[VHFcontesting] FT8 and January comments

Mike (KA5CVH) Urich mike at ka5cvh.com
Fri Jan 26 08:40:24 EST 2018

On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 9:14 PM, Terry Signature
<terry at directivesystems.com> wrote:

> 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.

Mike wrote

Ding Ding Ding ... hold your calls ladies and gentlemen ... we have a winner.

Thank you Terry, best summary I've seen or heard so far.

I've never been a serious contestor ... ever ... and haven't got on in
some time.  So I was hoping to kick off the new year with new drive
and a simple rove since I could only get Saturday in.  My intention
was this past week end was to get out and rove the corner of
EL29/EM20/EM10/EL19.  I even reconed where I'd operate from figuring
about 2 hours per grid including set up (~10 min) and I was only going
to do 6 & 2.  Well those plans fell apart at nearly the last minute so
I figure I can swing by the house get on 6 a little.  CRICKETS on
phone... seriously CRICKETS.  So maybe it worked out for the best I
couldn't rove because I had a newbie that was going to go with me.

For me, concentration on digital modes during  a contest is just
wrong.  As Terry points out the q rate is much lower, and you can only
operate those stations with the same software as you.  And it seems
that every few months there seems to be the newest, latest and
greatest software package to use.   I think back to my interview with
Steve Ford (QST) during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey he
asked about what digital modes did we (Harris County ARES) used during
the event.  My answer was ... NONE ... absolutely none.  We teach and
train to the lowest common denominator, V/UHF FM and 40 & 75 meter
phone, in order to encompass the participation of the maximum number
of people.

When we reach that point of having 10 or more different digital modes
(and we're rapidly approaching that) to have to choose from and switch
back and forth between to "maximize" the number contacts ... I can
only "presume" you will see a lack of participation and the total (all
contesters combined) number of q's fall off.

Mike Urich KA5CVH

STX ASEC - Training
PIO Harris County ARES

We may be Volunteers,
But we're professional.

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