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Author Topic: The "NEW" Contest Killer  (Read 3028 times)
5BWAZ
Member

Posts: 9




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« on: November 06, 2017, 09:26:15 AM »

FT8!

Yep. In over 30+ years of contesting, I never thought I would NOT put in a full effort in a major contest, but I only played around for a couple hours in WW PH and SS CW because I was on FT8.

FT8 exchanges make it very attractive to the contester types. Quick signal report, exchange some grid square nonesense that very few care about and move on the the next contact..PERFECT!

Sure, FT8 requires very little, if any skill. You can basically mash your face on the keyboard, roll it around, and make QSO's, but the fact that I can sit in the NW with my small crappy vertical and 20w and work a never ending string of Europieans while the band is open is fun as hell. If I have PSK Reporter up it's even better! Watching all of EU light up on the map from a few simple CQ's makes me think Whoa! can this be real? Is this some kind of cheesy ham radio mode connected through the internet? Nope, it's REAL radio using the ionisphere, and it's a drug. I feel like i'm operating a DX contest from the East Coast. And i'm sure it's a similar feeling for the East Coast boys to work into Japan and SE Asia.


 Let's see... I can operate a major contest watching unworkable spots roll by, constinately getting trounced and totally rekted in pile-ups, where my chances of actually calling CQ and getting responses is zero  OR  I can sit here and run DX stations with my piss weak station about as fast as I can given my 15sec slot and fill my log with DX contacts. hmmm...thinking...

Honestly I haven't had this type of excitement where the possibilities are endless as to what country will call me next since playing with Dr DX on my Commodore 64 back in the day.

Is this a fad that's popular because it's new? Maybe. The big station guys will all try it and mess around with it for awhile, but for the small stations guys it's the "Real Deal".

The contest organizers need to take note here as it's always been a running topic on how to get the "new blood" into contesting. Moving forward, FT8 won't make it any easier.





  
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 09:42:55 AM by 5BWAZ » Logged
OZ8AGB
Member

Posts: 328




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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2017, 01:00:00 PM »

And CW contests are filled with F-key pushing computer operators. No skills required. Why contests then??
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K3TN
Member

Posts: 558


WWW

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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2017, 03:44:32 AM »

I've operated every new digital mode that has come along, I still keep coming back to CW contesting. There is still skill involved in operating CW, as evidenced by the fact that skilled ops dominate the top ten. DX CW contest participation, especially the WPX events, have continue to grow over the past decade - the sunspot minimum will impact that.

RTTY contesting has seen strong growth in the past few years - very little skill involved in copying RTTY, as the software does that. Yet, a similar group of skilled operators dominate the RTTY top ten.

Same will happen in contests (like VHF test today) where FT8 will be used. Skilled operators will come closer to or reach 30 QSOs per hour or whatever the real fastest possible QSO rate while others will not get close to that. But, if the fast mode of FT8 gets some new blood interest in seeing how the can push their own limits, all the better.

Every technological advance (memory keyers, computer logging, packet spotting, etc) has caused the water level to rise, but the captains who build the fastest boats and plot the best course still tend to be at the front of the pack!

73 John K3TN
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John K3TN
KS2G
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Posts: 731




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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2017, 03:59:27 AM »

Every technological advance (memory keyers, computer logging, packet spotting, etc) has caused the water level to rise, but the captains who build the fastest boats and plot the best course still tend to be at the front of the pack!

Amen!
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AC4RD
Member

Posts: 1446




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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 04:18:13 AM »

RTTY contesting has seen strong growth in the past few years - very little skill involved in copying RTTY, as the software does that. Yet, a similar group of skilled operators dominate the RTTY top ten.

I'm one of the tiny search-and-pounce fish, John, and I think RTTY contests are a bundle of fun. :-)  You see some really great operators, and it's fast and easy.  Glad to hear more people are coming to RTTY contests!  (I've been pretty much away from radio the last couple of years; just getting back into it--though I made a few dozen contacts in the JARTS RY contest the other week.)   73!   --ken

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KC2QYM
Member

Posts: 847




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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2017, 05:48:58 AM »

First let me say that I like to converse with others.  I am of the opinion that digital modes (with maybe an exception to real CW operators) are cold computer generated automaton communication.  That said, if you have the type of personality where you don't care to share your thoughts with others then digital is your mode. Using digital is just a cold, non involved communication process that provides little if any satisfaction compared to a real conversation with another operator...no matter how far or close the other station may be.  The whole contest madness with meaningless awards and accolades just doesn't excite the true ham radio operator.  The true ham radio operator uses technology but limits the substance of his communication to his mind; he doesn't turn it over to macros and meaningless, programmed dibble.  OK, load your torpedo tubes....
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N3HEE
Member

Posts: 431


WWW

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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2017, 08:22:09 AM »

If you think contesting only involves mindless button pushing you are sadly mistaking.  It requires true technical skills, true operating skills and true planning skills.  I would say that the contester is the true radio operator.  Everyone else is just an amateur !
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Joe
N3HEE
CW Academy Advisor (Level II)
N3QE
Member

Posts: 4874




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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2017, 09:28:42 AM »

RTTY contesting has seen strong growth in the past few years - very little skill involved in copying RTTY, as the software does that. Yet, a similar group of skilled operators dominate the RTTY top ten.

I think you misunderestimate the skills it takes pull a weak-ass RTTY callsign or exchange out of a bunch of strong adjacent signal QRM. In many ways I find it more interesting than CW because it combines both auditory and diverse visual skills.

There was a ZS RTTY contester with a nice article in NCJ several years ago that talked about some of the techniques.

I have come in #3 USA in CQ WW RTTY past few years and it's not because I have 200-foot stacks at my home station!

I suspect similar but not identical skills will help the FT8 guys. But we probably have only begun to scratch the surface of identifying or developing those skills. I've made maybe 100 FT8 QSO's, not nearly enough to claim I understand the mode well.
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NT6X
Member

Posts: 32




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2017, 09:34:50 AM »

FT8!

Yep. In over 30+ years of contesting, I never thought I would NOT put in a full effort in a major contest, but I only played around for a couple hours in WW PH and SS CW because I was on FT8.

FT8 exchanges make it very attractive to the contester types. Quick signal report, exchange some grid square nonesense that very few care about and move on the the next contact..PERFECT!

Sure, FT8 requires very little, if any skill. You can basically mash your face on the keyboard, roll it around, and make QSO's, but the fact that I can sit in the NW with my small crappy vertical and 20w and work a never ending string of Europieans while the band is open is fun as hell. If I have PSK Reporter up it's even better! Watching all of EU light up on the map from a few simple CQ's makes me think Whoa! can this be real? Is this some kind of cheesy ham radio mode connected through the internet? Nope, it's REAL radio using the ionisphere, and it's a drug. I feel like i'm operating a DX contest from the East Coast. And i'm sure it's a similar feeling for the East Coast boys to work into Japan and SE Asia.


 Let's see... I can operate a major contest watching unworkable spots roll by, constinately getting trounced and totally rekted in pile-ups, where my chances of actually calling CQ and getting responses is zero  OR  I can sit here and run DX stations with my piss weak station about as fast as I can given my 15sec slot and fill my log with DX contacts. hmmm...thinking...

Honestly I haven't had this type of excitement where the possibilities are endless as to what country will call me next since playing with Dr DX on my Commodore 64 back in the day.

Is this a fad that's popular because it's new? Maybe. The big station guys will all try it and mess around with it for awhile, but for the small stations guys it's the "Real Deal".

The contest organizers need to take note here as it's always been a running topic on how to get the "new blood" into contesting. Moving forward, FT8 won't make it any easier.





  


+1

Also, nice mention of Dr DX. Back in the day CQ Magazine used to print the top scores for 24hr and 48hr sessions in a full page ad. As a new ham I did many 24h BIC sessions trying to get my call listed. I couldn't come close to the top scores until I discovered the hack where you only had to send the number in the call instead of the full call signs.
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NI0C
Member

Posts: 2935




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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2017, 10:46:39 AM »

And CW contests are filled with F-key pushing computer operators. No skills required. Why contests then??
Unfortunately this is a myth propagated by people unfamiliar with the skills and effort required for contesting.   
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OZ8AGB
Member

Posts: 328




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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2017, 12:54:59 PM »

No I just learned it from a couple of top notch contesters here in my country. Big disapointment.
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N2SR
Member

Posts: 633




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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2017, 03:17:36 AM »

No I just learned it from a couple of top notch contesters here in my country. Big disapointment.

Okay.  CQWW CW is coming up in a few weeks. 

Why don't you get on for the entire 48 hours and push your F-keys.  If, according to you, there are no skills required, then it should not be a problem for you to win.   I'll be expecting to see your callsign at the #1 spot.   

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If no one is doing it that way, there is a probably a very good reason.
OZ8AGB
Member

Posts: 328




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2017, 06:23:56 AM »

I am considering writing an application that can do the decoding and send the 5NN 18 TU automatically.
 Wink

Don't get me wrong, I didn't say ALL CW contesters are F-key pushers but it is apparently wide spread. Just listen to the 5NN being sent at double rate.
"Digital CW" should be in its own category.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 06:44:43 AM by OZ8AGB » Logged
N3HEE
Member

Posts: 431


WWW

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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2017, 07:12:16 AM »

It's like saying writing a program to decode and send 5NN 18 TU requires no skill.  Just a few lines of simple code and your good to go !  Grin 
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Joe
N3HEE
CW Academy Advisor (Level II)
OZ8AGB
Member

Posts: 328




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2017, 07:37:12 AM »

Yes, I know I am way out of line thinking that CW contests actually are about sending and receiving skills without the help of a computer. Silly me.  Grin
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