Casual operating with complicated software

4 comments

Last weekend I made a concerted effort to get on the air. I wanted to get on PSK31 more than I have. I think it is a great mode, fits well with my station situation and the mode can also morph into other, faster, modes like PSK125.

Without naming names, I picked up a software program that had some of these other modes on it as well as the baseline PSK31. Too cool for school, I started off trying to set up the program and that’s where all the trouble began.

Two hours later, after a single QSO, I gave up. Too complicated to set up, too complicated to operate, too many options to learn and too many buttons to digest. Just for a simple QSO.

Now, I have a whole site dedicated to WriteLog, a high-end contesting program written by W5XD (with yet another beta version out to test this weekend, to be released later to owners of the program). I’m into complicated there; it is a contesting program and I like contesting.

But when I want to try a new mode out, I don’t want all the complication. I want simplicity. I’m OK if there is only one way to have a QSO — use this five-step process and deal with it. I’m new at this mode, this software and I just want to get on the air quickly with my limited hobby time and have some fun.

Understandably, the poor programmers this is directed at also have dedicated users who want them to totally complicate their software so they can tweak every experience in a QSO. I get that.

But that forces new users of the software to learn all of the complications. And I don’t want to do that. At least just yet. I’m just trying this new mode out and want to see it play.

Can’t there be a “beginner’s mode” built into software so when we are just starting out we get the simple process, get on the air and get interested in the program?

I’m willing to learn software; I do it all the time. But I’d rather start out simple. Build it that way for me, please.

Scot, K9JY

PS Posting was light this week — it was the day job and rolling out Keeping the Castle, a training program for knowledge workers that teaches how to prepare for a layoff, deal with a layoff, and what to do if there is a layoff and you get to stay. Busy, for sure…


  • I think beginners in digimodes should start with Digipan as the simplest and progress from there to FLdigi, and then to Multipsk and finally to DM780.
    After all that, a ham would be in a good position to pick a favorite.

  • @Dave — thanks for this comment. It is always nice to have someone who has been there before give us a path to follow. I have worked quite a bit with Digipan and downloaded FLdigi, but have yet to install it. Still would be nice to have an uncomplicated path on a software program to start with, but going from a simple program to more complex ones also works.

  • I’ve found it VERY useful to get a set-up run-down from people already running a complex program.

    It is also worth shooting screen-shots of the settings once you get it working – makes it much easier to recover to a known good configuration if something changes.

    Have a couple posts on Shack Documentation if interested.

    73

    Steve
    K9ZW

    http://k9zw.wordpress.com

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