HF contests SSB question

kb7gjy

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Being a longer time radio op, I'm wondering something.

You look at most any contest and look at the multipliers....

Phone x1 for points
CW x2
Digital modes x (2 to 5)

These count for QSO parties, state parties, etc.

Maybe I'm alone in my thinking on this, but digital is fast, CW (with the proper hearing or software can get through when voice simply can't)

It would seem to me that someone operating voice would get a multiplier being that voice is slower and has a higher error rate (was the a D or a E ((Minus phenetics)))

So a person that is working a mode that is more prone to issues with the transmission gets a lower score?

Honestly it doesn't make sense to me.

Help me understand. Not a fight. I could understand a digital contest. but a mixed mode where digital mode gets a score multiplier over slower speed voice traffic.. just seems like the completely backward way to think about it.

Thoughts?
 

popnokick

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Are you by chance a golfer? This is not like golf where you have a handicap to help "level the playing field". The intent is to encourage less use of voice and more use of modes that get through faster with greater reliability and fewer errors than voice. For the stations that go to the additional effort required to use those modes.... there are greater rewards.
 

mtindor

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I don't have an answer. But if there are contests / QSO parties that are awarding more points for digital modes (any digital but RTTY), I'd hope they were contests primarily focused on digital modes. I say that because IMHO it takes nearly zero skill to work some digital modes (not RTTY), especially weak signal (FT8, etc). It takes about one mouse click.

For CW contests you really need to know CW (people may use computers to send but they aren't using software to decode if they are competitive at all). And SSB contesters have their own skillset -- You really need to make sure your antenna system is working the best that it can in SSB contest and you have to make sure you are intelligible amongst a lot of competing signals nearby -- and of course it's easy to lose ones voice during an SSB contest.

But it may be that digital modes (exception is RTTY -- there are some amazing RTTY ops that work multiple Qs at a time) are given more points simply because in most digital modes you can't make anywhere near the number of QSOs that you can make in an SSB or CW contest.

Check out YT! videos of people working 9 hours on Field Day and becoming absolutely giddy because they worked 10 or 20 FT8 contacts. If they would have worked SSB or CW (even at QRP levels) they'd have worked many more. So I think it's probably just to level the playing field as @popnokick said. I wouldn't work a contest where I could only make 20 contacts worth 20 points x mults.

Mike
 
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alcahuete

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There is absolutely no way that digital is faster than voice. You're looking at somewhere around 45 seconds for FT4 and 90 seconds for an FT8 QSO. The other digital modes are more or less as bad. If you're running that kind of rate on voice, you aren't going to do too well in the contest.

CW is much the same. You aren't going to run anywhere close to the rate you will using voice. Is the voice rate going to be twice as much as CW? Eh...I don't know. Depends on the CW speed, I suppose.

But as you say, the error rate on digital and CW is far less than on voice.
 

AK9R

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I'd have to look back at my max rates in RTTY contests, but running 2-3 contacts per minute is not out of the ordinary for "little pistol" stations like mine.

That said, I've had brief peak rates during phone contests of 2-3 per minute, as well.
 

k7ng

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It takes me longer to enter the contacts in the logging application than it does to MAKE the contact, on phone. I don't work phone in contests except for the VHF contests. I have occasionally run 2-3 contacts per minute on CW but I can't do that for very long before I have to slow down.
I think the general consensus is that phone (SSB) is more popular and more contacts per hour can be made in that mode, so it often gets a lower multiplier than other modes where (supposedly) the operator has to work harder for the contacts. I am not stating any personal position on that.
 

kb7gjy

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I understand where some are coming from I honestly do. I am mainly looking at state or regional QSO parties (7th area QSO Party, for example) and maybe that is the problem.

Just looking at a few that are coming up;

Vermont QP, Phone: 1 pt, CW: 2 pts, Digital: 2 pts All digital modes (RTTY, PSK, Packet) count as ONE Mode)

7QP, 2 points per SSB QSO, 3 points per CW QSO, 4 points per Digital QSO

North Carolina QP, Phone - 2 points for each phone QSO, CW - 3 points for each CW QSO, Digital - 5 points for each Digital QSO. All permitted digital modes, except CW, count as “Digital”. FT4-8 not allowed

I have done some playing with digital modes and yes they are normally reduced power IE. PSK type modes so maybe that is it. I know that I was shocked at the amount of stations I could see DM780 in the super browser which there is no way I could hear.

Where one could just setup a hot key with all your information press button, send. Next, push button, send. Next. I know that is a simplistic view but I think many get the idea.

This isn't a slam against anyone, Honestly. Just trying to understand the thought process between voice vs digital and the scoring in contests.

@popnokick
Maybe it is to encourage more efficient modes. Honestly, that kinda makes sense if that is the reasoning. Don't take it as I'm asking for a handicap for SSB ops. If it isn't to encourage more efficient modes then why offer different scoring voice vs cw vs digital (North Carolina was kind of shocking to me that digital is counted as 2 1/2 voice contacts). Again, if not to promote digital modes then why offer a handicap at all for any mode?

As others have said CW (especially someone that is not using a computer to TX/RX, Hats off.) is not really high speed data in my eyes, Tired fist, brain fog, etc. And yes, I am aware even with computer assisted CW it is far from perfect.

Again, this isn't meant to slam or whine anyone, just wondering the reasoning about it. and Yes, I know there are classes as well.
 

KE5MC

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I saw this last night and didn't see any comments then, so I'll add mine this morning.
Comments all seem to talk about making the contact over the air as to speed, power and poor propagation. How about the skill level of the operator and needed equipment to get to the point of being able to make the contact. I don't recall any modern day transceiver that does not come with a mic and most of us have been talking before the age of 5. CW, learn the code and find and connect a key and tweak the radio. Learning the code is a big step, admittedly. Now days modern computer with their sound cards make digital modes easier, but it still requires a computer, software and some computer skills to make it work. I see the points increase for the effort of the operator to get to make the contact, not how easy to complete the call. Just my reverse perspective 2-cents.
 
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