Re: Analog only categories in June VHF Contest

James Duffey

OK Keith thanks for the reply.  I don’t think the subcommittee members are any secret, or at least shouldn’t be, and it will come out sooner or later, so it is W0ZQ (chair), K2DRH, W2FU, K2UA, N2CEI, K9CT (rep from CAC), K9JK, and myself. Jon (W0ZQ) did a good, rational, and impartial job of being chair. Likewise with K9CT as CAC rep. One thing you will note is that is not a very geographically diverse group, especially when it comes to level s of VHF activity, with 2 from NY, 3 from IL, one from MN, one from FL, and me, from NM. I was a last minute add-inn by Jon in an attempt to balance things geographically when he noted that there wasn’t anyone west of the Mississippi on the committee. 

The survey and data mining efforts we conducted will eventually be published and/or presented.  When that happens I think that there will be several awkward questions for the subcommittee members to answer. I will defer further comments until we get that beer.

I think that several of the members failed to recognize the symbiotic nature of digital and analog operations, even if it is not widely practiced. Everyone, even me, brings their personal biases, agendas, and experiences to the table, errrr, Zoom meeting. These were at times difficult to resolve, at least for me.

The survey has some surprises in it, at least for me, and at least one of those is hard for me to deal with. Like, I said, more over beer. - Duffey  

On Apr 27, 2022, at 16:23, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:

Thanks for your comments Jim.  I was asked to proofread the survey but didn't know who was on the working committee.

Even though I'm not openly advocating for any particular change, I think the idea of one Q on CW/SSB and another on any digital mode is important to keep VHF contesting from simply becoming a 'contest of technology' and not one of operator skill.  I believe the new subcategories are kind of backwards.  I think they should have been MIXED MODE and DIGITAL ONLY, with 2 Qs per station allowed as I mentioned.

This would hopefully bring the serious contesters back to analog modes, running SSB or CW for rate when the band is open and digging out weak ones on FT8 when it's not or working meteors in the early morning on MSK144.  The DIGITAL ONLY subcategory would be the choice for all those casual FT8-or-die ops and allow them to go do their thing without any impact.

I'm of the opinion that this is the world envisioned by K1JT when he started work on WSJT.  The ability to run rate on analog when the bands were hot and the option of weak signal Qs when it was not.  I would operate VHF contests in such a world.  Right now, the idea of contesting with 100% digital modes doesn't interest me.

I have a room reserved for Central States, but I don't yet know if I'll make it or not.  We have a lot going on this summer.


Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

On Wed, Apr 27, 2022, 2:24 PM James Duffey <jamesduffey@...> wrote:
Keith - Good to hear from you. 

I agree with many of your comments about the change as implemented. 

I was on the subcommittee that worked on the survey and also did some data mining to support recommendations. It is probably poor form on my part at this point to comment too much on our deliberations that led to this recommendation as we are continuing to consider the issue and other recommendations should be forthcoming. I fear that some of my comments may be considered to undermine the committee’s ongoing efforts. The recommendation for changes are not complete. At least, I hope that they are not complete.

I can discuss this further over a beer or two, but suffice it to say I was for stronger action, including allowing two QSOs per band, one for each mode. There are a lot of factors involved, some involving rather strong personalities, and some who had ideas on what should be done that are not really related to the digital mode issue, at least in my opinion. 

Current contest activity is high when judged by logs submitted. On that measure it is difficult to justify to many that significant changes, such as two QSOs per band, will result in a better contest. In my opinion, we did not tackle the real issue, and the one, in my opinion we were tasked to address, that is essentially increasing the number of analog QSOs available. I, and others, think the solution is straight forward with few bad consequences. Others do not. 

Like I said, a beer or two will get you deeper insight. Are you going to CSVHF this summer? - Duffey KK6MC


On Apr 27, 2022, at 12:58, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:

So, THIS is the result of the survey we responded to last year ?  They did the absolute minimum to address the analog v digital question.  Since you can still only work a guy once per band, these new "analog only" categories will have minimal opportunity for Qs.  I foresee them being a dismal failure, with scores maybe 10% of the mixed mode entries.

it's almost like the "contest advisory" people thought, "Lets just do lip service to all those old fogies out there who don't like digital contesting - See, we threw a SSB/CW party and nobody came"  Nothing to see here - move on...

I'm not advocating for rules changes any more - it is what it is, a technology limited version of contesting where one's pileup skills and rate capability, so important in most contesting, is negated by how many digital sequences you and everybody else can fit in each hour.


Keith J Morehouse
Managing Partner
Calmesa Partners G.P.
Olathe, CO

On Wed, Apr 27, 2022 at 12:42 PM James Duffey <JamesDuffey@...> wrote:
The latest ARRL Contest Bulletin contains an announcement (see below) that a new analog only subcategory has been added to the June VHF contest for the SOHP, SOLP, SO3B and SOP categories.  See the cut and paste from the bulletin below.  You still work a station only once per band regardless of mode (no change).  The new category is intended to address those contest participates who wish to use only SSB/CW allowing them to not have to compete with those who are also use digital modes (or perhaps only digital modes), plus it creates a category of contest stations that you can only worked by using SSB/CW. - Duffey KK6MC

Contest Bulletin Announcement
New Categories Added to ARRL June VHF ContestParticipants in the Single Operator categories for the June VHF Contest can now enter in All Mode (which includes all digital modes) or Analog-Only (CW and SSB/FM) subcategories. The ARRL Programs and Services Committee, with guidance from the Contest Advisory Committee, has approved this rule change in response to the survey that was sent to participants of ARRL VHF contests late last year. For full rules and details, visit

James Duffey
Cedar Crest NM

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