FT Roundup Thoughts – 2020

AB8M 2020 FT-Roundup Locations Worked

Black River Radio Ops were on the air for the 2020 FT-Roundup. For those not familiar with the FT-Roundup contest, it is essentially the same rules as the ARRL RTTY Roundup, but exclusively using FT4 and FT8.

Personally, I’m struggling to really “get in” to using FT-modes for contesting. The rate, even with FT4, is slower than Phone, CW, or RTTY. The number of participants is fairly low. Worst of all, everyone continues to stay confined to a 3kc window and will not spread out. The net effect is that it is essentially a QRM fest, and with the timeslot nature of FT, you won’t know unless you stop mid-cycle to see if someone is on top of you. (Usually it becomes obvious when you go from working stations to not working stations.) This will remain an opportunity for hams to figure out for future FT contesting.

Band conditions. While we’ve started to see some better band conditions in northern Ohio on the upper bands, they were rough for the contest. There was very little 15m activity, and 10m activity was nonexistent.

Now that I’m done complaining about the mode and the band conditions… Jay, Jon, and I still had a good time. FT RU is better than not having a radio activity for the weekend. It was COVID friendly in that all 3 of us could operate from our own homes while still trash talking each other on VHF or via instant messenger. Also, Jay worked out the kinks on SO2R operations – something that will likely be useful for future RTTY competitions.

Hopefully you gave it a go and one or all of us got you in the log book. If not, don’t worry we’ll be at it again next year. If you don’t want to wait a full year, the ARRL RTTY Roundup is coming up Jan 2 and 3 and includes RTTY, FT, PSK, AMTOR, ASCII, and Packet.

Contest Information:

FT Roundup ran from1800 UTC Dec 5 until 2359 UTC Dec 6.

KB8O: 91,464 pts (80: 164 Qs, 40: 315Qs, 20: 294 Qs, 15: 114 Qs, 10: 1 Q)

KM8V: 47,975 pts (80: 105Qs, 40: 221 Qs, 20: 112 Qs, 15: 67 Qs, 10: 0 Qs)

AB8M: 42,480 pts (80: 82 Qs, 40: 207 Qs, 20: 195 Qs, 15: 47 Qs, 10: 0 Qs)

73 de AB8M, Doug

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