I been reading all these ft8 comments for a few years now and have
basically sat on the sidelines. I have just a few comments to add from my
experience this past summer.
In June I never saw rate impacted by ft8. When band was dead ft8 was the
best choice and when open I had no trouble running guys on ssb. After all
we worked over 1000 6m qsos in the June contest from kg5cci multi op where
Second ft8 really improves bands above 2m. With very modest antennas you
can work things never though of with ssb or cw. And I think my highest rate
ever on 2m wasn't above 15 qs an hour so what is ft8 hurting there? The
ability to run bands which is a different issue solved by sending free text
or chat page. Any serious contester know to automatically qsy anyway.
Please note there is a huge difference between serious contesters and
casual operators. The serious ops must learn to use the new modes and the
old modes alike.
On Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 10:03 PM Marshall-K5QE <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Hello all....I have read all the comments carefully. Some I like and
> some I hate. I think that is pretty normal for all of us.
> However, I want to make a point that has only been touched on by one
> other poster. There is a BIG difference between FT8(for tropo
> contacts), MSK144(for meteor scatter), and JT65(for EME). Yes, they all
> are "digital". And as Jay pointed out, "Rate is King".
> MSK144 is normally used when the band is dead to any other method of
> making a QSO. MSK is usually a very slow mode, quite often taking 15-20
> min to make a contact. I cannot imagine someone using meteor scatter if
> the band were open to any other mode, just because the rate is so slow.
> Meteor scatter can and often does provide several "rare" grids that are
> usually way out there and not possible via FT8. Meteor scatter is
> normally run in the dead of night when even FT8 is a "no go". The
> bottom line is that you can pick up some multipliers late at night, but
> you will never set the contesting world on fire with MSK144.
> JT65 is used for EME. EME is also a very slow mode. IF everything is
> perfect, it takes 4 minutes to make a contact. Hence, it is
> theoretically possible to make 15 contacts in an hour. In practice, you
> will not even get close to that. So, the bottom line here is that the
> rate for EME is really poor, even though you can pick up a few grids
> that you could never get any other way.
> Now let's turn our attention to FT8. Compared to Es, FT8 is a rate
> killer, big time. Any decent contester knows that on Es, you can make a
> QSO every 10 seconds or so. Hence, you can make 6 contacts in a
> minute--hour after hour assuming that you have the stations on the other
> end to work. Theoretically, FT8 requires 1 minute to make a contact.
> In practice, if you get half that as an average, you are really doing well.
> So why has FT8 swept everything else away? This is the BIG question
> that needs considering. My Take: VHF Rookies have discovered that they
> can make "DX" contacts on 6M via FT8. Rookies don't care about rate or
> serious contesting, they just want to work DX easily. They get a few
> new grids and maybe a new state or two and they are ecstatic! They are
> not interested in building up a big station with big antennas and big
> power. They get to work a few "difficult" contacts easily and cheaply.
> This point of view is probably correct for them as long as they remain
> casual operators. Since everyone needs to work the casual operators, we
> are stuck operating the way that they operate, just to get them in the
> logs. All this is a shame, because in the "good old days", the casual
> operators would get down on the low end of 6M and when the band opened,
> everyone worked everyone(just not on the same frequency). Rate was high
> and the little pistols were able to work the big guns as well as the
> other little pistols. Now, you cannot pry their cold dead fingers off
> the FT8 button.
> Well reasoned comments welcome. Flames go directly to the bit bucket,
> will not pass GO, and will not collect $200.
> I hope that everyone had a good contest this time. For us it was a hard
> slog through the mud. But, January is always a hard slog.
> 73 to all...Marshall K5QE
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