I may have mentioned previously that I like the chatty digital modes. One of the things that encouraged me to get back on the air a few years ago and upgrade to General was the various digital modes that had surfaced over the years. And this was before FT8 took over everyone’s attention.
To date, my favorite mode has been Olivia. It has several variations, but is robust and easy to use, and its sending rate is just slow enough that I can type ahead while transmitting. I’ve had several pleasant ragchews on Olivia over the last few years.
While I’ve had a few opportunities to play with other related digital modes, Olivia is certainly the most popular of its kind. But the other night, while I was about to call out on Olivia, I saw something unusual– multiple THOR signals.
One was in a QSO and using a higher width that I can’t remember, and two others were using THOR-4. I began googling to see if there was some sort of THOR event that day, but found none. Then I responded to a CQ, and had a nice conversation with someone who used to live almost in my neighborhood.
During this conversation, I got to see the power of Mighty Thor. There were considerable moments of signal fading going on, reducing the incoming signal to inaudible to my ears and dim on the waterfall. But THOR’s Forward Error Correction stayed at 100% through it all and I didn’t lose a word, or even a letter, and I didn’t get any errant characters.
When I finished that QSO, another fellow called me and I had similar results. I am now completely sold on THOR’s amazing anti-fading power in situations that would make an OLIVIA QSO have holes.
THOR, like any other mode, is not perfect. The main drawback with THOR-4 is how slow the character rate is. At one point, I finished typing a response and added my BTU macro at the end, got up, went to the restroom and got some drinking water, and returned to my radio desk to find my transmission about 75% complete. It’s not for people in a hurry.
But it *IS* quite fun, and so I shall be calling CQ on THOR much more often.