FT8 FT4 Contest Mode

Contesting, Field Days, Activity Days, Portable operating, JOTA, SOTA
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VK4TS
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FT8 FT4 Contest Mode

Post by VK4TS » Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:29 pm

Over the contest weekend VHF UHF we had pretty tough conditions in VK4 but we did have a good score from VK4WIS.

With no options we thought why not give 6m FT8 a try for Contest exchanges, we reset the FT8 software to R2 exchange as it fitted with the VHF UHF FD exchange - signal report, 6 character grid square, and serial number. Perfect for FD - the standard CQ changes to CQ TEST VK4WIS and the other standard messages change.

Calling CQ TEST CALLSIGN, confused people and they didn't understand what we were chasing for the needed exchange so we thought about what we could do with the Ross Hull and Summer FD not long away.

Moving to FT4 shifted up 5 khz 50.313 to 50.318 which puts the VK5 beacon into the band. (this was not planned and was a coincidence) FT4 - set your centre freq and away you go...

So how do we make use of FT8 for FD Contest exhange ?

Would moving freq up 10Khz to 50.323 for FT8 and /or 50.328 for FT4 allow for an un-confused contest exchange?

Am I over complicating matters? Gary ZL2IFB suggest setting multiple profiles for FT8 to cover contesting and not contesting..

Has anyone had success in this?
Trent VK4TS
PO Box 275 Mooloolaba 4557
Mobile 0408 497 550 vk4ts@wia.org.au

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Re: FT8 FT4 Contest Mode

Post by VK4TS » Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:03 am

DOCUMENT ATTACHED WITH PICTURES
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Proposal For FT4 FT8 Contesting protocol VHF.pdf
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Trent VK4TS
PO Box 275 Mooloolaba 4557
Mobile 0408 497 550 vk4ts@wia.org.au

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Re: FT8 FT4 Contest Mode

Post by VK5PJ » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:02 pm

Hello Trent,
there is a dedicated CONTEST mode within WSJT-X for similar USA based contests, just wondering if you have explored those, the only trouble you will have is getting other stations to change to contest mode to exchange the correct responses. This has been a hot topic in past months on the DEV forum.

I will get some images together once home and add to this thread... Oh yes the way to go is not to just change modes in WSJT-X, you need to have a separate CONFIG for each of them, this way your preferences can change with the mode and are remembered for you. On my Shack PC, I have a configurations called
Capture.JPG
Capture.JPG (18.81 KiB) Viewed 130 times
Each of these has unique frequencies and settings, this makes changing mode a breeze as the needed customization I use on each mode get setup for me with each change of configuration.
The recomendations from the DEV forum is to create a new Configuration for each Contest and that way all the options get set for you when you need them, no more trying to remember what needs to be ticked each time.
Capture1.JPG
Peter Sumner, vk5pj
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Re: FT8 FT4 Contest Mode

Post by VK4TS » Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:15 pm

Thanks Peter,

Yes that was what I was alluding to, in that, the closest I could find was the EU R2 Mode and that gave the reports as per FD condition and moving frequency stopped the errors resulting from unexpected exchanges from operators running normal FT8 .
Trent VK4TS
PO Box 275 Mooloolaba 4557
Mobile 0408 497 550 vk4ts@wia.org.au

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