It's time for.... the 2024 10m Challenge. (Part 2)

Continuing the discussion from It's time for.... the 2024 10m Challenge. (Part 1) - #101 by DD5LP.

Previous discussions:

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@M1EYP wrote:
“Someone could make 100s of QSOs on FT8 but still be easily surpassed by someone who went out activating lots of different references”

Yes, in theory. But “easily”? Tom, are you seriously comparing the ease of getting a 100 unique-chaser FT8 10m QSOs from a few summits, possibly even just one summit, with getting a 100 10m QSOs by activating a large number of unique summits?

As with SOTA in general I don’t care about points or league tables. I’m just glad that this initiative will generate more 10m chasers and 10m S2Ss on my favourite mode, CW.

I agree with the comments above that the highly competitive will focus on modes like FT8 which accrue points quickly and easily.

It’s a pity there won’t be a breakdown by modes. I think the activator and chaser with the highest number of 10m AM contacts should get a special mention.



I am comparing the ease of getting 100 unique chaser 10m FT8 QSOs with five unique summits, working 4+* CW/SSB chasers on each.

*Such that 20 unique calls are worked across those five activations.

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Irrespective of the finer points of mode efficiency I will as always stick to my preferred mode, phone. I like the more personal feel of a voice contact, I recognise the voices of the regular activators that I chase, I like the occasional background noises and wind in the mike, to me CW is largely impersonal and digital modes are soulless. I may not get astronomical numbers of computer to computer contacts to boost a score that I will in any case ignore, but I will relish every contact. I will also explore FM on 10m, as so far I have not used FM on any band lower than 50MHz. I foresee lots of fun as soon as the garden mud dries out and I can hang up my new half-square antenna!


That’s a typical view of someone who can’t use it. If you did you would recognise the very distinctive fists that many people have. But I’ll go with the basic premise that human modes (voice and CW) are more interesting IMHO than digital. I understand most of the maths behind performant modes like FT8 and as a programmer smile at the number of multiply and accumulates taking place in the software. I’m impressed at what can be achieved. But I don’t have to do anything other push the buttons ONCE I have got the system functional. So it’s a bit boring TBH. But that’s just my view and people are welcome to agree or disagree and use whatever modes they want. Given I’ve got a new phone, I can dedicate the old one to playing with some of these modes.


That is a partially fair comment. I can copy at about 20wpm on a good day but my sending is irredeemably rubbish, if I ever get off my derriere and use CW I will be sending with a keyboard - and my fist will be impersonal! The thing that keeps me anchored on my derriere is that after listening to about ten minutes of rapid-fire minimalist CW contacts I want either a stiff drink, a power nap, or both! :grinning:


I can enjoy that even without cw :joy:

CW often has its own “handwriting”… I’ve been greeted by name even though I only sent “/p” as a chaser for an S2S… Jürg HB9BIN recognized me immediately

73 Armin


I enjoy these tussles between Andy and Brian. I agree with Andy that Morse QSOs can exhibit the personality of the senders even on quick exchanges, but I also agree with Brian that FT8 is soulless.

However, not all digi modes are that way. I recently played for the first time with Vara-HF both on HF and 2m (yes not Vara-FM). It was fun to set up and do some trials but I would probably be bored to use it regularly.

I found that Vara-HF got through or round or over the entire Lake District hills and mountains (SE to NW) on a 2m test QSO where as CW never did. So I expect digi modes to do well on 10m even in marginal conditions.


Believe me or not, but I am (I think there are many of us) capable of knowing who is transmitting simply by their cadence and rhythm.

Well, what you see as something “negative” is what differentiates you from others…


But that’s a flexible chat mode unlike FT8 which is a fixed format “enough exchange for a valid QSO” mode. So you converse on Vara and the computer does rubber stamp exchanges on FT8

There’s fun setting it up and getting it working then the computer does the work. It’s a bit like QO-100. You can find out what the downlink strength will be for any lat/long in the footprint. You know your LNB/front end gain so you know how big a dish you need. You know how much signal is needed at the satellite and you know how big your dish is for the RX side. So you can work out how many watts at the feed. Bolt it together, pointed at the sky, QSOs ensue. That’s not to say QO-100 is trivial but it’s very predictable to what you need. So once you have the bits as long as your bits work and the satellite works you’ll always be the same signal into the satellite and it will always be the same down to you. It stops requiring effort quickly. (Portable SOTA QO-100 spices this up very nicely :wink: )

I don’t deny that, indeed to some extent I have experienced it myself, but I was not using “impersonal” in that sense. As a chaser I could complete a CW contact by me sending no more than fourteen characters, assuming an immediate reply to my first call. This is highly efficient but for me it is unsatisfying. When chasing I am not unnecessarily verbose, but I find a few seconds for a friendly greeting and a cheerful departure. I can sometimes add something like “there’s a S2S calling you” or “there’s a W2 in the pile-up”, these little touches make it all more human for me. That’s just me, though, I don’t expect other people to feel the same way. If someone wanted to ban CW or FT8 I would be firmly on the other side!


So do we CW types, a few seconds.

If you were freezing your butt off crouching over your rig or sat on some cold uneven rocks for 40 minutes [remember those days?] instead of a comfy chair in your warm shack, you would appreciate (especially at your age and mine) brief CW QSOs so you can work through the chasers ASAP and get up and get your limbs moving again. I find just about every SOTA CW chaser reciprocates my friendly little gestures with GM, GA TU 73 etc.

We find satisfaction in many things including the ascent and descent walks and managing CW QSOs with brain freeze and cold fingers.


Just for reference, Andy, the last time I sat on a summit was just four weeks ago, I sat for just over an hour and enjoyed it so much I actually couldn’t be bothered to set up the rig. :rofl:

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Sorry to harp on but you don’t do CW so you don’t know what it’s like. There’s plenty of personal info and extras exchanged in the QSOs. Also most CW chasers can spot when you are having issues such as your sending becoming total mince because your hands are cold or recently when I kept getting cramp and stopping mid word to scream, jump up and kick the KX2. (Three times!)

But you’d have to do CW QSOs to know what is really sent and who does what.


Still not tempted yet, mate, but never is a long time…

I don’t think Andy is trying to tempt you Brian. That’s a bridge too far. We’re trying to explain an experience unknown to you - CW activating.

It’s not like just sitting on a summit admiring the view, nor like having CW QSOs in the shack. It’s combining the two that CW activators find both fun and challenging. It’s the reason I still do amateur radio.


One thing at a time, mate, I haven’t even chased on CW yet! OTOH I have sat beside Andy on a summit, picked up some good ideas on setting up, and copied about half of what I could hear.

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You would be OK for Challenge QSOs this afternoon Tom, if it was 7/8th December 2024. The ARRL 10m CW/SSB Contest is in full flow and the band is full of contesters making 2-3 QSOs a minute. Imagine the number of unique calls that could be worked next year for the 10m SOTA Challenge if we have the same propagation as we have today on the Saturday and Sunday of the contest - assuming you can stand the cold and stay outside when the band is open.

On a different topic, great to see on Facebook this week, that you recently performed at the famous (New) Cavern Club in Liverpool.

73 Phil G4OBK



You are sounding as inexperienced at JT modes as Brian is with CW!

Use whatever modes you like. Put whatever extra into them you like. You can add plenty in CW QSOs AND FT8 (etc) QSOs. And, of course, you can operate phone modes in machine gun rubber stamp style too!

The mode is a complete misnomer here. All the modes can have as much or as little in them as you wish. What you’re both talking about is operating style, but conflating that with mode choice to (attempt to) justify your personal prejudices.

(I’ll get my coat, helmet, and leave now…)



Fixed format not fixed content. Hence the reason why JS8Call exists.