Re: [VHFcontesting] Digital and Q arrangement contesting

Keith Morehouse

... for what it's worth, Lew has nailed down my exact feelings and opinion of the current state of VHF contesting in this new world of FT8.  I approve of his post !


Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

On Mon, Sep 23, 2019, 9:41 PM Lew Sayre <w7ew@...> wrote:
     Greetings to all Contesters,
K5QE has written up a fine article about VHF contesting and why we should
leave the contest rules alone. It is clear that K5QE cares deeply about the
subject. So do I. I have a different opinion on some of his assumptions so
I'm sharing them with you. My opinions may be worth exactly what it costs
you to read them but they may be representative of a significant number of

K5QE wrote, "HF contesting is all about how you find stations not about how
you work stations".  I'd like him to explain more fully that statement to
Ops like KL9A, N6MJ, W2SC,CT1BOH and others who are  performing mutant like
operating by interleaving QSOs from 2 radios. Why do they do this?  I'd
guess that by developing their operating skills and winning contests they
are having fun. I'll get back to this idea of fun.

The ARRL did remove rules pertaining to the use of internet chat rooms and
telephones during contests a few years ago. Why did they do that?  It was
aimed at making it easier for stations to find other stations to work and
diminish slow times.  After reading K5QE's note it is clear that by making
VHF contesting easier it has been a great success with everybody having
more fun.

Then along comes Dr. Taylor with his brilliant weak signal modes in WSJT-X.
Now not only do the operators not worry about looking for stations but they
really don't need to know how to operate to the same extent as a CW, SSB or
RTTY operator. The FT-modes now allows minimally equipped stations to see
and work real DX. It is a whole lot easier and a whole lot of fun which
explains the runaway popularity of the FT-modes.

What we are experiencing is amateur radio evolution right in front of us.
Operators are voting with their computer mice over the other modes because
the FT-modes are easier than CQ or SSB or RTTY, and a lot of fun.

But there is a rub. There is a significant number of operators who have
developed contesting skills and derive their fun from exercising those
skills like the 4 stalwarts mentioned in the second paragraph. We have
already seen that by combining the FT-modes in a VHF contest with CW and
SSB that the pool of operators for the legacy modes is diminished. Since it
is not much fun for the CW or SSB Ops they'll find other ways to enjoy
their recreational time in the future such as SOTA, IOTA, golf or moving to
a state where recreational cannabis is legal.

The WWROF (World Wide Radio Operators Foundation) has the correct outlook
here. A few weeks ago they sponsored the first FT8/FT4 only HF contest
which was well attended.  The VHF contesting world needs to do the same
thing, which is to delete digital modes in the current VHF contests and
develop a separate FT8/FT4 only VHF contest.  This would provide a pool of
operators who would be having FT fun with a percentage of them becoming
bitten by the contesting bug and then developing the other skills necessary
to compete in CQ and SSB contests.

We do radio to exercise our radio skills which is rewarding and fun. The
contests we do should emphasize those rewards and, not by their very
nature, lead to conflict, malaise and unhappiness..The old VHF rules are
broken by the success of the FT modes. Separate contests will rectify the

73 and I remain,
  Lew       w7ew
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