[CQ-Contest] Contesting and the FT8 Revolution

chuck.gooden chuck.gooden at comcast.net
Sun Jun 20 21:38:28 EDT 2021

In a few years when solar conditions improve and the higher band's become active again a lot of hams will switch to CW and SSB.  FT8 fade away for a period until the next solar low point.Chuck K9LC
-------- Original message --------From: wa1fcn <wa1fcn at charter.net> Date: 6/20/21  7:52 PM  (GMT-06:00) To: Stanley Zawrotny <k4sbz.stan at gmail.com>, ktfrog007 at aol.com Cc: CQ-Contest at contesting.com Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting and the FT8 Revolution              GE Stan                 Well some would say " the Genie (FT8) is out of the bottle "   You know what that means.....                         And this will never pass.  I can't help but wonder  do you feel DXCC is in great shape                 and still holds the respected position it once held?   Be honest ask your friends/club members                     find out their present views.                         BoB WA1FCNOn 6/20/2021 12:20 PM, Stanley Zawrotny wrote:> You are right, Ken. It seems like every few years some comes out with something to ruin DXCC and amateur radio in general - SSB, RTTY, no code, RBNs, SDR, FT8, to name a few. People blame the newest thing that they don’t like and/or don’t fully understand for ruining our hobby. Yet the hobby goes on, getting stronger and more diverse all the time.>> This too shall pass (when something newer makes the hate list).>> STAN, K4SBZ> "Real radio bounces off the sky.">>> On Jun 20, 2021, at 1:00 PM, AB1J via CQ-Contest <cq-contest at contesting.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..>>>>>> 73,>> Ken, AB1J>>>>>> -----Original Message----->> From: wa1fcn <wa1fcn at charter.net>>> 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 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>> _______________________________________________>> 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_______________________________________________CQ-Contest mailing listCQ-Contest at contesting.comhttp://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest

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