ARRL VHF Contests and FT-8

Discussion in 'Contests, DXpeditions and Special Events' started by N3AWS, Mar 7, 2021.

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  1. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I spent some time reading the Soapboxes of recent ARRL VHF and up contests and noticed quite a few participants were commenting on FT-8 changing the dynamics in a way that many found harmful. According to them, the rise in FT-8 was resulting in many ops simply staying on six and two and never listening for CW or SSB. These were mostly ops that had invested in large, multi band stations and who specialized in moving stations and running the bands. As higher frequencies result in more points per QSO as well as additional multipliers, this was reducing their scores. Some multi band rovers were also complaining.

    Do you feel this is a legitimate complaint or not? Will you modify your methods of operating due to this?


    Jim N3AWS
  2. KY1K

    KY1K Ham Member QRZ Page

    My typical contest "methods of operating" is: I Don't.
    I do not use "CW" and really don't enjoy SSB, especially with my tiny underpowered station.
    I work 99% digital modes and don't really care about points or online confirmations. I sometimes play during the VHF Contest because of the increased activity! Of course I'm not interested in the points but I submit to be polite for others.
    I have FM on the 'rare' 220, 900, & 1200 bands so I'd listen on simplex there (because I never hear people there otherwise) and stick to FT8 on 144 & 440 for the increased distance.
    N3AWS likes this.
  3. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    So why then troll this thread, aptly placed in the 'Contests' forum and specifically asking how users perceive FT8 vs. CW/SSB in VHF contests?

    The forum the OP used is specifically aimed at those who partake in radio contesting - it's not a dumping ground for "contest haters"

    Please be reminded that blatant trolling is against the QRZ Code of Conduct

    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
    KP4SX, W7EDC and KA2FIR like this.
  4. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not to be argumentative, but the sentiments KY1K expressed were also well represented in the Soapbox comments I referred to. As a primarily digital operator on VHF, he gravitates to the activity and that translates into contests. This is one of three groups I noticed.

    The second is those who feel that when activity picks up, they will switch from FT-8 to CW/SSB because the rates are higher and QSOs can be moved to other bands easily.

    The third group reminds me of the pack rovers. They want to move as many stations as possible to as many bands as possible to maximize their scores which is fine. But some expressly said that FT-8 QSOs should be excluded (perhaps to have their own contests).

    I’d like to see some discussion by all involved.


    Jim N3AWS
  5. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I think you misread his post - he simply said he doesn't do contests. Period. Not CW, not SSB, not FT8

    So why bother posting?

    But I'll stay out of it :)

    N3AWS likes this.
  6. KY1K

    KY1K Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm sorry I wasn't clearer. I might be active on FT8 during the contest, but it is activity that would NOT be happening in another mode. It's not moving from CW/SSB. It's new added activity.

    If I was going to be a blatant troll, I would have said that all contests are dumb and FT8 killing it is a good thing.
    W2JLD, ND6M and N3AWS like this.
  7. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Frankly, I appreciate any and all activity in these contests!

    But sometimes changes meet resistance. Silly arguments over issues like this have caused the number of participants to fall off quite a bit in years past.

    I hope by discussion we can avoid that!

  8. K1XH

    K1XH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think it might start to level the playing field.
    It allows smaller stations to be more competitive.
    It also allows for much more weak signal activity that might not normally occur.
    N3AWS likes this.
  9. N3FAA

    N3FAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's exactly what the big gun stations are worried about, especially on HF.

    I don't do a lot of contesting above HF, but when I have, there just wasn't all that much activity. If FT8 adds activity that otherwise wouldn't exist, why the heck not?
    N3AWS likes this.
  10. AE1N

    AE1N Ham Member QRZ Page

    aaaaah ,,, CONTESTING!

    B.Secret to Bavarian contesting1.jpg

    A.Man Falls Asleep During PSK Contest; Macros Complete 78 QSOs1.jpg


    B.Eat sleep contest.jpg

    B.Man emerges from shack after contest season 2 find wife gone.gif

    B.Man depressed months after contest ends.gif

    ---Layne AE1N

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