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Re: [VHFcontesting] Is FT8 Really the Problem with VHF Contests?

To: "Josef 'Jeff' Sipek" <jeffpc@josefsipek.net>
Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] Is FT8 Really the Problem with VHF Contests?
From: Dave <kdcarlso@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2022 14:18:54 -0400
List-post: <mailto:vhfcontesting@contesting.com>
Jeff, it is true that it is costly but in general it has gotten less
expensive. I was licensed in 1981+/- when I was in Jr. High and most if not
all of the new HF rigs didn't even cover 6m. There were dedicated radios
for some of the bands, 6m, 2m, 1.25m, and 70cm but they were as much as an
HF rig. Many groups did transverter builds and that was cost effective but
some skill was required. Commercially, it was very expensive to get on a
band but people did as the activity level was much greater. I think I had
$1000 into just three bands by the time I graduated high school in 1985.
That's almost $3K in today's dollars.

Pretty much all of the HF designs today include 6m and a 9700 is really a
deal compared to the "old days." Three bands, satellite, and a digital mode
for $1400ish.. Q5 also has a 5 band transverter for $2K, which while an
investment is certainly an inexpensive way to hit the ground running.

I think there are larger issues with getting new blood into the weak signal
world. Lack of antennas might be the greatest problem. Less hams seem to be
putting up towers or even real antennas on the roof. I see comment after
comment about what the spouse will allow, or they are concerned about
the neighbors opinion. Even a dipole in the trees is often frowned upon.
Then there are the HOA's. For every 10 hams that might have an interest in
weak signal work I'd guess eight or nine contend with a HOA or spousal


On Tue, Sep 13, 2022 at 11:59 AM Josef 'Jeff' Sipek <jeffpc@josefsipek.net>

> On Tue, Sep 13, 2022 at 03:33:24 -0400, Doug Bates wrote:
> ...
> > Yes phone VHF contesting may have been more fun before FT8 came along
> I think another way to put it, is that correlation does not imply
> causation.
> Anyway, I thought I'd chime in with a new ham perspective.  I got my
> license
> two years ago which means that I got to build a "shack" from scratch
> relatively recently.  When I started surveying the market to figure out
> what
> transceivers existed that'd get me on air, it became painfully clear that
> there is essentially no "cheap" way to get SSB 2m and up with double-digit
> watts.
> I definitely wanted 100W HF, and while I liked the idea of VHF/UHF SSB, I
> wasn't sure if I'd use it enough.  Aside from some diehard VHF/UHF hams,
> nobody seemed to care about VHF/UHF other than for FM.
> At the time, the two obvious transceiver options were the FT-991A and the
> IC-7300.  Translating that into practical terms:
>  1. IC-7300: HF+6 only, very popular choice, transverters get expensive
>     quickly, IC-9700 is even more expensive
>  2. FT-991A: $100 more than IC-7300 for 2m and 70cm all-mode capability of
>     "ok" quality (the 2m/70cm frontend is somewhat "bolted on")
> So, I had to decide between a very popular radio that seemed to get just
> about everything right but had no VHF/UHF and a radio that few talked about
> but had a reasonable VHF/UHF capability for $100 more - without having no
> idea what I was going to like.  (After agonizing over the decision for a
> while, I ended up going with the Yaesu and it has served me well during
> both
> HF and VHF contests - both at home and as /R - as well as POTA/SOTA/WWFF.)
> I'd argue that the vast majority of new hams will either (1) stick to FM
> repeaters and never venture beyond, or (2) not consider *any of this* and
> get the very popular IC-7300 unknowingly cutting themselves off from other
> modes on VHF/UHF (without additional investment).
> So, I think I primarily blame the lack of readily available hardware for
> the
> underutilization of VHF/UHF.  I don't know what things were like before,
> but
> I get the impression that there were more choices when it came to VHF/UHF
> SSB.
> Just my 2 cents,
> Jeff (AC1JR)
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