[CQ-Contest] Contesting and the FT8 Revolution

Courtney Judd k4wi at k4wi.net
Sat Jun 19 19:21:55 EDT 2021

I am with you 110% Kostas on the ft8 bullcrap. I have spent years and 
thousands of hours since 1959 achieving my goals and consider that time 
some of the best time spent in my life. I have 355 DXCC... all 
worked/confirmed and 8 band dxcc.... working on 12 and 6 meter DXCC 
which I would have by now if it wasn't for the non-human junk. If one 
thinks that his digi equates to my human-2-human accomplishments, then 
so good for him but not even close in my book. I no longer compete in 
any contest where digi goes head to head with regular human modes. If 
one needs Alabama, Marengo County or EM62, you will need to do CW/SSB/ 
or RTTY.  FT8 should not be in any real mode contests.... have digital 
tests if that works for you but it will never count much for me.... 
yeah... just call me a grumpy old man!  73's Cort K4WI

> Kostas SV1DPI <mailto:sv1dpi2 at gmail.com>
> Saturday, June 19, 2021 2:46 PM
> Maybe you have right. But I don't feel the same.
> ** The small pistol station revolution
> Having 1 kw and a 2el quad @10m high, I don't feel a big gun. I had 
> the chance to be competitive in dxing because I devoted many hours 
> studying propagation and even more time on the radio. Now there is no 
> chance for me to make something that others do not. They let their 
> computer and play 24 hours per day with better antennas and more 
> power.... So yes small pistols have the chance to work something they 
> had not but not to be competitive...
> ** The station optimization revolution
> I have at least one friend who has a long wire and have worked 290 
> countries the last 3 years, of course in ft8, including pacific, etc. 
> So why to make his station better? I remember that I put my quad 
> higher when I lost a dxpedition, I bought an amplifier the next time, 
> etc... Now there is no chance to loose a dxpedition especially because 
> almost every dxpedition (let me know it - don't forget that the first 
> ft8 robot was Greek and I know some of the guys bought it) uses more 
> than one robots running ft8 all day. And they have not the courage to 
> say it...
> ** The now-casting propagation revolution
> In SZ1A we have a skimmer (maybe you know it even it is out of order 
> the last 3 weeks - we have ordered the damaged parts). We use the 
> results of the skimmer to make our plans in contests. The first time 
> we were keeping ft8 qsos as the CW qsos also. This had as a result to 
> drive us to mistakes in real contesting. While the band seemed to be 
> open the previous days during specific time, it wasn't finally during 
> the contest. So we stopped using the FT8 spots and now we keep only 
> the CW qsos to make our plans.
> ** The marginal bands revolution
> Yes, ft8 helps a weaker station to have a QSO (I don't think "to be 
> heard" is the right expression). I am not a 6m fun but I managed to 
> work 125 entities the last 15 years. Also optimization of antennas, 
> radios, amplifiers, etc, all these years. Someone using ft8, has 
> worked these entities the last 2 years in the lower point of solar 
> cycle using the half length of my boom. But what he will do the next 
> years... What he will work in high part of solar cycle? And why he 
> needs to wait for it? Probably he will play cards because I don't 
> think he will stay in ham radio... If you don't need to improve the 
> station, the antennas, to study and learn propagation, to learn more, 
> to increase your knowledge, etc... what will be the interesting part 
> to keep you in ham radio? I already know someone who stopped to play 
> radio, never installed his new hexbeam, because he worked WAS on 40m 
> in a week with a long wire (WAS is far more difficult from DXCC from 
> Greece), letting his computer to play ever night. Plus another one who 
> had dxcc with all entities in ft8 but he didn't know the QSO procedure!
> In conclusion, I don't care what the others do. I mentioned about 
> others just to show the results. I have not fun with ft8 and this is 
> why I don't use it. If you are pleasant with it, do it. I don't care. 
> I lost my interest for DXing.
> I can not understand how someone has fun with ft8 in contesting. 
> Because the rhythm? Because the nice sound? Because of the pileup? Or 
> because he has the time to go to the toilet while his computer makes 
> some QSOs...
> By the way I am a digital guy! I gave many new ones to west coast guys 
> on RTTY from Iran (EP6T) and I have 329 entities on RTTY. I have tried 
> ft8 and I didn't like it. I abandoned dxcc program while I was HR1, HR 
> on SSB and CW and had over 2850 entities in challenge because of Ft8 
> acceptance by ARRL. I am crying over the money I gave to ARRL. After 
> 25 years in ham radio I continue to play chasing fun in CW/SSB/RTTY 
> contesting (mainly casual but more serious also sometimes) and I don't 
> think ft8 could be part of my contesting habits.
> 73 Kostas SV1DPI
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