[VHFcontesting] Digital modes in the VHF contests....

Zack Widup w9sz.zack at gmail.com
Mon Jan 29 08:51:25 EST 2018

My understanding is that for a QSO to be valid, each station must send
and acknowledge receipt of two pieces of information. One is the
callsign. The other can be anything. We are used to "59(9)" in many
contests and DXpedition QSO's. But NAQP uses names (it doesn't even
have to be the operator's real name), some contests use a serial
number, VHF contests and general QSO's use grid squares. One contest,
now defunct, which was called the Frostbite Falls Beach Party and held
in winter, exchanged the temperature at your QTH. All-Asia QSO Party
exchanges operator ages. Sweepstakes is one of the more grueling
contests, which requires multiple pieces of information to be

73, Zack W9SZ

On Sun, Jan 28, 2018 at 4:35 PM, Terry Signature
<terry at directivesystems.com> wrote:
> Marshall is right on with his comments. Grids have been used now since the
> mid 80's and anyone getting on VHF needs to become very comfortable using
> them EVERY QSO!!
> As far as FT8 and the MSK derivatives go during contests, use them during
> eme or late night/early morning long distance activities when activity is
> low. I can't stress enough how useless of a contest mode these are. As W9RM
> pointed out, contests are about making the max number of Q's and mults, when
> local activity is there, don't waste your time on these slow digital modes,
> they were not designed for speed and working a local is just senseless.
> Set your stations up for FT8 and test throughout the year but when it comes
> contest time, PLEASE use SSB/CW!!!
> Terry - W8ZN
> On 2018-01-28 11:38 am, Al Wells wrote:
>> I think a lot of old VHFers were forced to kluge together setups for
>> FT8 when they realized there was much less SSB activity and were taken
>> by surprise by the "noise" on 313. With zero experience with digital
>> modes, we started with default settings but figured out to check
>> contest mode after fumbling through one or two QSO's. I saw several
>> other stations go through the same thing.
>> I'm pretty sure this particular problem will sort itself out quickly.
>> How many people were scrambling to figure out where something like OE29
>> was?
>> 73
>> Al KB3SIG
>> On 1/27/2018 13:34, Marshall-K5QE wrote:
>>> Hello Alex....the "rules" for what constitutes a proper VHF contact have
>>> been set for over 50 years.  No less than Ed Tilton-W1HDQ was the person
>>> involved in the very early days.  A proper VHF contact requires the sending
>>> and receiving on both ends of both calls, a signal report of some kind, and
>>> a Roger.  In a contest, the signal report is the GRID....+07 is absolutely
>>> useless.
>>> IF the HF newbies would send TX1, which does contain the grid,
>>> consistently, then we could get that piece of information from there.
>>> However, often THEY DON'T.  They send TX2 which DOES NOT have the grid.
>>> This means that you cannot get the grid over the air and hence the contact
>>> is not valid.  You can waste a huge amount of time trying to get one of
>>> these guys to send his grid OR you can just move on to someone that knows
>>> what they are doing. Your choice.
>>> I did run into a few ops that were still sending "the funny little
>>> numbers" on MSK.  All that I recall did send TX1 so that I could get the
>>> GRID.  I did exactly what you recommend....I sent RRR and went on down the
>>> road.
>>> I don't care how the HFers operate when they are on HF.  I care a lot
>>> about how they operate when they are on the VHF bands.  I and many others,
>>> don't want the kind of operating the we hear on HF to infect the VHF bands.
>>> In the UK, if you drive on the right hand side of the road, you will be
>>> pulled over and given a ticket. That is because you don't know the "rules of
>>> the road" for the road on which you are driving.
>>> I believe that with some education, the newer ops will learn what is
>>> acceptable and what is not.  Apparently, it is going to take some time.  I
>>> think that a major problem is sending the "funny little numbers" during
>>> casual operation.  I believe that we should send GRIDS at all times on VHF.
>>> That is what we do on the other modes, why should FT8 and / or MSK be
>>> different?  This will undoubtedly cause a pot load of flames, but I have a
>>> delete key and I know how to use it.  If we show the beginners the "funny
>>> little numbers" all the time and then when we have a contest, we do
>>> something different, they will never learn.
>>> Thoughtful replies gratefully accepted.....flames---->bit bucket.
>>> 73 Marshall K5QE
>>> On 1/25/2018 6:39 PM, Alex wrote:
>>>> Perhaps some "VHF types" could behave less like "HF newbies" and learn
>>>> to just send an RRR message when that happens. That will advance the other
>>>> side to the 73 message. You already got their grid on the first message.
>>>> 73,
>>>> --Alex KR1ST
>>>> FN21
>>>> On 2018-01-25 18:37, Marshall-K5QE wrote:
>>>>> ...and that took a long time, because we kept
>>>>> running into "HF newbies" that were not using the contest mode.
>>>>> ASIDE:  Somehow, we need to get these HF types to learn that we need
>>>>> grids not +07 for a signal report.  END ASIDE
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