Processing Speech

Radio operations on Navassa Island are coming to a close after a successful few weeks that’s bound to drive the entity down the list of ‘Most Wanted’. The remaining team is using the final hours as ‘ATNO’ only — “all time new one”. In other words, if you’re already in the log, don’t bother calling — they won’t answer, and good for them for closing this way.

The stats and stories from this one will be relived and replayed for years to come. But one particular takeaway sticks out as significant to me. This business about speech processors…

In an interview from the island, team member Glenn Johnson, W0GJ, advised phone operators to turn off their speech processors when trying to break the pileups. He said the splatter generated when phone ops max out their speech processors in an effort to be heard “makes it almost impossible” to pick out individual callers.

Good advice of course, but he went further, and said “if we could somehow magically eliminate all speech processors, we could probably double or triple our rate, particularly in working Europeans”.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone suggest that speech processors should be eliminated. Phone ops seem pretty smitten with creating loud and wide signals on the bands and here you have a major DX operation admonishing the processing as creating interference that’s driving down the rates by fifty percent or more.

Try as I might, I haven’t read anything about turning off your speech processor in the DX Code of Conduct.

Maybe it’s time for an update to the code?

Author: Jeff Davis