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Re: [VHFcontesting] Prpposal: change SOFM to allow more bands

To: Gregory Winters <greg_winters@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] Prpposal: change SOFM to allow more bands
From: Mark Spencer <mark@alignedsolutions.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2021 21:31:39 -0800
List-post: <mailto:vhfcontesting@contesting.com>
The antenna bandwidth / VSWR issues are real issues in my view on some bands.

I used to carry a dedicated FM whip antenna just for 52.525 (and I believe at 
least one other rover in the PNW also did so.)  I stopped doing so several 
years ago as there wasn't enough activity to justify it and 6M whip antenna 
tend to be awkward to deal with at times.  These days my 52.525 antenna is the 
rubber duck on an HT.   I do still carry a whip antenna for 223.5 and made a 
few qso's with it during the recent contest.

I have on occasion carried and used small Yagis and Lpda's for 927 and 1296 FM 
(in addition to larger horizontal loop Yagis for 1296 on occasion for weak 
signal stuff.)

I recall years ago there was some discussion about perhaps having some quasi 
official FM channels near the weak signal portions of at least some bands to 
facilitate FM use by those who only have antennas work properly at the bottom 
of the bands.   I am not really keen on that but I have been known to 
occasionally  try and briefly accommodate Fm operators on 432 and 1296 during 
contests if the bands are quiet and they can hear me on SSB.

Mark Spencer
604 762 4099

> On Jan 18, 2021, at 8:25 PM, Gregory Winters <greg_winters@hotmail.com> wrote:
> I'm guessing bandwidth isn't an issue with FM voice being just kHz wide, 
> until something like a wideband gunnplexers are considered. But I might be 
> wrong on that. Some FM ATV 900MHz on up units do exist, though the older PCE 
> and AEA units used are is older Vestigal Sideband, some version of AM, or 
> other things which aren't 'FM'. Like most gunn units they never get used in 
> these contests either, and their use has plummeted.
> I'm newer to gunn units (don't have one yet) so I don't know the interference 
> potential to narrowband, or wbFM and/or nbFM vs a narrowband SSB signal or 
> digi on 3cm. I see some units at 10.250/10.280 with a 30MHz IF, and some 
> other X band stuff above 10.500.
> On SOFM I realized in the Northwest it was no challenge to win the division 
> so I started multiop'ing to get senior hams back on the air.  They had old 
> equipment and good QTHs but didn't like FM or digital, so I worked those 
> sides. And like SOFM they usually won easily or by default. It worked okay 
> until COVID hit and no one could contest. But given very few SOFM entries in 
> any given contest across all divisions (I was #6 SOFM in the contest overall 
> last year in Jan '20 with a rather minimal effort) I could see they could 
> easily justify eliminating the SOFM class altogether and creating 'all 
> digital' or something.
> There was some article (QST?) a year or so ago where some ham wrote about 
> entering and winning a VHF contest to try to drive interest to SOFM. It 
> didn't significantly increase SOFM entries afterward. Uh oh.
> I'd probably be happy if it didn't have 6m at all due to cross-polarization, 
> but even moreso the SWR can be really high for other ops at 52.525. Its the 
> #1 reason why I frequently a 'thanks but no thanks' asking for a guy to run 
> at 52.525. To get around it we could have run FM around the SSB and digi 
> segment to deal with the SWR issue (on their end) but only if we wanted 
> people to curse us out. And if 900MHz is under consideration for 6G expansion 
> or whatnot, it would be nice to get people to start actually using it. I'd 
> bet most have FM only if they have anything at all on the band.
> 100w seems modest enough as a power level, and never occurred to me to 
> propose a change to it. Some of the big guns may want a change to allow QRO 
> SOFM and support a big change only so they can finally win their section on 
> their DC to daylight superstation :/ 
> There is probably some history of why those bands were chosen. I'd be curious 
> what that is, though I am also curious if it is still relevant. Maybe because 
> Yaesu or Icom came out with a quad band FM HT that year LOL
> 73
> Greg
> From: Mark Spencer <mark@alignedsolutions.com>
> Sent: Monday, January 18, 2021 2:54:40 PM
> To: James C <jabeco@gmail.com>
> Cc: Gregory Winters <greg_winters@hotmail.com>; vhfcontesting@contesting.com 
> <vhfcontesting@contesting.com>
> Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] Prpposal: change SOFM to allow more bands
> Yep..  I carry a 1.2 GHz HT, an Alinco 222 / 927 HT, and a 50, 144, 432 HT 
> with me on almost every rove I go on.  They get enough use to make it 
> worthwhile to charge up the batteries and pack them up each contest.
> 73
> Mark S
> mark@alignedsolutions.com
> 604 762 4099
> > On Jan 18, 2021, at 2:43 PM, James C <jabeco@gmail.com> wrote:
> > 
> > +1 on this idea Greg.
> > Lots of FM 1.2 gear out there (and Alinco 902 HH & flashed Kenwood 902
> > mobiles).
> > I support your effort to increase SOFM to all bands.
> > 
> > 73 .-James K7KQA
> > 
> > 
> > On Mon, Jan 18, 2021 at 2:36 PM Gregory Winters <greg_winters@hotmail.com>
> > wrote:
> > 
> >> While we are pondering proposed changes to SO3B, why not also consider
> >> updating one of the most underutilized classes as well: SOFM.
> >> 
> >> I like idea of SOFM, but its typically limited to just the lowest 4 bands:
> >> 6, 2, 222, and 70cm.
> >> 
> >> Perhaps the SOFM was initially a good idea with those bands, but 6m in
> >> particular gets very little play on FM. SOFM gets such little participation
> >> in the contest overall, even a small score can win a division--and I say
> >> that having done so (!).
> >> 
> >> But on 900MHz and 1296 there is considerable FM equipment in the amateur
> >> community, as well as gunnplexers that never see voltage anymore. Can we
> >> change that?
> >> 
> >> I propose either opening SOFM to all bands, or if that isn't palatable
> >> opening it to a max of 4 bands (and the op chooses which 4). That way even
> >> 10 and 24GHz gunn units and perhaps even FM-ATV units can be part of the
> >> fun?
> >> 
> >> I haven't formally proposed a change, but rather wanted to facilitate the
> >> idea to see if there is any support.
> >> 
> >> 73 de Greg, K3RW
> >> 
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