The value of internet spotting

Discussion in 'The DX Zone' started by K1TGX, Mar 14, 2018.

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  1. K1TGX

    K1TGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    On occasion I read of someone bashing spotting on the interwebby. The typical objection is 'that wasn't the way we did it years ago'. Ok, I've been on a while and they are right - it wasn't done that way years ago.

    It does take the frustration out of the equation of not knowing that some station you would have liked to work is actually on the bands. I for one find real value in that.

    There are occasions when a station is so weak I wouldn't even make an attempt to copy them. Knowing that there is one I want, on a specific frequency, encourages me to make the attempt to find him. There have been several stations I've worked in that way. The most recent was early this AM on 40 CW. XR0YD was spotted. He was really in the mud at 4 AM. So much so that I couldn't even copy his call reliably. So I made out some qsl cards while waiting and about a half hour later listened again. There he was Q5 copy but only S1. He was running thru JA's - that I could not hear at all - and I thought I would have zero chance of snagging him. It only took a few calls :)
    Must be my super fan dipole oriented 90 degrees the wrong way.

    The point is I would normally just scan the band and finding nothing qsy to another. Does using this spotting site make the contact any less genuine?
  2. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The cluster network does obviate the need and therefore the ability of its dependents to develop the skill of listening. Most new(er) hams won't even understand that observation.

    It also serves as a crutch for people who, like me, don't want to devote the time searching bands for what or where they want to work.

    Whether it is a 'bad' thing is entirely a personal judgment so what difference does it make?
  3. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Everyone sets their own standards for DXing and rarely will anything change that.

    Zak W1VT
  4. 2E0WMG

    2E0WMG Subscriber QRZ Page

    Your question, asking if the contact is any less genuine I would say no, it is genuine. Maybe you don’t have to work as hard for them, maybe by not spending as much time listening across the bands this results in less rounded ops, maybe clusters make people more impatient, or perhaps lazy?

    I have been licenced and active on HF since 2004 but only recently started using a cluster. As I operate pretty much exclusively either portable or mobile I use the DX Watch app on my iPhone. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with clusters. They have helped me snare a few new ones but on the other hand I see some things happen that maybe might not happen, at least to the same extent without an over reliance on clusters.

    A few examples.

    Rather than calling CQ on a band that sounds dead I have an image in my mind of peopke sat in their shack looking at the cluster seeing nothing and taking this as a positive affirmation that the band is not open, to anywhere. I am sure the point has been made a hundred times, when a big contest is on miraculously the band springs into life. Perhaps if people called CQ more on apparently dead bands they may be surprised. Try it, I have, sometimes, perhaps more other than not nothing comes back, but sometimes you do get a pleasant surprise.

    So, I am listing to a DX station trying to manage a pile up, up pops a station and they call the DX. After a few shouts the DX station goes back, calls the station in but gets no reply after several goes, in some cases all you hear is the chaser calling over the DX who is calling them. The assumption I draw is that the chaser cannot actually hear the DX, but have maybe seen a spot on a cluster and called regardless.

    A station is working a pile up, I can hear them fine, great signal and audio. They have plenty of people wanting to work them, including possibly me but I have to wait ages for them to give their call sign. Not to fear however, it will not be long before some bozo comes along, works them but then asks them what their call is. Perhaps this is a manifestation of the DX station assuming everyone can see who they are on the cluster so only give their call once every blue moon thereby encouraging the ‘what is you call’ merchants. Maybe it is just me but I never call any station until I know I have their call correct because I have heard it with my own ears.

    A DX station is running split, along comes someone and calls on their calling frequency, they have not been listening, but simply clicked on a spot, their rig has switched band and frequency automatically and in they jump, with both feet.

    I am not anti cluster by any means, I just think they come with some drawbacks as well as advantages in some circumstances.

    That’s my tuppence worth...
  5. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nothings ever the same , but sometimes they are very similar ;)
    That's my interpretation [ at this moment ] of " the only constant in the universe - is change " , can not attribute to anyone ?
    My old version is , there is not just one way .
    I think my thought here was affected by a YouTube video - Fourier Transform , math makes my brain itch ;)
  6. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    SOTA basically runs on spots via interwebs.
  7. KQ0J

    KQ0J XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Far as I can tell, the people bashing it are generally not top DXers, just someone with a quirky agenda. Go to any of the DX club meetings or conferences - I bet that you will not find anyone with that attitude, I never have.

    They probably only like paper QSLs too.....
  8. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well said! Personal judgment will be with us indefinitely. In horse racing, some races are run on turf, while others are on dirt. Are the one more ethical (or correct) than the other? Likewise with tennis. Some play on clay and others grass. In the late 1960s, a local DX club used a 2m FM repeater for dx spotting. The repeater wasn't exclusively for spotting, but chatting was interspersed with dx spots. Did voice spots help some climb the entities- worked ladder faster than the guy living out of repeater range? Sure. Thus the "playing field" wasn't level for all. Was it immoral? I don't think so. Today, wireless is often wired, and may include fiber optic transmissions. Blink and the world has changed. There are consequences to some changes however. Once, many hams were introduced to amateur radio by shortwave listening. I was. Now, I'll bet not one percent of new hams started in the hobby with only a shortwave receiver as their learning aid. It would be ludicrous to say that's a bad thing, however it has affected listening skills of newer ham operators. Does the reduction in skilled listeners make dxing less productive and more frustrating at times? Probably. But, the world has changed. By the way, the fact that we're near solar minimum, and there are large holes in the solar corona may contribute to the spotting controversy. During past solar maximums I don't recall anyone caring about the issue. The bands were great. Working page after page of new ones was simple. 73

    p.s. Logged 7Q7EI and LZ2HR an hour ago by turning on the TS930 and tuning 20m with the beam on 40 degrees. Malawi was worked through Midwest, east coast, and European callers. After the 7Q contact, I spotted him so others in the northwest would know he was available with 100W.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
    K1TGX likes this.
  9. K4LRX

    K4LRX Subscriber QRZ Page

    When I first hit the airwaves in 56, we did not have the tools we had today. DX was found by tuning, listening and of course patience. We did make use of a crude spotting network, I had several dx buddies and we would use the land line if we heard a rare one. Also, we would meet on the phone bands of 15 meters, one of us would take the phone band and the other would take the cw end of the band. We would meet back on the original meeting frequency and share what we heard. The clusters do save you time, you know what is where and what band nice addition to the shack in the last few years. Of course, just look for the pile ups and figure out if it is split, or simplex, that is the way things used to be, time marches on for all of us.
  10. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't use the clusters anymore, but I have no grudge against those who do use them.

    I don't use them because I found that they made my operating experience less interesting, on the whole. I spend a lot of time now tuning around and listening, and I make it a point to really listen. I snag a lot of DX that way that never even shows up on the cluster. Remember, DX ops are just like you and me. Sometimes they just want to get on the air, make one or two contacts and then get back to fixing the sink or whatever else they're doing. To hear these folks, you have to be tuning around on the bands.

    If all you care about are DXpeditions and that sort of thing, that's different. You'll always see those on the cluster, if they're what matter to you.

    In addition, I have spent pretty much my entire freaking life using computers and the internet, and the less these are involved in my ham radio activity, the happier I am. But again, that's just me.

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