By Pete MM0TWX
It is with great sadness that I have to announce my decision to bring the TBDXC experience to a close.
This follows the resignation of our President and Marathon Manager Peter DL3NAA, triggered by yet another “scandal” about TBDXC members massively engaging in FT8 activity.
This problem emerged already more than one year ago. Under pressure from more “purist” members, and in order to maintain the Club’s credibility, I wrote to the membership reminding what the Club stands for and asking those members who do engage in FT8 DXing to consider resigning. Many did, but this letter of mine generated heated and at times vicious debate on various forums, and a lot of feedback – some positive and some very negative – to me personally.
No. A check on Clublog in November 2022 showed that the situation hadn’t changed. As a result, you will remember receiving another email making the same points as the previous one. More expressions of support and a little criticism, on the one hand, and more resignations.
No. A check of the recent TN8K leaderboards shows that as much as one third of the TBDXC members who worked the excellent DXpedition did so on FT8, with quite a few members ONLY working TN8K on FT8 – no CW or SSB!
At this stage, it is abundantly clear to me that I have failed. My initial idea of an organised push back against the exploding digital activity may have been good in theory, but in reality:
a) The TBDXC has failed to make the slightest difference in levels of activity. The recent and very welcome return of CW and SSB traffic appears due to improved propagation conditions and in no way linked to our promotional activity.
b) The TBDXC has been largely ignored by its own members. Only two awards, for instance, were issued during a four-year period. Out of a membership of nearly 2,000, in another example, only about 350 submitted logs for the Marathon during two years, despite numerous, repeated calls to do so even if one doesn’t participate competitively – just to show support.
c) What I find most extraordinary, many DXers evidently signed up just to be in a Club. They have not read, or not understood, they don’t care or they just plainly ignore the very foundation, the reason for the Club to exist, and happily work DX with automated digital modes. How is that possible, I honestly do not know. The Club is the laughing stock of anybody who cares to check who works what on what mode.
This is a sign of personal failure for me, and a betrayal to the majority of members who are passionate about the cause and feel good to be in the company of like-minded people.
I did not create the TBDXC to be a police organisation and never had any intention to singling out “offenders” or taking actions like issuing warnings or terminating membership. This is odious, extremely time consuming, and, for an informal association without even a formal membership, not even legal.
I am therefore left with no alternative but to close down the True Blue DXers Club.
A further reason of intense pain is that the demise of the Club will bring an end to the DX Ultra-Marathon – an initiative very much enjoyed by hundreds of DXers for the last two years. 2023 looked promising already, but I don’t see how this initiative could go ahead separate from the existence of the Club. This was indeed a good idea, with plenty of upscale potential, and perhaps someone will want to run it independently in the future.
In signing off, I would like to express my gratitude to those few souls who, during these four years, offered time, work, ideas and enthusiasm and helped me keeping the Club alive, in particular Petr OK1RP, Thomas DK3DUA and Peter DL3NAA.
But especially, I want to say a sincere THANK YOU to all of you – and you are many more than you think after reading this – who truly understood and believed in the ideas behind the True Blue DXers Club.
Long live CW and SSB, long live True Blue DXing!
73 Pete MM0TWX
Some day during Solar Cycle 25, a ham will turn the FT8 station on before heading to work, and upon receiving a notification on the phone, learn that the station has achieved DXCC without human interaction.
Is this a good thing, is this “progress”, or does it cheapen the award?
Oddly enough, the folks over at AllStar are doing a very similar thing RIGHT NOW.
I use VHF/UHF/HF/SSB etc , all from onboard my sailboat.
I of course have all the appropriate licensing to do so, to include a ships station license ( for the boat/equipment) needed if you will make contact with international entities,
and I have my personal operators license , which is pretty much the maritime equivalent of an amateur ham Radio license,
I also have multiple MMSI license #s from the FCC .
I explained that I can’t register a node with a ham radio license, and use it onboard the yacht, as that was illegal.
And yet I can’t register a node without an amateur ham Radio license.
I was told vie email, to go ahead and use the node , registered with ham radio license, onboard my boat and break the laws , as it was their responsibility to only allow licensed operators on the system…..
other than being terrible advice, I finde it to be classic stuck up old school ham operators attitude.
Also, it’s such a huge unrealized market for them, and one that would expand the ” system” greatly for all of us.
I always have internet onboard, even in places I can’t raise anyone else on any band, I can count on having internet.
I’m willing to bet most all other boaters would run and jump on the bandwagon to do the same.
It’s not about the laws. It’s about a customer service reps personal interpretation of the company rules…..
either way, bad advice, illegal, and unfortunate.
those who don’t keep up with the changing times, get left in the past.
Every Single boat pretty much has a VHF radio onboard at least, and I’d be willing to bet that makes them one of the larger segments of the population using radios tech other than cell and wifi etc of course.
I digress, off topic somewhat as well I apologize.
Maybe the customer service rep doesn’t realize I can raise the president of the company via radio pretty much anytime I want?
Elitism, without a hand out to bring others into the fold ,is always going to shoot itself in the foot.
cheers and love you all.
One of the most miserable cases of “I don’t want to play anymore so I’m taking my ball away” I’ve ever heard. no wonder Amateur Radio clubs are on the bones of their arse.
Digital modes and the advent of modern SDR radios have been a massive shot in the arm but the miserable old guard have their heads in the sand.
Yes, you’re allowed to use any legal mode your license covers.
But if you join a Ham Radio club that promotes the classical modes, and does not include more modern, computer-driven operating, then you should not use unsupported modes for club activities.
I belong to SKCC. I like using a sideswiper once in a while, and credit that use towards my SKCC log entries. But if I use an electronic keyer with a set of paddles, those are valid contacts…just NOT for SKCC contest credit!
I don’t know anything about TBDXC that isn’t in this article. If they tried to restrict their members from using FT8 or other digital modes AT ALL, not just during their contests, that’s downright petty, and I would have ignored such efforts to control my non-club related activity. Amateurs are allowed to use any legal mode where Part 97 allows, and no club rule can trump that.
But by the same token, don’t claim credit in club functions or for club awards if you used modes the club does not support. The club isn’t required to let you claim FT8 DX for a club award. You need to stay within their rules for their awards!
I don’t like seeing ham radio clubs fall apart. But it sounds like the club didn’t want people using FT8 *at all*, unless I’m mistaken, and that itself is not in keeping with good amateur practices. You can’t control your members, only what they’re allowed to get from your club. If I want trying to get credit from your club for digital operating, but you yelled at me for it, you’d get a raspberry in your face and my resignation, because you don’t get to do that!
Clicked the wrong button! Darn digital computer 🙂
As for TN8K, I worked him on SSB, CW and RTTY, as well as FT8 and FT4. Check his log for confirmation.
If digital is not your “thing”, sell your mobile phone, sell your car because it has a computer AND a radio, sell your TV, no more WiFi….need I go on?
Pete…it’s a shame that the club folded. It seems that it was important to you and the others. But, looking down your nose at the newer modes is no way to inspire or lead and is inappropriate. It’s a hobby, not a job.
My current ops are 99% digital, meaning RTTY, FT8, FT4, Feldhell, PSK and so on. Yes, I use a computer but it is connected to my radio. I suffer from the same QRM, QRN, LIDS and condx that users of SSB and CW suffer each day. It is by no means “easier” than SSB or CW, just different.
Perhaps you should try the modes before passing judgment on things you clearly do not understand. To paraphrase an old adage, The times are changing…those who do not change with them will be left behind.
Try and keep up, Pete. 73 de Tom VE3II
unfortunately amateurs are showing the enthusiasm of the general worldwide community in wanting everything for no effort, which is why FT8 is growing. Actual activity now they see the computer and radios do all the work while they sit on their freckles doing nothing but claiming they worked DX and the bands are open…..
They are all so active…….not
My favorite mode.is CW, and my favorite Digital mose is RTTY. I operate FT8/4 out of boredom or nothing else working. Make the most out of all and don’t discriminate against others. Keep this hobby alive. Nothing is better.
All I can say is thank you for trying. Good propagation will require changes in the spectrum. 1 KW on FT8 is a real joke and an irritant. Many will leave. Hopefully minds will resolve. Still, have fun.
This is hilarious. Dude forms a club to “push back” against modern digital operating modes and the club fails because the members were -checks notes- working modern digital operating nodes
Exclusive and elite groups do not promote open ham radio communication.
It is a naive way to hold on to the past while knowing our hobby is not going to continue for generations to come.
Initiatives to promote a certain style of communications without demanding exclusive usage can extend the life-cycle and perhaps even spark a new interest.
Look at morse code where old-timers refuse to slow down when a new-timer picks up the straight key after years of practice. I gave up on old-timers sticking to the past while complaining the rest of the world doesn’t like to connect to their great hobby.
There are so many aspects within Ham radio to explore and learn from. Besides technology in many dimensions there is also behavior of people and groups. The good news is that it is easy to just move the vfo to another frequency.
Are there good examples: plenty! activation of islands, special occasions, lighthouse activation and ofcourse switching on the transceiver in any mode on any frequency to look for a fellow ham operator with sometimes really inspiring conversations.
Embrace the new modes or get left behind. I guess TBDXC wanted to stay behind and suppress.
There are amateur radio clubs that hsve non-licensed members but don’t permit or endorse unlicensed operations and there’s a CW Club that encourages straight key operation so why not a pre-Y2K modes DX club. that encourages legacy modes by only recognizing QSO’s that completed by non-digital modes – or provide awards suitably inscribed: ‘True Blue’ or ‘Digital’ as appropriate? – just sayin’ – since I’m not much of a contester.
The era of exclusive, colour-based clubs may indeed be over…
The current Crozet Island operation is the only DXpedition to not work any HF SSB, use SSB on a satellite that doesn’t cover half of the planet, and not operate on 10, 12, 40, 60, 80, and 160 meters. But to be fair, Thierry is a hero, being a one-man “team”. I have heard more than a few dxers grouse about the fact that they will likely miss the chance to work Crozet for the rest of their lives. The flip side is that propagation wouldn’t even support CW at times and FT8 was the only way. Better luck with 3Y0J!
You are free to use whatever mode you want. To push against the use or development of digital or other new modes is in direct conflict with the spirit of amateur radio.
Long live DX (CW, SSB, and digital–RTTY, PSK, FT8, FT4 and a few others)
To discriminate against any is stupidity from the start.