[VHFcontesting] Fwd: VHF Contests Rules Discussion and Proposal

N8GLS n8gls at arrl.net
Tue Mar 17 16:50:01 EDT 2020

I think Keith has it right.

My Great Lakes Ohio perspective:  The VHF/Up contests have been declining in
activity for years, its nothing new.  Even after years of numerous rule
changes resulting in allowing almost anything short of giving points for a
cellphone call have done nothing to change reality.  Those non-contester's
as Keith says could care less about points.  I was one of those many years
ago, points didn't matter, I wanted new grids for VUCC, and states for 2m
WAS, submitting a log was not even a thought.  Even working the same people
year after year at least proved the station was still working and one could
never rule out some band enhancement, regardless, back then there were
"contesters" to work.

The non-contesters being mostly search-n-pouncers quickly realized searching
for hours with nothing to pounce on was boring.  The once large number of
contesters calling CQ was declining as well, many non-contesters were also
annoyed for what seemed to be a contesters only intent for calling CQ was to
move that QSO to a higher band, and never returning but for a second to
again move to another band, and another, and another.....never once stopping
for one second to say "QRZ, anybody else".  So stop for a second, your rate
won't take a hit, it may go up.

Fast forward to the "digital age", here's a mode where software allows for
automated search-n-pouncing.  No endless hours of knob turning up and down
the band looking for something, anything.  Instead your screen magically
produces a list of stations, not one per hour, but many in minutes, and your
one mouse-click away from a confirmed QSO.  So why would one want to spend
hours on SSB looking for a needle in a haystack when you can search the web,
eat lunch, play with the dog, have a beer, and look over to an automatically
generated list of workable stations and mouse-click your way to a few new
grids or states.  This even works during a non-contest weekend !!!

My take is, while I'm not into the digital modes, and I have tried them,
obviously they are here to stay so continuing to accommodate them is better
than not.  As for increasing SSB activity, if you want to increase the
non-contesting SSB activity then ALL you contesters should make a point to
actually work the band(s) when there is no contest.  Here there is some
activity on 144.205 from the NE, but we need more, not everybody in NE OH
can hear NH, CT, or RI.  Not sure why 144.205 and not 144.200 where
everybody parks, I get it's the calling freq, but when dead 99% of the time
does anyone really care ??  Maybe some activity nights, maybe every night a
different state or grid or county.  If you have an activity night, announce
it, let people know, self-spot it, use DXMaps, many many non-contesters use
it, they don't care about the contester resources like ON4KST that you guys
use to chat with each other and make skeds.  So all those die-hard
contesters, mega-station contesters, even rovers, make a presence, create
activity, announce an activity, get on the air, get on often, work
yourselves so others can hear, spot yourself, make some noise about it.  2m
SSB and up is dead 99% of the time, there is nothing, no news, no stories,
nothing to attract anyone, nothing but hiss,  change that and you'll see a
difference.  It won't happen overnight but be as passionate about creating
the activity during non-contest times as you are for contest times.

If you're already doing some of the above I applaud you, please share some
of what you are doing.  Changing the scoring rules only benefits the
existing contest community and will have no impact on non-contester
activity, which I think is the goal.

73 de Brad, N8GLS

-----Original Message-----
From: VHFcontesting <vhfcontesting-bounces+n8gls=arrl.net at contesting.com> On
Behalf Of Jay RM
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 10:35 AM
To: VHFcontesting at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] Fwd: VHF Contests Rules Discussion and Proposal

I think FT8 is a fine mode for weak signal DXing and I have been using it on
and off, but I don't really care for it and won't seriously participate in
VHF contests if that's what I have to use on 6M to work anybody.  Why ?
Because I AM a contester - that's been pretty much 90% of my ham radio
operating for 45+ years - and I'm relatively good at it.  When I see
operating tactics (or mode choices) that slows down your run rate, being
happily embraced by others who say they are contesters, I'm confused...and
disappointed.  If serious HF contests were multi-mode and FT8 was decimating
the CW (or phone) bands during, say, Sweepstakes, you would see instant
action and I guarantee it would not be kind to WSJT.

As far as conjuring up tricks like giving extra contest points for being on
the mode you should be on anyway, that is ONLY going to encourage the "real
contesters" to get back on SSB or CW - not the masses.  The masses represent
90%+ of the contacts we make in a contest and the vast majority of them
don't care what their score is.

Bottom line, if FT8 or FT4 is the only mode going on 6M, my grid is off the
table and has become instantly rare unless someone roves to it - I'm the
only guy here. . .


Keith J Morehouse
Managing Partner
Calmesa Partners G.P.
Olathe, CO
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