With the ARRL’s Field Day event coming up at the end of June I was considering setting up a digital station at our Field Day event and running VarAC on HF. Understanding that VarAC is a connected mode, (Station to Station) what would be a good plan for using VarAC in a contest setting? Has anyone already been down this path? Is it worth trying to use VaraAC in a contest setting?
Would it make sense to use the very upper and lower slots above and below the CF for contacts with other stations?
Does the ARRL recognize VarAC as a digital mode that would count in the scoring of contacts?
I can kind of see calling CQ, Field Day with a Broadcast but I would think that doing that on the calling frequency would not be acceptable. Other than the very upper and lower slots, is there a frequency per band where freelance VarAC broadcast for contest contacts are acceptable?
In short, I really enjoy using VarAC on HF and would like to let some other club members get a taste of using VarAC on the HF bands but I do not want to be disruptive to other users of VarAC who are not participating in the Field Day event.
Any civil suggestions and comments regarding using VarAC on HF during a contest would be appreciated.
VarAC is excellent for “chatting”, however for contest style operating it is bit long winded.
Unfortunately ARRL seem uninterested in sorting LOTW and Vara. I raised the issue with them months ago and they just say to translate the mode to digital in the TQSL app/program.
Log4OM is not any better, it records the mode as dynamic, but if you try to edit the log, it changes the record reports to 599…
Oh well, at least VarAC works for its intended purpos.
Thanks for the replies! I was aware that ARRL’s LoTW system does not have or recognize VarAC as a discreet mode “YET” but I was under the impression that we could log VarAC contacts into the LoTW system under the general heading of “Digital”, or something like that. I will have to dig a little deeper to make sure I understand how LoTW requires VarAC contacts to be identified and logged.
I also know that on the Field Day weekend the bands are in chaos and if you are not engaged in making FD contacts you may as well find something else to do until the contest ends on Sunday afternoon. Even with that in mind, I didn’t want to just assume what might be acceptable operating practice and wanted to reach out to the community to receive some feedback.
As I stated in the original post I really do want to introduce some of our club members to VarAC. Some use other digital modes but have been reluctant to adopt VarAC so I was hoping a little nudge would get them over the hump and encourage them to install and give it a try!
Thanks again for your comments!
As for the ARRL they do not recognize VarAC, nor does LoTW accept VARA even though it is now a fully approved by https://adif.org/ I have contacted ARRL several times just to get it in LoTW and they have a very poor attitude about it.
First of all - good luck in the field day. I had a field day 2 days ago where I primarily operated with VarAC and it was great. was heard all over the globe with a dipole antenna hanged between trees and 100W from a battery.
I think it is good practice to Call CQ on the main CF while chosing a distant slot (like 5 or 15). and every now and t hen - also use broadcast on the CF with a CQ ARRL FIELD DAY CONTEST indication and asking people to QSY to Slot 15 to connect. So people will be able to know from the broadcast that you are on a Contest mission... but so mixing both strategies I believe will bring you many nice QSOs which you might want to keep short for the sake of the contest. Just report exchange (which happens automatically) and thats it
I'll be happy yo hear about your experiance.
Here are some pics from my operation: