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From: karn@qualcomm.com
Subject: Re: REALITY CHECK!
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 1996 23:41:16 -0800 (PST)

>If weak signal ops had the reliability that commercial networks require, they
>would probably grow bored and find a new hobby. Apparently you have never
>been a Dx'er. We find value in weak signal work because it is difficult. If
>we had computers linking and communicating below our ability to hear, what
>would be the satisfaction of that? At what point do you just set the
>computers up at each end to make contact and then send out QSL's.

Actually, a long time ago I *was* into DX, but I quickly outgrew it. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Tom Clark has addressed this specific point about using computers many times before, and he's gotten pretty good at it. Let me see if I can say it like he would.

What's so wrong with a computer as a communications tool? Is it somehow "impure" to use a machine to assist your ears and brain? If so, then what about your audio filters -- do they have to be analog? And if DSP filters are OK, then what's the fundamental difference between your DSP and my DSP?

If text mode operation doesn't turn you on, you don't have to type or read a screen. You can speak through computers too. I could even program the computer to "speak" in CW if you want. Maybe add a little random noise and fading to make it sound more realistic, to make it "harder". :-)

As for the HF packet nets, I actually agree with you. The Internet does the job much more efficiently. In the end, it will probably replace ham radio entirely once the government realizes that auctioning off our remaining spectrum could retire the national debt. It won't be hard to ignore the remaining aged elite that long fought off anyone who might actually try to advance the state of the radio art, or -- god forbid -- use it to promote technical education.

Phil

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