the time available for ham radio. Learning and
      getting WSJT going was fascinating, rewarding, and every contact made via MS
      is exciting. Still is. But now that it is in the toolkit, other areas are
      waving their hands for attention. Should some time be put into learning the
      JT modes? Or maybe work on that 70 cm remote preamp assembly. Need to
      analyze some antenna changes to prepare for warm weather tower work. Is now
      the time to switch the shack computers over to Windows 7? The radio project
      list here is never empty. The time and money budgets are never full enough.

      Perhaps others lives have settled out to be more constant, but that is not
      the case here; continuous rebalancing of life's demands and pleasures is
      ongoing.

      73, and hope to see you on the rocks,
      (It is OK to say that to MS'ers, but not to sailors-hi)

      Chet, N8RA

      ________________________________

      From: wsjtgroup@yahoogroups.com [mailto:wsjtgroup@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of Bill W5WVO
      Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2010 4:39 PM
      To: 'WSJT'; Barry Garratt; Randy Tipton
      Subject: Re: [wsjtgroup] Random Hour or lack thereof




      Tip, Barry, et al.,

      Before I am forced to stop procrastinating and get into the computer
      change-over task I have before me (new computer to replace my aging homebrew
      dual-Athlon dinosaur), I want to comment on this thread as well.

      First, I have to concur with Tip's observation about east coast WSJT/MS HSMS
      activity being nearly non-existent. I don't know why it happened -- there
      were more east coasters on PJ even just two years ago when I first started
      WSJT than there are now. Of course, I can't work them anyway due to
      distance, but it is strange that there is such a dearth of activity there
      when it used to be such a rich field. We should think about this and
      research it a little, if possible. Get back in contact with some of those
      guys and find out what turned them off.

      Second, as regards RH. I have to cowboy up and confess that I tend to favor
      making scheduled QSOs over operating random, so perhaps my thoughts might
      have some bearing. (This said, I made 24 random contacts in the recent
      contest, so I do know how to do it.)

      Here are my own personal reasons:

      I am and always have been primarily a DXer, contester, and award chaser. I
      really enjoy pushing the envelope on HSMS, trying to work contacts that
      exceed my best DX to date. This is really not the focus of random-mode
      operation. Signals at the edge of workability tend to be weak, and knowing
      where to point your antenna, when to listen, and what to listen for are what
      make such contacts possible in many cases.

      In addition, the decrease of random operation tends to be self-perpetuating.
      The fewer people who operate random, the fewer people there are to work
      randomly, and the less interesting working in this mode becomes. I get sick
      of working the same half-dozen guys every Saturday morning. For me, it is
      much more exciting to try to work the guy I've never been able to work
      before, or the guy who will add another 1,000-mile-plus QSO to my list for
      the "Barry" award, or the guy who is in a new grid.

      [Aside to Barry: Almost to 50K -- picked up another three Qs this morning.
      About 2,500 miles to go.]

      Finally, there is the whole question of the presence of the Internet in MS
      operations. I disagree that there is too much Internet use in ham radio,
      partly because it's rather like saying there is too much use of the
      Interstate highway system in US automobile travel. Stuff evolves. One can
      choose to be a "purist" -- many people do, because that's what they enjoy --
      or one can embrace what's new and enjoy the fact that yes, it IS DIFFERENT
      than it used to be. That doesn't make it "better" and it doesn't make it
      "worse" -- just different. And like I said, one can either resist that or
      embrace it. No judgment (from me, anyway) either way.

      My point is, though, that evolution happens. You can't stop things from
      evolving just because you like it the way it is now, or the way it was five
      or ten years ago, or whatever. It just doesn't work that way. We all know
      that species go extinct all the time, so evolution doesn't ensure the
      survival of anything. What's happening in the evolution of ham radio right
      now may well NOT ensure the survival of ham radio. But one thing is certain
      -- the way it is, is the way it IS. You can either relax and enjoy it the
      way it is, or get all worked up struggling against something that you really
      can have very little effect on in the long run, and decrease thereby your
      "fun quotient".

      To bring all this bloviating back to the specific topic, which is RH -- I
      think it is fine as it is. RH (or whatever else you might want to call it)
      gets a lot of guys on the air on MS, and that is good. I don't much care
      whether I work them one way or another, I just want to work them. The one
      thing we MIGHT be able to have some effect on is how to get even more hams
      -- like those disappeared east coasters -- on the HSMS air. How?

      No amount of coaxing, hand-holding, and wheedling is going to convince a ham
      who isn't attracted and turned on by CHALLENGE to get set up for WSJT/MS.
      You might recall JFK saying nearly a half-century ago, "We choose to go to
      the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy,
      but because they are hard." Meteor scatter is hard (compared to working
      somebody on 75m SSB), and the percentage of people who like to do things
      because they are hard is small. But they are out there, probably in greater
      numbers than we might suppose. We just need to find them. I think we should
      focus on that.

      Bill



      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Randy Tipton <mailto:wa5ufh@...>
      To: 'WSJT' <mailto:wsjtgroup@yahoogroups.com> ; Barry Garratt
      <mailto:bgarratt@...>
      Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2010 10:18 AM
      Subject: Re: [wsjtgroup] Random Hour or lack thereof



      Just my two cents...

      Barry the RH activity has been lite lately and the winter
      months are generally the worst times for random meteors to boot.

      I have several concerns relating to meteor scatter processes.

      First it appears activity along the east coast area has all but
      disappeared. The east coast areas were once rich with wsjt operators but
      seldom heard now. In the last contest thus far only seven logs received from
      EST zone. Why did they leave? Is it HF JT65 or WSPR? Doesn't matter they are
      missed.

      Another concern is the lack of two meter operators. When I started
      HSMS it was 90 plus percent two meters, in fact it was a difficult barrier
      to break being 50 MHz only at that time. Two meter hsms is more difficult,
      contacts take longer but greater distances can be worked via pure ms pings
      and imho much more rewarding. That is not to put down six meter meteor
      scatter, I like both but are stations turned off two meters because it is
      harder? Has the influx of six meters been a negative effect for them making
      faster contacts etc ?

      Random Hour Activity has been basically a constant. A few get on for
      each session. Today I heard 5 stations on six meters and non on two meters.
      In order to get a 2 Meter contact I had to made a schedule. Normally I can
      work at least one or two 144MHz random contact during the session. Because
      activity has become mostly "Schedules" as you noted, the inclusion of both
      random contacts and schedules was allowed for the weekly summary reports. It
      makes for a more realistic report of activity.

      I do not know why stations choose schedules instead of calling CQ or
      answering a cq. I suppose the obvious answer is "it's easier". Today I
      called K1RS when he was calling CQ on six meters. He never answered me so
      latter I tried a sked with him. The results were the same. I believe you
      could work just as many, if not more contacts. on the call frequency vs.
      using schedules. But more folks need to be calling!

      The "Sprints" are starting this month. The fourth Saturday, Jan -
      April, they provide a little different format. Bill,W5WVO accepts the
      reports as this is a more competitive activity period than the standard
      random hour sessions. I hope many stations will check it out and
      participate.

      Random Operators just seem to be a rare breed. Even stations going
      out as portable take the internet. It should not be necessary however too
      many radios are not turned to the ms call frequencies.

      I believe some stations don't want to use shared frequencies but
      this is often times due to not understanding "QRM" as it relates to ms and
      deadband contacts. For example, if they hear a non-meteor scatter signal on
      the call frequency, they don't know to use the same tx / tx sequence. Others
      refer to pings intended for another station while working someone else as
      qrm. I have heard some say they can't operate RH because of a "birdie" on
      the call frequency when in fact they should operate "off-set method". I can
      see where the philosophy of RH can be a little hard to understand. However
      it is a very rewarding experience for those who accept it for what it is and
      join in for the fun.

      You mentioned people posting they are calling CQ on some "Odd ball
      frequency". By odd ball, I mean not using the set call frequency. That makes
      no sense to me at all. I always monitor .140 or .260 with several others
      doing the same. You will be surprised how many stations call CQ on six
      meters all during the day but those calling on the odd frequency are just
      missing out.

      Where do we go from here, should RH be discontinued? I suppose the
      group should decide, or maybe they have decided already with the perceived
      lack of activity.

      My personal opinion is we continue the RH Events or at least one of
      them weekly. In my opinion we have become way to dependent on the internet
      for many things, including hsms and those who enjoy the activity periods
      would be the losers.

      What about next Saturday or tomorrow... Guys leave the PJ off and
      make some truly random contacts...

      Today I copied K1RS, N5SIX, WA4HFN, N9SB and KC9ELU all calling CQ.
      I worked N9XG random and K0RI on a sked.

      GL to all...

      WA5UFH



      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Barry Garratt <mailto:bgarratt@...>
      To: 'WSJT' <mailto:wsjtgroup@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2010 9:26 AM
      Subject: [wsjtgroup] Random Hour or lack thereof

      Speaking solely from a west coast perspective, and I think
      this holds for the east coast as well, I think the whole concept of Random
      Hour has taken a turn toward skeds only.
      I know there have been notes written about calling CQ and
      using the UP / Down method but those seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
      Virtually no one calls CQ anymore. Why bother when it is so much easier to
      just get on PJ and set up a sked.

      I only have 6 meters and can sit on 260 during RH and hear
      no one. Jim W6OUU and Jim KS7S both have 2 meters as well and they both tell
      me they don't see anyone on there either for the most part. BUT all of us
      can see stations on various frequencies after we look at PJ.

      I see folks posting things like "CQ 257 1st or CQ 265". If
      this is supposed to be Random Hour why not post "CQ 260 down 5" or just
      plain "CQ 260". If I'm not watching PJ then how am I going to know someone
      is calling CQ 2 or 3 kHz away from the calling frequency?

      Lets just change the name to Weekend Activity Period and
      quit fooling around with Random Hour. Those days, like AM, are nothing but
      memories no

      Regards,

      Barry KS7DX
    • Sebastian
      OK stop talking about me :-) I m in Miami Florida and I was on PJ several months ago. It was fun. Why did I stop? I had serious issues with my 2 meter
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 3, 2010
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        OK stop talking about me :-)

        I'm in Miami Florida and I was on PJ several months ago.  It was fun.  Why did I stop?  I had serious issues with my 2 meter antenna.  I guess I was dyslexic when I first put together the antenna.  While the director was in the right place (that's not hard is it), the rest of the elements were pointed the wrong way!  No wonder I couldn't hear anyone, although some claim to have heard me!

        That antenna is being replaced with a new M2 antenna (I have glasses now), and it should be going up later this month.  That will get me back on 2 meter SSB (with a preamp this time), and I plan to be back on MS.  I also worked a few stations on 6 meter MS, but that wasn't too thrilling, since I can work farther than that on Es; and the band was open while I was on PJ.  I have someone who is converting an SB-220 for me for 6 meters, so I'll have 1kw on there whenever I get it back.

        As far as RH - well that's just too early for old guys like me.  Plus I don't have much experience on MS, and being that my antenna was pretty much a wet noodle, I temporarily exited MS.  Although I understand why it's scheduled early in the morning.

        As far as PJ; this is just an observation, not a complaint; but why is it soooo slow?  Is there anything the community can do (such as helping pay the cost) to upgrade the server(s), if that is the issue?  I'm so used to fast internet connections, and when I would post on PJ, it seems to take an eternity.  I've seen hamspots; is that an alternative, or a upgrade to PJ, or do they have nothing in common?

        Hope to see you guys later this month.  If someone is around Miami, I could use a hand putting up the antennas on my 25G.  I'm disabled so I can't climb.  I've asked the locals but haven't received any offers.

        73 de W4AS, EL95
        Sebastian

        On Jan 2, 2010, at 4:38 PM, Bill W5WVO wrote:

        First, I have to concur with Tip's observation about east coast WSJT/MS HSMS activity being nearly non-existent. I don't know why it happened -- there were more east coasters on PJ even just two years ago when I first started WSJT than there are now. Of course, I can't work them anyway due to distance, but it is strange that there is such a dearth of activity there when it used to be such a rich field. We should think about this and research it a little, if possible. Get back in contact with some of those guys and find out what turned them off.
         
        Second, as regards RH. I have to cowboy up and confess that I tend to favor making scheduled QSOs over operating random, so perhaps my thoughts might have some bearing. (This said, I made 24 random contacts in the recent contest, so I do know how to do it.)
      • Bill W5WVO
        Hi Sebastian, I remember you from when you were on previously. Glad to have you back. I m chasing the 6-meter FFMA award and have no 2-meter antennas up
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 3, 2010
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          Hi Sebastian,
           
          I remember you from when you were on previously. Glad to have you back.
           
          I'm chasing the 6-meter FFMA award and have no 2-meter antennas up anyway, so my use of meteor scatter is, for the time, restricted to 6 meters by choice. It's true that you can work farther on 6m using other propagation modalities, but being able to work SHORTER is a real advantage when it comes to working those close-in grid squares for VUCC/FFMA credit that are too far for troposcatter and too close for sporadic-E. I've worked probably twenty grids on WSJT meteor scatter that I wouldn't otherwise have because of path distance, plus another twenty that I could have worked on sporadic-E, if only there had been a sporadic-E opening to that grid at that time. Meteors are always there, while sporadic-E is, well, sporadic. :-)
           
          Regarding PJ -- I feel your pain (as does everybody else who uses it). Yes, it is slow, and no, I don't know why -- but my guess is that the cgi script that drives it could be improved. (Or maybe it is just on a slow server, like you speculated.) That's about as far as I can comment on it, because I really don't have any more information on it than you do. One trick that does speed things up a little is to click on the REFRESH link repeatedly (not the browser's Refresh, but PJ's) after posting something that needs a response. Don't wait for the default update, which I think is at least 60 seconds.
           
          Anyway, we will look forward to having you back on the rocks, Sebastian.
           
          73,
          Bill W5WVO
           
           
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Sebastian
          Sent: Sunday, January 03, 2010 3:02 PM
          Subject: Re: [wsjtgroup] Random Hour or lack thereof

           

          OK stop talking about me :-)


          I'm in Miami Florida and I was on PJ several months ago.  It was fun.  Why did I stop?  I had serious issues with my 2 meter antenna.  I guess I was dyslexic when I first put together the antenna.  While the director was in the right place (that's not hard is it), the rest of the elements were pointed the wrong way!  No wonder I couldn't hear anyone, although some claim to have heard me!

          That antenna is being replaced with a new M2 antenna (I have glasses now), and it should be going up later this month.  That will get me back on 2 meter SSB (with a preamp this time), and I plan to be back on MS.  I also worked a few stations on 6 meter MS, but that wasn't too thrilling, since I can work farther than that on Es; and the band was open while I was on PJ.  I have someone who is converting an SB-220 for me for 6 meters, so I'll have 1kw on there whenever I get it back.

          As far as RH - well that's just too early for old guys like me.  Plus I don't have much experience on MS, and being that my antenna was pretty much a wet noodle, I temporarily exited MS.  Although I understand why it's scheduled early in the morning.

          As far as PJ; this is just an observation, not a complaint; but why is it soooo slow?  Is there anything the community can do (such as helping pay the cost) to upgrade the server(s), if that is the issue?  I'm so used to fast internet connections, and when I would post on PJ, it seems to take an eternity.  I've seen hamspots; is that an alternative, or a upgrade to PJ, or do they have nothing in common?

          Hope to see you guys later this month.  If someone is around Miami, I could use a hand putting up the antennas on my 25G.  I'm disabled so I can't climb.  I've asked the locals but haven't received any offers.

          73 de W4AS, EL95
          Sebastian

          On Jan 2, 2010, at 4:38 PM, Bill W5WVO wrote:

          First, I have to concur with Tip's observation about east coast WSJT/MS HSMS activity being nearly non-existent. I don't know why it happened -- there were more east coasters on PJ even just two years ago when I first started WSJT than there are now. Of course, I can't work them anyway due to distance, but it is strange that there is such a dearth of activity there when it used to be such a rich field. We should think about this and research it a little, if possible. Get back in contact with some of those guys and find out what turned them off.
           
          Second, as regards RH. I have to cowboy up and confess that I tend to favor making scheduled QSOs over operating random, so perhaps my thoughts might have some bearing. (This said, I made 24 random contacts in the recent contest, so I do know how to do it.)

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