This is a view from NASA of the sun today, October 9, 2018, and I am making 10m DX contacts one after another. Zero sunspots but working DX on FT8! Is FT8 creating a “tipping point” for amateur radio at the very bottom of the solar cycle?
Several years ago I was captivated by a book written by Malcolm Gladwell called, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Merriam-Webster defines tipping point as, “the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.” In his book, Gladwell describes how, “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” He shows us how the phenomenon applies to everything from flu epidemics to the explosion of new technologies.
Does the FT8 mode included in WSJT-X software constitute a tipping point in ham radio for good or for harm? There are many ham radio opinion blogs on the Internet that strongly or sometimes sarcastically take one or the other stance. There is even an Internet poll asking, “Is FT8 damaging amateur radio?” At this moment it is 52% yes, 45% no and 3% undecided. All of the articles and videos I have seen agree on one undeniable fact – FT8 has since its introduction in June of 2017 achieved “killer app” or tipping point status. Some think it will kill amateur radio and others believe that such innovations give the hobby new life…..READ MORE
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