[CQ-Contest] Contesting and the FT8 Revolution
Salvatore ["Ted"] K2QMF
k2qmf at juno.com
Sun Jun 20 18:53:09 EDT 2021
FT8 also takes the FUN out of Ham Radio and out of DXing and out of Contesting!!
On 6/20/2021 5:53:05 PM, wa1fcn <wa1fcn at charter.net> wrote:
I have read your post a couple of times. My thoughts......
You are partly
correct. DXSummit and RBN have certainly changed how we DX.
a couple differences between that and what FT8 did to DXing!
RBN/DXSummit stop or curtail any CW/SSB operations? Do You
club members ect. who feel/talk bad about RBN ect, probably not.
Let me be clear I am not totally against FT8 only the way
ARRL has integrated
it with the DXCC program, and it's effect on RTTY and the
thought once a
new ham gets into FT8 seriously, you can forget about
him/her putting any real effort
into learning CW or being a proficient SSB operator. For
full disclosure every few months
I do get on FT8 for a couple weeks.
Back to DXCC with FT8......... What can be done with 50
watts FT8 can not even
be done with a KW on SSB or CW now. Do you consider
equal to SSB/CW efforts ? I do not.
73 OM BoB WA1FCN
On 6/20/2021 11:46 AM, ktfrog007 at aol.com wrote:
> Hi Bob,
> You wrote: The ARRL has destroyed the value of DXCC.
> The ARRL hasn't done anything. Technological change has.
> The DX clusters and RBN destroyed the value of DXCC. That happened
> quite a while back. Long before FT8 came along.
> DXers used to be admired for their skills, knowledge and
> perseverance. They used to operate by their wits. No longer. That's
> what ruined DXCC.
> Name me a DXer you admire who has started from scratch 15 years ago
> and has over 300 Current confirmed and hasn't used the clusters or RBN..
> Ken, AB1J
> -----Original Message-----
> From: wa1fcn
> To: cq-contest at contesting.com
> Sent: Sun, Jun 20, 2021 12:46 am
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting and the FT8 Revolution
> GE Kostas
> I just wanted you to know you are not the only one to feel bad
> about DXCC.
> In the past couple years a few people have E-Mailed me
> about their feelings
> in regards to DXCC. The ARRL has destroyed the value of
> DXCC. It has taken
> me a lifetime (over 50years) to achieve DXCC of 285 on 40
> meters low power.
> They should of separated FT8/FT4 from all other modes in
> Single band DXCC.
> DX with FT8 is fishing in a barrel. Can you imagine the
> DXCC totals on 12 and 10
> meters when the Sunspot cycle improves! Where is the
> challenge now?! There
> is none! I can go on to other FT8 minuses like how it
> destroyed RTTY, how it has
> made some hams lazy and see no need to put any effort into
> becoming a more
> proficient operator in other modes.
> Ok Kostas I will stop now as I am sure I offended
> enough hams already.
> 73 BoB WA1FCN
> On 6/19/2021 2:46 PM, Kostas SV1DPI 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
> >> 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
> >> 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,
> >> 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
> >> propagation - any circuit can be determined to be open or close.
> >> You can watch my 2021 Contest University presentation about this
> >> here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-esob7BPtc&t=20340s
> and/or get the
> >> slides of the presentation slides here
> >> ** 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
> >> 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
> >> 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
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