Re: [VHFcontesting] Pondering

Bill
 

I've been lurking on this issue for some time now. I must say that the declining  VHF contest environment since the advent of FT8 has become masterfully defined by many.  I agree with most of the comments thus far: We cannot put that beautiful genie back in the bottle. Contesting life as we knew it has changed forever. We're doing a poor job of protecting our spectrum space by concentrating activity on a few channelized hot spots..... and so on.

I'd like to see some discussion about proposed changes.  I've heard some good ones: Allow points to be accrued by contacts made on different modes on each band. Have separate contests for digital and SSB/CW as examples.  So lets hear some chatter about solution proposals.

As long as the "submitted logs" metric is thought to be the accepted goodness factor, we'll have a difficult time convincing anyone that anything needs fixing. Average VHF QSOs per log is decreasing. So is activity on the higher UHF bands; and those are the metrics we should use in discussions about changes.

Bill W7QQ
DM75ao


On Wed, Sep 25, 2019 at 6:40 PM Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:
This is all good and very true.  BUT, the problem is only a small percentage of ops on 6M during a June or July contest really CARE if they are winning or losing.

The vast majority of ops the "big guys" work during a killer run, be it on 6 during the ARRL June VHF contest or on 40 during Sweepstakes phone, are only there casually.  You or I can stand on our street corner box and preach the gospel of using SSB (OK, or CW...) during an opening, threatening hell-fire, damnation and, gasp!, a contest lost and the majority of those we work will think, "Why should I care ?  I'm not a competitor anyway.  I'm just in it for a contact, a new grid, for something to do untill the game comes on TV...".

FT8 (I separate that mode out as the real killer of contest rate - MSK144 & JT65 ENHANCE your score - FT8 does the opposite) is a fine mode, being used improperly by the very operators serious contesters need to put up 'the good numbers'.  You will probably not stop this by traditional means - such as education through mentoring or Contest University.  Heck, maybe it SHOULDN'T be stopped and just accepted as a natural change in the VHF contesting scene, like grid squares replaced ARRL sections as mults.

If that is the case, MANY traditional ops, unfortunately for the casual ops, those with some of the bigger signals, will leave (and are leaving...) the band for other endeavors more satisfying then mouse clicking all day.  If this was happening to HF contesting you would see rapid movement for change.

I believe the HF contesting movers and shakers don't realize or care that VHF has a problem that is lowering scores and diminishing contesting skills.  VHF contests, by definition, allow all modes to be used.  HF contests have CW weekends and Phone weekends.   

The question on 6M is not whether you love or hate FT8, it's a matter of fundamentally changing the state of the VHF contesting art for the worse.  If this is acceptable to the majority, so be it.  If it's not acceptable, what changes need to be made ?

-W9RM

Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

On Wed, Sep 25, 2019, 4:30 PM Marshall-K5QE <k5qe@...> wrote:

The really great ops that sometimes visit here can do more than 200 contacts per hour. 
What that means is that if you are fooling around with FT8, making 30
contacts an hour(a fair estimate) while a big Es opening occurs, you
will lose the contest.  On the other hand if you spend loads of time
calling CQ on SSB, hoping for an opening that never occurs, you will
lose the contest.

The contest knowledge and skill is in knowing when to be running SSB,
when to be running MSK144, when to use JT65, and when to use FT8.  I can
almost guarantee that if you blindly park on one of the FT8 "watering
holes" for the entire contest, you will not do as well as someone that
uses a more "adventurous" approach.




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