Thursday, April 11, 2013

W(h)ither JT65A?

I was looking at all the stuff in my ham software folder and thought about deleting JT65-HF. I no longer see the point in continuing to use JT65A when an alternative exists which uses the same messages and takes the same amount of time but is more sensitive and much narrower. The fact that this alternative has come along at the same time as W6CQZ, the author of JT65-HF, has stated that he can no longer develop it seems to me very fortuitous.

Okay, there are still a lot more stations to work with JT65A but that is surely only temporary. Like Tim, G4VXE I can see activity switching from JT65A to JT9-1 over time and JT65A activity on HF withering away from lack of use. JT65A has been a lot of fun but it can also be frustrating when you can't find space to operate within it's 2kHz or when a very strong signal stops the software from decoding anything. JT9-1 has people using too much power too, but the decoder seems more robust and a lot more stations can concurrently use the same bandwidth. It just seems an all round better solution.

I expressed this opinion in one of the Yahoo! groups this morning and several people replied to disagree with me. As one person put it "if I am half way to WAS (worked all states) using JT65A then I am not going to stop using it until I have finished it."

To me, I can see no reason to continue using a mode once a better alternative exists, which is why I have no interest at all in using RTTY, for which there are several superior alternatives. The idea of making contacts just to put a tick in a box in a matrix ordered by band, mode and prefix/country/state makes me quite depressed. I will use JT9 until something even better comes along, after which I will lose interest in it just as I have lost interest in JT65A.

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