[VHFcontesting] FT8 and January comments

Terry Signature terry at directivesystems.com
Mon Jan 22 22:14:55 EST 2018

Hi all,

Andy, K1RA, and I again hit the road in the K8GP/R super rover. 8 grids, 
lots of miles, almost 800 Q's in the log. Worked lots of folks and got 
lots of crazy looks!! Andy will as usual post a great recap with lots of 
pix and video on his website.

This time we had our new pneumatic mast in operation on the front as 
well as the one on the rear that has served us well for the last two 
years. Besides the bad seal causing an air leak, it worked very well and 
made set up and tear down easier.

Our apologies to folks that were on 144.247 looking for us, it got VERY 
crazy at times. Our system is set up so both of us can operate the lower 
6 bands at the same time and my station covers 2.3 and up. This gives us 
the capability for one of us to grab and station and run the bands and 
the other op can do the same as long as we don't try to use the same 
band at the same time - which of course happened many times!! We have a 
lock out and it caused the "slow foot" to have to wait to transmit. But 
it enables us to both keep busy and work more of you!

Now my commentary on FT8. Several have pointed out it's a tool in the 
tool bag which is correct, just like a 5 lb sledge hammer. Use it when 
you need it but not to hang a picture!! There were several times we ran 
the bands with folks and when we asked to QSY to 6m, the answer was " 
our 6m station is on FT8" - WRONG ANSWER!!! In the time it takes for one 
sequence on FT8 - 15 seconds in contest mode, you could work us!! This 
is from all the rovers, we spend lots of time, money, and effort to go 
out and activate grids and help bolster activity but I'm sure it won't 
take much of that answer to will turn rovers off. Think about your setup 
and figure out a way to rapidly switch from digital modes to SSB/CW - 
PLEASE!!!! We have FT8 on our laptops but don't use it, it's just way 
too slow. When you only spend two hours at a site and work 100 Q's in 
that period and many microwave QSO's that are slow (unless you are the 
"FLASH" K1TEO) you just can't take the time.

So please be respectful to us rovers

Terry,  W8ZN

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