My first digi contest was very frustrating!

Last week while making some FT8 contacts I received a message from one of the contacts I had made and he asked if I was going to be taking part in the upcoming WW Digi contest? He told me if I used WSJT-X software it was a simple matter of a few mouse clicks and I was good to good for the contest. I do have WSJT-X on my desktop but I am a user of JTDX for my digital operation. I had to update my WSJT-X software to 2.2.2 and as I was advised it was just a few simple clicks to set the software up for the contest. As I began the contest and started to send my CQ WW on the waterfall I was met with frustrations. Here are some of the issues I had:

  • At first, the auto sequence was not working and as stations that were answering my CQ were going unanswered unless I did it manually. I don't have an issue with that but the auto sequence was turned on but not working. 
  • In the frequency drop-down menu, WSJT-X did not offer the contest frequency which was 14090 to 14092.8. When I tuned my radio manually to this frequency the software had the frequency in red and not the normal green. 
  • For some unknown reason and it was very random my rig would tune back to 14074. This had me calling CQ WW outside the contest frequency. 
The above things kept happening and it was very frustrating and I ended up just shutting down. I did try JTDX and it did have the contest frequencies in the drop-down menu. I had no auto sequence issues and the rig stayed on frequency. One might ask why I just didn't stick with JTDX and keep going in the contest? The main reason was frustration but also I needed to have a contest log of the contacts to send off at the end of the contest. Maybe I could have configured it in JTDX but as I said earlier I was very frustrated. 

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “My first digi contest was very frustrating!”

  • WD5DHK Ray:

    From what I can see, many people have started using FT8 to get away from contests.
    Btw, you can add the contest frequency to the list by going into settings, frequency and right clicking. You can then add the frequency. This works on JTDX as well as wsjtx.
    73 de WD5DHK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Ray thanks for taking the time to read the post and leave a comment, it’s very true those who are not contesters can find it annoying when the bands are flooded with CQ contest. The WARC bands and digital are nice get away spots to head to.
    With FT8 as this being the only contest I kinda participated in using digi it was smart of the organizers to head away from the traditional FT8 band segments as to not flood those sections with a contest. As for the software and setting up the frequency it never occurred to me to head to settings and do it manually. I am a JTDX person and it is not at all setup for contesting.
    To be honest I found the digi contest a bit boring for the time I was in it. When it comes to contesting I am into CW contesting as I find it is very interactive with the operator as opposed to FT8. Having said that I do head to FT8 a lot just for contacts and to see how my signal is doing.
    73 Ray and have a great week,
    Mike
    VE9KK

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