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Re: Digital meteor scatter contacts are very difficult to do randoml

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  • Les Rayburn
    Like many others, I ve been critical of Gene s portrayal of WSJT in his column over the past few years. His comments seem to oscillate between one of two
    Message 1 of 1 , May 12, 2010
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      Like many others, I've been critical of Gene's portrayal of WSJT in his column over the past few years. His comments seem to oscillate between one of two general areas of commentary:
      • If you use schedules and/or Ping Jockey to coordinate contacts, WSJT meteor scatter contacts between two "average" VHF stations equipped with large single Yagis, and medium power is virtually guaranteed.
      • Random contacts are difficult to impossible without huge arrays and high power.
      For experienced users of the mode, it's clear that neither point is valid. I suspect that this is due to a lack of time actually spent operating the modes in the manner that most of us do. I've expressed my disappointment in his coverage, and like Marshall, Gene and I have "agreed to disagree". I also share Marshall's viewpoint that Gene is one of the good guys, and has done much for VHF operating.
      If I could wave my magic wand, I'd love to see Gene and other influential VHF leaders champion the use of WSJT during "normal" conditions and band openings. Instead of only pushing meteor scatter, I'd actually like to see a push for the regular use of JT6M modes.
      My reasoning is that regular use of these modes would extend the normal operating range of any VHF station by at least an additional 100 miles. This would allow all of us to make more contacts--and let's face it, "dead band static" has probably cost us more interest than any other single thing.
      If you could get a HF ham into your shack during a nice E-Skip opening, or a FM-only operator to listen to 2 Meter SSB during a tropo opening, I think many of them would be hooked. Unfortunately, openings are rare and unpredictable. Many hams try VHF, but get discouraged quickly after days and days of listening to nothing but static.
      WSJT has the ability to change that, or at least improve things. Using my standard "footprint" there are perhaps 30 stations that are regularly active on 2 Meters that I could even hope to contact on any given morning or evening. If all VHF Men used WSJT that number might grow to around 100. Big difference.
      The K5N Group should be commended for their extensive use of WSJT in their Grid-Expeditions. I wish the folks at Arecibo had used it more (or exclusively) during their recent operations. "Old-School" VHF Men will be encouraged to try the mode, if it means logging a rare grid or special event.
      But to see long term change, we need someone to champion these modes in our major publications. I wonder if CQ-VHF would want to include a monthly column on WSJT modes? That might be a good place to start. More papers that feature WSJT mode related topics for the VHF Conferences would be great too.
      And yes, it would be great if those with "bully-pulpits" like Gene Zimmerman could be convinced to be more open minded about the mode-and their coverage of it.
      To help foster that goal, I'll offer the following open request for a sked. Gene--I need CT on 2 Meters badly in my quest for VUCC. Using WSJT--it should be possible, but with quite a bit of effort. I'd love to set up a sked with you on 2 Meters WSJT-FSK mode. Let's use Ping Jockey to coordinate our efforts, and in the process, you'll give lots of guys a chance to work you on the mode. I'm sure that W3ZZ's QSL card is prized among my fellow VHF Men.
      89 grids and counting---
      Les Rayburn, N1LF

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