[CQ-Contest] Contesting and the FT8 Revolution

Stan Zawrotny k4sbz.stan at gmail.com
Sun Jun 20 08:45:08 EDT 2021


>> They let their computer and
play 24 hours per day

You still don't understand FT8. Even if their computer is running 24 hrs a
day, WSJT-X will complete only one contact before requiring the operator to
reset  TX.

>>  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?

Apparently you haven't increased your knowledge and improved your station
to include the most up-to-date digital modes.

BTW, there is not much difference between running FT8 and running RTTY with
all its macros. I do both.

>> I don't think ft8 could be part of my contesting habits.

It's your choice to stay old-school. Please don't disparage those who are
trying to keep up with the times.

Stan, K4SBZ

On Sat, Jun 19, 2021 at 5:48 PM Kostas SV1DPI <sv1dpi2 at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> Στις 19/6/2021 18:24, ο/η José Nunes CT1BOH έγραψε:
> > There is a revolution going on – The FT8 revolution! Like other
> > revolutions, it is a breakthrough and there is no coming back. But unlike
> > what many think, FT8 mode is fantastic for amateur radio and of course
> for
> > contesting.
> >
> >
> > There are several things I can particularly note:
> >
> >
> > ** The spotting revolution
> >
> >   Because of the default reporting option of FT8 applications, every
> station
> > that uses JTDX/WSJT applications is constantly spotting all the stations
> > that the decoders hear. Every station becomes a spotting machine of the
> > bands (just like a skimmer) while they are on. The result?! 20.8 billion
> > FT8 spots in 4 years.
> >
> >
> > ** The small pistol station revolution
> >
> > Considering a 2500 Hz bandwidth and weak-signal/Noise Ratio, SSB can go
> as
> > low as +10 dB, CW -15 db and FT8 -21dB. To put it in another way, since
> > doubling power results in 3 dB increase in SNR, a 31db difference means
> 1W
> > in FT8 versus 1024 watts in SSB.
> >
> > A modest station, suddenly, feels like a new world of propagation has
> > opened to him and this in return brings more and more people to the bands
> > because of the fun of working stations and paths not before available.
> > There is a virtuous cycle – more spots, more people, more activity, more
> > spots, more people, more activity, …
> >
> >
> > ** The now-casting propagation revolution
> >
> > With such a huge volume of spots, 20.8 billion in 4 years and around 22
> > million spots per day [just for your reference last CQWW CW generated
> 6.5M
> > spots], propagation prediction is turning into now-casting propagation.
> > There is no need for propagation prediction anymore because, knowing the
> > propagation pattern from 20 billion spots and getting real propagation
> from
> > the 22 million spots per day, real time conditions come from now-casting
> > propagation - any circuit can be determined to be open or close.
> >
> > You can watch my 2021 Contest University presentation about this subject
> > here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-esob7BPtc&t=20340s and/or get the
> > slides of the presentation slides here
> >
> https://www.contestuniversity.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/There-is-Nothing-Magic-About-Propagation-CTU-2021-CT1BOH.pdf
> >
> >
> >
> > ** The station optimization revolution
> >
> > This is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of FT8 and of great
> > interest to contest stations. Because of the spotting revolution and
> > because every FT8 station uses exact grid locator, the exact path of the
> > circuits can be drawn. A contest station that uses a simple FT8 skimmer
> can
> > monitor, 24x7, the potential of any antenna set-up, compare different
> > antennas configuration (A/B testing using different calls), test antenna
> > take-off angles, and adjust this information to available propagation at
> > any time, before or during a contest. “22 million spots per day” are
> there
> > available to test your station. I believe every station, DX or Contest,
> should
> > use a FT8 Skimmer, like the stand alone Red Pitaya
> > https://www.redpitaya.com/ to skim several bands at the same time at a
> very
> > low cost, provide now-casting information, check antenna and location
> > potential and use that for station optimization. This link takes you to a
> > visualization of my modest small pistol station (just a simple long wire)
> > potential on all the bands  https://tinyurl.com/e6767we8 in the last 24
> > hours.
> >
> >
> > ** The marginal bands revolution
> >
> > With FT8, marginal bands like 160, 10 and 6 meters become alive like no
> > other. Going deeper into the SNR, “opens” new circuits, brings more
> > activity, confirms these circuits were always there. We are working Japan
> > on 6 meters on a daily basis... Also, there is a move from CW into FT8 on
> > these band. This is a side effect, but it is what it is. If people
> suddenly
> > find a band open at -21dB that before was close at -15dB, of course they
> > will use the mode that enables those QSOs and will not use the other mode
> > anymore.
> >
> > In any case competitive contesting (SSB and CW) has a lot to gain form
> this
> > revolution. Exciting times indeed
> >
> > 73 José Nunes
> > CONTEST CT1BOH - http://www.qsl.net/ct1boh
> > _______________________________________________
> > CQ-Contest mailing list
> > CQ-Contest at contesting.com
> > http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
> _______________________________________________
> CQ-Contest mailing list
> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list