Re: FT8 in contests

Keith Morehouse

Typical east coast dialog.  They are primarily concerned with passing between 2M and above bands and ignore a major issue, which is the woeful lack of activity on 6M modes where you can run decent rate.

In populated areas (read, east coast & New England) contests are won by maximizing your Qs and multipliers ABOVE 6M.  Out here, contests are won by maximizing 6M score (in June and July, where we have at least some chance of winning.  In Sept and Jan, VHF contesting from our area is just 'something to do'.. we're not really competing).  Out east, 6M is just something to pass the time while waiting for the next wave of rovers to incrementally bump your score on 2 and above.  If WE can't run decent rate on 6, we are toast.

I've been outspoken about the wholesale shift to FT8 on 6 during summer contests.  MY personal solution is to no longer seriously operate, as it's impossible to keep up with guys who live in an area where they can work 200-300 Qs on 2M.  This, when I'm limited to a digital mode on 6 that has a max rate of 40-50/hour if you're lucky.  I hate contesting with FT8 because of this limitation (other reasons also, but they are simply personal choices).

However, after much private discussion with other serious contesters, I have concluded you will never bring back the critical mass of operators that allows us to run 150, 200 or 250/hour on 6.  High rate is dependent on having casual operators available to work.  ALL the casual ops have switched to FT8 and they're not coming back to SSB, no matter what rules changes are made.

Participation numbers are a fine metric for non-contesters. Veteran contesters look at other things and see a bit different situation.  Welcome to the new world of VHF contesting.  Enjoy...or not


Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

On Wed, Aug 11, 2021, 11:44 AM Bruce Draper <bruceaa5b@...> wrote:
This packrats newsletter (attached) has some discussion on FTx in VHF/UHF contests, along with some proposals for making the most of the situation. IMO, a small bandaid on a gaping wound, but at least they’re trying.

Bruce AA5B

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