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I'm playing with the new JS8 mode. One feature I find particularly interesting is an ability to relay messages using rigs of other OP's. Though I'm not sure whether such QSOs should count as valid ones. Especially if it turns out that the station you try to contact runs in AUTO mode. I feel like I'm cheating.

Here is a particular example:

22:37:31 - (2187) - R2AUK: HB9AVK STATUS? ⌁
22:37:59 - (2185) - HB9AVK: R2AUK STATUS HB AUTO RELAY SPOT 0M V1.0.0 ⌁ 
22:38:49 - (2180) - R2AUK: HB9AVK SNR? ⌁ 
22:39:29 - (2185) - HB9AVK: R2AUK SNR +05 ⌁ 
22:39:37 - (2180) - R2AUK: HB9AVK HEARING? ⌁ 
22:40:14 - (2184) - HB9AVK: R2AUK HEARING KD8UJG KB8HTU KK4WTI CO2DC ⌁ 
22:41:24 - (2187) - R2AUK: HB9AVK> KD8UJG LETS QSO VIA RELAY HW CPY? EIH ⌁ 
22:42:44 - (2185) - HB9AVK: KD8UJG> LETS QSO VIA RELAY HW CPY? VIA R2AUK -UR ⌁ 
22:44:14 - (2184) - HB9AVK: R2AUK> ACK VIA KD8UJG ⌁ 

In this case I got a response from KD8UJG, though the template 'ACK' response suggests that this station runs in AUTO mode. Unfortunately I got no response for a relayed 'STATUS?' message or any other messages to confirm this - it looks like the station disspeared.

Though technically there was a contact. I don't see how it differs from using a satellite or a repeater in UHF case except that HF were used here. Wikipedia says:

An amateur radio contact, more commonly referred to as simply a "contact", is an exchange of information between two amateur radio stations. The exchange usually consists of an initial call, a response by another amateur radio operator at an amateur radio station, and possibly a signal report. A contact is often referred to by the Q code QSO. It is often limited to just a minimal exchange of such station IDs.

According to this definition a QSO over a relay counts, even if one of the stations (besides the relay) runs in AUTO mode. The only problem is that I'm not sure whether this is a generally accepted definition of QSO. Is there any reason (like existence of other definitions of QSO, or any other) why described case may not counts as a QSO?

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    $\begingroup$ "What's your opinion?" is not allowed on this site. If you could restate your question in terms of interpreting some existing definition of "valid QSO" in this particular context, or something else that is not purely asking for opinions (not expertise), that would be one way to improve it. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin Reid AG6YO
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ @KevinReidAG6YO , thank you. I did my best to fix this problem. Hopefully it's better now. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 9:02
  • $\begingroup$ All right, we'll see how this goes. Thanks for the edit. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin Reid AG6YO
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 13:45

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Whether a contact "counts" depends on who does the counting.

For example, the rules for the ARRL DXCC Award state, "Contacts made through 'repeater' devices or any other power relay methods (other than satellites for Satellite DXCC) are invalid for DXCC credit." Similarly for the Worked All States Award (WAS), "Contacts made through repeaters or any other power relay method cannot be used for WAS credit."

There may, however, be reasons for organizations with different goals to count contacts on a different basis. For example, the Radio Amateurs of Northern Vermont (RANV) sponsored the RANV QSO Party to, "Bring life back to the FM repeater frequencies!" In this case, valid event contacts were required to be made through an analog or digital repeater.

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From what I have seen at K0NR's blog which was referred to by an ARRL website, there seem to be important communications missing. Primarily, the part missing is the SNR from KD8UJG to you. Now, one thing that is true is every part of the message that you wanted to send KD8UJG actually went to him, and via real RF, not some sort of virtual communication method. But, would the equipment at R2AUK be thought of as a repeater by the ARRL? I think there is a good chance of that.

What I am wondering is when a direct contact through a distant station is made, and QSO info it put into their mail box, and reports of signals are received by both stations and logged and confirmed (that always happens) , is one station limited by the so called "automatic" rule. According to K0NR FT8 stations are not limited by that constraint. So, if that is true, JS8 stations would also not be limited . But, the relay part of the above contact may make it invalid. That said, the contact to R2AUK would count as a valid contest contact.

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    $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! I don't think that one can say that a particular relayed contact is valid for contests in general, because there are many different contests out there, and each has its own rules, which are often picky about how QSOs are made. Some contests may allow relayed JS8 QSOs, but others may not. (I've never used JS8 in a contest myself.) $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 21:38

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