[VHFcontesting] The impact of the digital modes on the January VHF Contest and some suggestions on dealing with those impacts

Mark Spencer mark at alignedsolutions.com
Sun Feb 7 14:43:12 EST 2021

For what it is worth, several years ago I tried encouraging locals who were not into VHF and up contesting to get on the air during VHF and up contests.

I found the results were mixed and I felt I had to focus working the individuals in my home grid who I prompted to get on the air.  In turn this defocused me from making contest QSO's with actual VHF and up contesters who were several grid squares away.    Very few (if any ?) of the locals who I prodded into getting on the air ever embraced VHF and up contesting and very few of them were able to make contacts beyond their own grid or the adjacent grids.

There may have been some unique geographic issues at play but after some reflection I felt my efforts were better spent working those who were already enthused about contesting.  I do still make an effort to work locals if I hear them on various modes including FM (I typically listen to 146.52 FM when ever I am contesting) but I no longer go out of my way to prompt them into getting on the air.  

Good luck and 73

Mark S

mark at alignedsolutions.com
604 762 4099

> On Feb 7, 2021, at 9:50 AM, John Young via VHFcontesting <vhfcontesting at contesting.com> wrote:
> Jeff
> I could not agree with you more.  
> Getting people, especially new people up on the air is the positive way to increase activity.  Penalizing people for using one mode or another through an outright ban, changing the points awarded or other "negative sticks" is not going to make it more fun or increase activity.
> You are all probably sick of hearing me say this....
> Reach out to NEW hams.  Make the effort to get them on the air as Technicians.  If we want to increase the number of VHF/UHF contesters to work that is the place to start.  Yes that means (shudder, can you stoop that low?) FM.  They all have 2m & 70cm FM.  Ask club members (Tech, Gen, Adv) to make a QSO with you during a contest.  Most HF rigs have 6m SSB and FM.  Take your log (SSB, CW, FM or even FT-8) and use QRZ to find email addresses and ask them to get up on the air for the next contest.  I have been building my FM QSO email list for 5 years, now up to 400+ and it has paid great dividends.  Over 150 stations and 380 QSO's on FM alone in January.
> Last year I started to see  enough people on the air (FM) to make the activity self sustaining.  It was fun to listen to all THE NEW vhf/uhf contesters work each other.  Especially this January where the activity was intense.  Pile ups, tailgating QSY's and nearly a full 33 hrs of activity on just FM.  
> I encouraged most that I worked who had multi-mode rigs to give 6m SSB a try.  9 out of 10 were hesitant since 6m SSB is always a dead band (your point about daily activity is well taken).  Most tried and made a few contacts.  Sadly at least two came back to me and said how much more fun they were having on FM due to the lack of SSB activity IN A CONTEST,  though they were impressed with how far they could reach out.  Those 6m QSO's are out there but they will remain SILENT unless we work together to get them on the air.
> Please take a positive approach to increasing activity on 6m SSB, CW & FM.  It takes some effort, about 3 evenings effort in my case to update my email list and send them out.  We all put way more effort into station testing, tuning and building than it takes to rally up people to get on the air.  Todays new Tech with FM only is tomorrows multi-mode (shack in a box)  rig owner entering

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