Wednesday, 7 October 2015

CQ DX (on Echolink?)

Echolink is one version of various systems which allow internet linking of radios.

I am not against it, it just doesn't count as radio for me.

It is radio from station A to an internet linked repeater, and then from some other interlinked repeater to station B. And between the repeaters it is internet. Repeaters or gateways or voice nodes or whatever we call them today.

So, supposing some station wanted a chat with me about something, then why not use Echolink. No problem there, but it is not radio between us, it is the internet for most of the journey. I guess I have used Echolink two or three times. I even used my mobile phone at one end of the contact.

Personally, I cannot claim an Echolink contact as DX. Mostly, I don't use it of course, but apart from that the effort is the same working the repeater (which is 2 miles away) and working New Zealand. There is nothing for me to celebrate or note in working DX. Once you have worked the repeater you can work anywhere.

Of course the people who mastermind the repeater and the link get good experience and learning opportunities, and we all learn about how radio now works for most commercial applications.

If amateur radio is to remain the learning forum for lots of technologists of the future, they can use amateur radio to learn about internet linking (if they want to).

But essentially I can give it a miss.

Then I noticed a DX cluster posting for these contacts

Top 250   144 MHz   UTC   Spotter   Comment  
SK4MPI   144412.0   07 Oct 09:52   RM1A   56a
NO2A   145662.5   07 Oct 09:50   LA1YKA   59 Echolink

Erm. Someone in Norway posting that he worked USA via Echolink. Ahh, that hardly made me jump to my dial to see if conditions still existed to do the same. Or see the need to improve my station, antennas, or operating procedures to find out if I could do it too.

Echolink is fine. But in my book it isn't DX. Not as much as the contact above it in the listings, where a Russian is hearing a Swedish beacon via Aurora. There is a large coronal hole pointing towards us, and this is creating auroral conditions. I need to step up for that. I need a good station and cunning plans to work an aurora. Not Echolink.

I am not calling for it to be stamped out. I am not against internet linking. I just don't need it, any more than I need RTTY or (insert any mad plan)-on-the-Air. Everyone is welcome, but I think we each can have a personal view about what is DX, and what matters in radio experimentation.

It is a personal thing, and I am a person too you know.



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