Sunday, 23 December 2018

FT8 - A Rant

I'm going to pin my colours to the mast, I am NOT a fan of FT8!

Sure it's very clever.

Sure it's very popular (that tends to suggest that I am anti-establishment at least ...)

The problems are twofold, as I see it.

Firstly, the mode is so dependent upon computer technology and so non-dependent upon operator skill that it is verging on "frivolous".  Rather like the concept of the "driver-less automobile"

Secontly, it is dragging so many radio operators away from modes which genuinely require operator skill that it's effect as a whole is a negative one.   For example, if, in an emergency communications scenario, (don't forget this is one of the (many) "raisons'etre" of Amateur Radio) the chances are that the internet will not be functional, therefore (as it is dependent upon clock synchronicity for it to work) FT8 would not be a suitable means of communication, clever as it may be.

Sure, there are good things about it - it's sheer popularity has shown that bands which appear to be "dead", are in fact only "dead due to inactivity", and I actually applaud this.  I wish there were a better alternative, but for the moment I can't think of one.

Nevertheless, weighing the plusses and minuses, by my reckoning, it's a Bad Thing.

There, I've said it. 

I accept that it cannot be "uninvented" - the Genie is indeed out of the Bottle.

I will now crawl back under the stone from which I emerged to make this assertion ...

I know, "antediluvian" might be a (relatively polite) term for my opinion, but it is what it is.

Oh well, back to the Pump Handle!