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No FT8 ROBOTS allowed in ARRL Contests!

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by WA6MHZ, Aug 13, 2019.

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  1. AF2Z

    AF2Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    The main interest in the new point-and-click modes will be software & programming- not operating a radio. At least, it will be for the "new generation" of hams. Programming your own robotic automation for competition in a contest would be great fun, not button pushing for QSOs.

    I would find such contest robot programming fun. I've done some automation with the WSPR software. Using WSPR to compare two antennas side-by-side I automated routines for switching the antenna at known intervals. This had to be done somewhat precisely since WSPR is normally set to transmit at random intervals, and the safe no-transmit window for antenna switching is rather short. Also did a similar study switching between power levels on my rig and inserting the correct power level into the WSPR message, just to find out how power output related to number of QSOs...

    However, contest robot programming is NOT ham radio; has nothing to do with operating a radio, which hamming is all about. Such activity will not coexist peacefully with real operators. The issue that ARRL will ultimately have to deal with is point-and-click mode users vs ham radio operators. That will be the real contest.
  2. WZ7U

    WZ7U Ham Member QRZ Page

    That sums up the entirety of human history.
    KK5JY likes this.
  3. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Absolutely true, and it requires more than that.

    The way FT8 is time-sychronized and split into the even and odd intervals, if you are consistently transmitting in the even intervals, you are only receiving during the odd intervals, and thus you have no way of knowing which frequency slots are occupied during your transmissions.

    The only way to avoid creating unintentional QRM is to periodically stop transmitting for a few complete cycles to get a picture of what frequency slots are occupied so you can pick an empty slot. Or periodically switch between even and odd timeslots, making sure to chose a frequency slot that had been unoccupied while you were watching it during earlier cycles.

    There is still a chance that the unoccupied slot you choose will have been simultaneously chosen by another operator who decided to move at the same time you moved. You and the other OP may QRM each other, unaware, until one of you moves again. That's a problem with insisting everyone's transmissions begin and end in perfect synchronization.
  4. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why not simply establish a ham radio computer contest? First prize is the ‘my computer is bigger than your computer” trophy.
    WN1MB likes this.
  5. W5TTP

    W5TTP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well said.
  6. N6PAT

    N6PAT Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just like the CW ops in 1933: Hah, hah! Welcome to the key and talk modes.
  7. W7UUU

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

    Huh? How do CW/Morse decoding skills in any way relate to "FT8 Computer Mouse clicking" skills?

    That's a classic non-sequitur

    I'm not getting that connection.... please explain the similarities - I do not see ANY

    K1OIK likes this.
  8. N6PAT

    N6PAT Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    My point is that CW ops surely looked down at voice operations when they were introduced much like today's ops demonstrating great disdain towards FT8
  9. W7UUU

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

    I suppose this is quite probably true - I didn't get the reference at first.... it's really hard for us "so far in the future" to judge the attitudes of those who have long ago been, done, argued, and gone.

    So yes - in that reference, you probably are pretty correct I'd have to say.... "Phone" must have been a total shock and insult to "Spark/CW" operators in the 1930s. I can see that!!

    So good point IMO!


    N7ANN likes this.
  10. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have pretty much the same opinion and see nothing wrong with allowing more automation into contesting. There is a lot more to being truly competitive then just making the QSO's (error free).

    Key elements to winning are, obviously, maximizing the point rate, which means not only making as many QSO's as possible in the alloted time but also score multipliers, when used.

    In most cases this requires choosing between CQ running versus S&P, carefully determined band changes, adherence to propagation, applicable xmit timing rules, QRT off times, and if allowed, wise use of DX cluster and/or skimmer spots.

    The programming of a really competitive robotic contest system to optimize all those factors would get into some serious AI to make those kinds of higher level strategic decisions.

    I always thought increasing shack automation was the basis for creating the "Assisted" category now found in most major events. Perhaps unlimited robotic elements should simply be confined to the Assisted category.

    While simultaneously, I would like to see a reverse migration of the NON-Assisted contest category toward more basic and direct human operator radio skills, ie, perhaps even no computerized logging with the now standard associated "help" ie dupe checking, check partial, etc, and perhaps even no memory keyers. Just use a spreadsheet.

    Like multi-ops, SO2R should always be segregated. And more consideration of categories or exclusive events for boatanchors.

    73, John, WØPV

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