Life in this Grand Solar Minimum continues to be a tough slog for HF enthusiasts. There’s still a smattering of DX to be found which is oddly encouraging though it feels like HF radio is adapting to this new normal by racing toward that digital mode that has both breathed new life into the hobby – and killed CW in the process.

CWops will disagree as would the SKCC lot. These have maintained pockets of CW enthusiasts who have (so far) resisted the urge to abandon ship. But given enough time at the bottom, I suspect even some of these stalwarts will backslide.

That new digital mode is really dividing the radio contesting community too. A recent posting on a popular mailing list revealed the rift. One VHF operator said that he worked 112 on two meters in a recent contest, a personal best for him using CW. Then he compared his score with those who worked over 800 on two meters using that digital mode.

What’s the point of even trying with CW if you’re going to get shellacked he asked? Others on the list urged him to abandon the diminishing returns of CW and jump on the new, more effective digital mode if he wanted a really big score.

The story hasn’t yet been completely written but the game is over.