[CQ-Contest] [sysops] RBN Announcement on FT8 Spotting

Michael Adams mda at n1en.org
Tue Jun 12 12:47:05 EDT 2018

A couple of thoughts on FT8 in the RBN:

I view the RBN as a multi-purpose tool.  For me, it's critical in contesting (I like assisted S&P; it might not be as magical as spinning the dial, but rate is fun all on its own!), it's a valuable tool in DX-award chasing, and it's useful in monitoring propagation patterns...something I'm particularly interested in before/during big DXpeditions and before contests.

With a couple of DXpeditions now trying out FT8, and given the volume of activity on the mode...I think it's OK in principle to keep FT8 in the RBN mix.

However, the RBN won't be a usable tool if it crashes under the added burden of a bajillion spots.

Breaking out the FT8 spots into a separate feed makes a certain amount of sense, but perhaps some additional throttling might be appropriate, depending on how loads develop.  A few ideas:

  *   Does the aggregator attempt to limit itself to only those stations whose exchanges suggest they might be running?   Propagation data from non-running stations is interesting, but perhaps that data is expendable if load is an issue.

  *   Perhaps there might be some value in limiting the number of stations that can relay FT8 spots, or in throttling the rate at which they can relay those spots?  If throttling, could there be some logic to prioritize the "most interesting" spots?

  *   Refusing to accept FT8 spots on "big contest" weekends would make sense...but I suspect that encroachment of contest modes into the FT8 watering holes will take care of at least part of that problem naturally.

Michael Adams | mda at n1en.org

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