[CQ-Contest] possible changes for CQ VHF Contest

Jeff Stai wk6i.jeff at gmail.com
Wed Jul 24 13:20:07 EDT 2019

I think that racing sailboats, row boats, canoes, and kayaks in the same
race is not necessarily desirable. Operating each requires different skill
sets. They each go at different rates. They each excel in different
conditions. They each have different limitations.

Contesting phone, CW, FTx, and yes RTTY in the same contest is a similar
proposition. Each has its own challenges. Each requires different skill
sets. Each I would argue requires different station setups for a winning
station - my station can do any mode any time but when set up for a serious
contest effort it is different for each mode. There is a reason we already
separate most contests into different modes.

I think the FT modes do require different skills than the other modes to
win a contest. This is one reason why I would advocate keeping FT modes in
separate contests (and out of RTTY contests too, just by the way).

The good news is MORE CONTESTS and MORE FUN! :)

73 jeff wk6i

On Tue, Jul 23, 2019 at 6:34 PM rjairam at gmail.com <rjairam at gmail.com> wrote:

> I think it would be worthwhile to compare participation pre and post FT8.
> I suspect a lot of those who are using the FT8 mode are not really the
> ones who were using CW and SSB before.
> From what I head these modes actually increased participation and many
> who use these modes wouldn't otherwise be able to participate.
> The only constant is change and there are things that come along that
> knock us down a peg or two. For me on HF it's commercial remote
> operation. I can't see how someone who builds their own station can
> compete against someone who rents airtime on a pre built mega station
> in Maine. But that's the reality now. On VHF the game has shifted
> heavily toward weak signal digital modes.
> The game has changed. So I play differently now. Different categories,
> different goals and different expectations.  I tried (team) roving
> last year for ARRL VHF and I liked it. However, time for a rove is at
> a premium, and my roaming partner (K2EZ) has work schedules that may
> place her in Texas or somewhere else so it's a hit or miss.
> I suspect resistance will be futile. Putting the digital modes in its
> own contests basically says that we don't want these new modes and we
> prefer to compete the same old way against the same old (and getting
> older) guys. You also only have so many weekends per year.
> Let's go back to a basic question:
> What are you measuring with contesting? Skill? Station? There are a
> lot of variables. And it's not as easy as sitting and punching buttons
> on FT8/FT4. To begin with the rate is lower. You also have to consider
> that sometimes a station will abandon you to move on to someone else.
> And it takes 15-60 seconds to realize that. On CW and SSB you can tell
> right away if someone faded away or simply dropped the QSO.
> Not offering a solution one way or the other here. I realize that this
> issue has passions on both sides. I'm firmly on the "let's change it
> up and try new things" camp. However, I draw the line at full
> automation which I think is reasonable.
> 70% of ham traffic is now FT8. That's the reality. However, fully
> automatic operation will not be (and should not be) allowed for credit
> contesting and DXing. Honor system and obvious automation is easy to
> spot.
> But I may be willing to try removing the FT/JT modes from these VHF
> contests as an experiment. I suspect participation will drop off as
> the digital stations will just stay on digital and work the band
> openings.
> 73
> Ria
> N2RJ
> On Tue, 23 Jul 2019 at 13:00, Dennis McAlpine <dbmcalpine73 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > GM John,
> >
> >
> >
> > I enjoyed the past weekend and the CQ VHF Contest quite a lot.  For once,
> > there was propagation from SC to most areas East of the Mississippi both
> > afternoons.  I, for once, actually thought I had done pretty well
> > considering that I only run about 400 watts into an H-Doublebay antenna
> with
> > the top at about 35' above ground.  I ended up `with 326 QSOs and 120
> grid
> > squares for a score of 39,120, all on 6M.  I have not used FT8/FT4 in
> > contests since I think it is against the principle that these contests
> are a
> > test of operator skill as much as equipment savy.  I was a bit surprised
> > when I filled in the 3830 score submittal that it did not request a
> > breakdown by mode into CW, SSB, digital but then there was no separate
> > category within the contest either.  All was fine until I started seeing
> > other scores coming in.
> >
> >
> >
> > It fast became obvious that unless one used the digital modes, they
> would be
> > banished to the lower echelons of the standings and my score quickly slid
> > down the rankings.    So, I started looking at the top scores for 6M.  I
> was
> > amazed at how many digital QSOs these scores contained.  For example,
> K1TO
> > had 150 FT8 QSOs out of 715 in total, which was 21%.  Similarly, N4BP had
> > 194 digital out of 673 total (29%); W5PR had 157 out of 564 (28%); KU8E
> had
> > 88/508 (17%); N4PN 212/312 for 68%; WQ5L 103/445 (23%); and W4PV 124/193
> > (64%).
> >
> >
> >
> > Even more important was the much higher number of grid squares worked.
> It
> > would appear that digital added 20-80 grid squares to the total mult.  I
> > can't break it sown further because the summaries do not ask for such a
> > breakdown in the submittal.  Again, there are no numbers to back this up,
> > but how many EU stations did you work on CW or SSB?  Probably not many (I
> > had none and heard none) .  But, I bet the top digital scores were loaded
> > with DX QSOs that other modes never heard or had a chance of hearing.  No
> > wonder the mult totals were so high.  I never worked anyone west of the
> > Mississippi so I was really sucking wind.
> >
> >
> >
> > In looking at the total scores, I saw one very startling fact.  Of the
> top
> > three scorers, K1TO had 6 CW QSOs, N4BP had 1 and W5PR had 1.  To say
> they
> > ignored the CW mode is an understatement.  It is evident from these
> numbers
> > that CW is an endangered species when it comes to the CQ VHF Contest.
> If I
> > wanted to use digital modes, I would certainly ignore CW in the future
> if I
> > wanted a higher score.
> >
> >
> >
> > I respectively request that you consider the following proposals.  First,
> > require submittal forms to include a breakdown of CW, SSB, Digital (maybe
> > broken down into FT-4 and FT-8) QSOs and mults.  I think these are easily
> > found on logging programs like n1mm+.  This would probably require that
> > mults be counted per mode and that QSOs could be made with the same
> person
> > on different modes.  Then, valid comparisons could be made.  Second,
> allow
> > mode entries.  A competitor could submit multiple logs, i.e. one for CW,
> one
> > for SSB, one for digital and one for combined.  It would make the log
> > checkers job easier.  Think of how tough it was to make QSOs when
> conditions
> > were not as good as they were last weekend.  Allowing QSOs per mode would
> > triple the number of possible QSOs and keep the contest from being a real
> > drag.
> >
> >
> >
> > Let's adapt the rules to the situation before it becomes too late and CW
> > sinks down into the mud, never to raise its head again.
> >
> >
> >
> > 73,
> >
> > Dennis, K2SX
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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Jeff Stai ~ WK6I ~ wk6i.jeff at gmail.com
RTTY op at W7RN
Twisted Oak Winery ~ http://www.twistedoak.com/

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