[UK-CONTEST] CC Rule Change

don.field at gmail.com don.field at gmail.com
Thu Aug 7 07:38:03 EDT 2008

Graham & Neil's postings show the fine line that we have to follow within 
the Contest Committee. Graham argues that we should not have extended the 
data modes band upwards as we might upset users of other modes. Neil and 
his colleagues in DMUARS applaud the increase in band and argue that we 
therefore don't need to place so much emphasis on PSK. So a "no win" 

Arguing (albeit tongue in cheek) that we should perhaps outlaw SSB because 
CW is more efficient is to miss the point completely. IARU bandplans 
allocate much more bandwidth for other modes but have failed to keep up 
with the explosion in data modes usage. The 80m CC datamodes events are a 
victim of their own success! It's great that so many have tried RTTY for 
the first time, but where do we go from here?

The Contest Committee debated this at some length at our last meeting. You 
may not agree with our conclusions but referenda are out or nothing would 
ever happen in terms of new events, changed events, etc!! For national 
events we have some flexibility with the recommended IARU bandplans but 
didn't want to push things too far. We also had to bear in mind the raison 
d'etre behind the 80m CC events which is to encourage newcomers to 
contesting and to encourage old hands to try something new to help out 
their local clubs. What we don't want is for them to become "just another 
contest" with the big guns joining forces to wipe the floor with local 
clubs. That would be to defeat the object and would risk discouraging the 
very folk for whom the contests were intended. There are already plenty of 
contests for the "big guns". 

So what to do about datamodes? Those who now have a taste for RTTY 
contesting might like to try some serious RTTY contests. RSGB has not 
traditionally organised such events, as BARTG has historically done a great 
job. Have a go in one of their contests. But we did think that maybe we 
could encourage folk to try PSK - it is much more bandwidth efficient (RTTY 
is a VERY old mode indeed!) and therefore consistent with 
"self-improvement" and efficient use of our frequencies. Arguing about what 
filter bandwidth to use shows a lack of understanding of PSK operating (so 
it's time to have a try!). All the PSK programs I have seen (and most RTTY 
ones these days) are best used with your SSB filter. You then get a 
spectral display and click on the signal you want to copy. All the 
filtering is done in your sound card. A quick look at spectral displays for 
RTTY and PSK shows immediately that two-tone RTTY takes up significantly 
more band than one-tone PSK. I suspect very few people use FSK nowadays - 
the majority use a  sound card and use one of the multimode programs that 
can do RTTY one minute, PSK the next and so on.

I think the only alternative to the decision we made would have been to 
drop the RTTY events completely. There are those who argue that we should - 
datamodes isn't proper amateur radio and all that. But personally I think 
that would be a pity. Anyway. let's see how things work out during 2009 
rather than die in a ditch over it. We can then review. 

Don Field G3XTT

Chairman of Contest Committee

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: G3RIR
> Sent: 07/08/08 08:13 am
> To: uk-contest at contesting.com
> Subject: Re: [UK-CONTEST] CC Rule Change
> Graham,
> Have you e-mailed the contest committee with your views? According to 
> the only dissenters are DeMontfort University ARS, several members of 
> which
> have objected to PSK as not being a suitable contest mode. Since the
> inception of CC80, PSK has been an allowable mode but very quickly ops of
> all clubs decided largely to ignore it and keep to RTTY as PSK was too 
> slow
> (not just data rate but the overall mechanism).
> The argument put forward by G3UFY, of the contest committee, seems to be
> largely bandwidth based arguing that PSK takes one tenth of the bandwidth 
> of
> PSK. Well I use a 250Hz filter on RTTY (about right for 170Hz tone 
> spacing}.
> Is it correct that PSK takes only 25Hz bandwidth? I seem to recall that 
> takes over 2KHz so perhaps we ought to only use CW.
> I have not heard of any comments to the contest committee for or against
> other than those from DMU objecting.
> For the record I am a member of DMU ARS.
> Neil, G3RIR
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