[CQ-Contest] WSJT-X and contesting

Jim Brown k9yc at audiosystemsgroup.com
Mon Dec 3 15:14:39 EST 2018

On 12/3/2018 10:22 AM, Wayne, W5XD wrote:
> ARRL has added WSJT-X as an allowable mode for next month's RTTY Round
> Up. I am daring to speak from ignorance (I have yet to make a single FT8
> QSO) but will ask anyway whether this is a "good idea."

Your post indicates ignorance of how modes like FT8 work. I suggest that 
you install WSJT-X and make some QSOs before making rash statements like 
this based on hearsay. It might interest you to know that some first 
rate contesters and DXers are active using FT8. I use it extensively on 
6M. One of those promoting FT8 for contesting is W0YK. FT8 is close to 
replacing RTTY for DXpeditions. Top CW ops like AA7A, AA7JV, and K6MM 
were among those who did a lot of FT8 from KH1, and more top CW ops did 
the same from VP6D. AA7JV appreciated the ability of FT8 to put EU 
stations in the log at signal levels 10 dB below where CW works.

Modern contesting makes extensive use of computer software and hardware. 
I have yet to meet anyone who can copy RTTY in their head or generate by 
hand. All the CW that most of us send in a contest is computer 
generated. The computer checks for dupes, presents us with a list of 
calls to choose from when we start to enter one. The computer puts the 
calls it sees from its RTTY decoder into a stack, from which we can 
automatically work the one at the top. We can initiate a QSO by clicking 
on a call on the screen. CW and RTTY skimmers fill our bandmaps with 
calls, highlighted by color to tell us whether they're workable and 
their multiplier value. In contests like CQWW, the computer fills in the 
exchange -- all the human does is copy the call.

I am among the many OTs who started contesting in the '50s with a bug, 
two ears, paper logs and paper dupe sheets. I wonder if any of those 
purists who look down on modes like FT8 still do that.

73, Jim K9YC

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