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Re: [VHFcontesting] ARRL VHF Test 3 Band Category - long rant better del

To: Terry Price <terry@directivesystems.com>, "vhfcontesting@contesting.com" <VHFcontesting@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] ARRL VHF Test 3 Band Category - long rant better delete!!
From: Ed Kucharski <k3dne@comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2021 18:20:02 -0500 (EST)
List-post: <mailto:vhfcontesting@contesting.com>
Well said Terry! I'm with you 100% - maybe more. I too operate FT4, FT8 and 
MSK144. I almost have to, now that I've moved to a less vhf+ population dense 
area in SC (EM94). I can't tell you how many times I've called CQ on the 6 and 
2m SSB calling freqs with no takers during contests. Even last weekend, when 6m 
was open to W1/W2 for a short period Sunday morning with decent signal 
strengths, I only made 6 SSB QSO's. I still have most of my 50MHz thru 3456MHz 
gear in storage which I had planned to use mountaintop portable, but I'm 
wondering if the work to do so is worth the reward due to the proliferation of 
digital in vhf contests.  

I sent an email proposal in July to ARRL (Division Director, Division Vice 
Director and CAC Board Liaison, Contest Manager, Contest Advisory Committee 
Roanoke Division Member/Board Liaison). I received only a couple of pleasant 
replies back but nothing to indicate my proposal would grow legs and run. I 
know there has been lots of ideas and proposals floated on the subject. My 
proposal and long winded support are too long to post in their entirety here, 
but the bottom line is:

My proposal for ARRL VHF contests is to add three additional entry sub 

"Legacy Category" (one contact on the same band with the same station on Phone 
or CW ONLY).

"Digital Category" (one contact with the same station on the same band using 
any recognized Digital mode ONLY).

"Mixed Mode Category" (potentially two contacts with the same station on the 
same band; Phone or CW AND Digital). This category is a combination of "Legacy" 
[phone or CW]   AND  " Digital" similar to the rules associated with ARRL 10m 

Phone/CW contacts can NOT be made on  frequencies recognized for digital modes 
and all digital contacts MUST be made on recognized frequencies used for 
digital modes only. All the other rules and scoring will remain the same.

Stations that enter the Mixed Mode category may change modes at any time but 
must follow the above rule associated where contacts can (or can not) be made. 
This is to prevent working a station on phone/cw and switching to digital on 
the same frequency. 

Briefly, the spirit and intent of my proposal (paraphrased) which I sent to 

There has been a tremendous amount of traffic about FTx VHF+ contesting on the 
VHF reflectors over the past several years with many suggestions for rule
changes including; eliminate FTx from VHF+ contesting, restrict categories, add
categories, change QSO point values, have contest(s) without FTx, add a
stand-alone VHF+ digital only contest (I think this is a good idea but won't 
solve all the problems), etc. I've heard of several VHF+ operators that have 
decided to get out of vhf+ contesting due to FTx. I believe the challenge is to 
retain legacy operators and operations and provide a competitive and fun 
environment (similar to pre-digital) while also embracing digital ops. They can 
be in two very different camps! This is where I believe rule changes come in to 
play - to adjust the contest rules to accommodate both camps. After considering 
and studying many of the proposed rule changes or adjustments, I support the 
one above that I believe is similar to another popular contest –  the ARRL 10 
meter contest. In that contest one has the option of competing in the Mixed 
Mode (phone and CW), CW only or Phone only categories.


>     On 01/18/2021 3:50 PM Terry Price < terry@directivesystems.com 
> mailto:terry@directivesystems.com > wrote:
>     This brings up a long time complaint about the ARRL/CAC or whomever 
> decides
>     rules and categories.
>     I've only been VHF contesting since the late 70's, was too busy auto 
> racing
>     and motocross racing before that but I don't understand the thought 
> process
>     they go through. I'm sure it's a "good old boys club" much like our
>     Congress, but they do things that completely defy logic.
>     There should a LP and HP for all the categories like the 3 band and the
>     limited multiop. It won't hurt participation it would help. Instead of
>     folks thinking it's useless to compete against the big boys and go watch a
>     football game, they might stick it out knowing they have a real chance.
>     It's a lot of work to do a limited multiop from a portable location and
>     adding high power just makes it worse. If it's a money thing having to 
> send
>     out more plaques, hell I'll pay for more than we do now just to get more
>     activity.
>     While on the subject of activity, FT8. FT8 is great to work someone that 
> is
>     500 miles away that is just below your capability to work but just to sit
>     on 144.174 or 50.313 and work the next grid over is just plain CRAZY!!! Do
>     you ever see the MS guys just sit on MSK144 and work the next grid, NO !!!
>     It's a tool and they use it like it should be. Do I operate FT8 more than 
> I
>     should, heck yes because i'm a contester and the object of a contest is to
>     score the most contacts and grids and if it takes FT8, FM, cell phone,
>     FEDEX or UPS I'll do it but it's hurting the upper bands by limiting the
>     ability to move people. I think the biggest draw to FT8 is the folks with
>     limited antennas or no antennas have found that they can make contacts by
>     using FT8. Or the HF'ers that have a radio with 6m but load it up on their
>     tri-bander and the only way they can be heard is using FT8. I don't have 
> an
>     answer for that but IMHO it's hurting VHF contesting more than it's
>     helping. Moving people to other bands is harder and I think rovers are 
> most
>     affected by that and as a rover, it won't take muck of that to turn Andy
>     and I off from roving. Spending two LONG days driving hundreds of miles
>     isn't worth it if everyone is stuck on FT8
>     Last is the rover scoring. I understand there was a loop hole and someone
>     exploited it to pad their clubs score. The knee jerk reaction was to hurt
>     the rovers which was WRONG then and it's still WRONG now!!! Each time a
>     rover goes to a new grid, they should start their long over and at the 
> end,
>     it all adds up. This gives incentive to activate more grids. To get around
>     the club loop hole is easy, rovers can't use their logs to help their club
>     score. But if you think about it, they already have helped their club just
>     by making more contacts for their members. Rovers should compete against
>     themselves and whatever scoring scheme is used should promote activity not
>     diminish it!!
>     Thanks to everyone that was on this past weekend for the contest. K8GP
>     (K1RA and I) were operating from my new location in FM09 @2300 ASL with
>     very limited antennas. I hope to have the big K8GP multi-multi going again
>     soon from the new location.
>     Sorry about the long rant but I feel much better now !!!
>     Terry Price - W8ZN
>     Directive Systems and Engineering
>     703-754-3876
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