SFI > 250 or bust!

EVERYTHING!

It’s been four weeks since my last QSO. It’s been three weeks since my last posting. It’s been everything except ‘live’ ham radio here. No activity in the shack…

I did another presentation about the N1MM-software on April 8. This time for the UBA club of NOK.

I processed a big batch of direct QSL. Mostly USA and JA for 30m CW contacts made last winter. Some also for 15m SSB from the UBA SSB contest.

Two weeks ago I planned to participate in a few contests (JIDX, EU Sprint, GA QSO Party etc). In stead I jumped into the garden and started cleaning up the winter mess. Yearly maintenance of the lawn mower. Mow the lawn. Make the XYL happy and plant some new trees. Clean the terrace.

I’ve been irritated by the repeated stupid yes/no discussions on the CQ-Contest reflector about Skimmer and the reverse beacon network. One more mail about this and I would have unsubscribed. Really. What interesting readings have we had there lately? Did we learn something new there? NO!

Oh sorry I forgot – yes we did learn something new there: the birth of “New organization for contest operators”. It’s called WWROF. I wonder what will come from that. Part of their mission is to “improving the skills of radio operators worldwide” (link). Might I suggest a perfect place to start then?

One thing leads to another. I’ve been bashed for naming and pinpointing the Belgians spotting themselves in the UBA SSB contest in January, but now ON callsigns start to show up in K1TTT’s spotting reports (for WPX SSB).

Cheating anyone? Then this is worth reading: http://www.radio-sport.net/iaru_scoring09b.htm . Be sure to read the PDF’s made by the URE. Quite a lot of information, but if this case tickles your interest as much as mine, certainly worth the time.

Talking about reading: I ordered a new book and I hope to find it in the mail the coming week. No activity in the shack, but some nice reading, hopefully outside on the terrace.

I’ve been thinking about buying a new amplifier. I thought this over and over and over… and have evaluated different scenarios, types and brands. I don’t really need nor want extra power. Furthermore it would be illegal for me to pass the 1kW mark. Although it seems that 1kW is peanuts in today’s contesting. Especially in SSB. Buy a second amp for the second radio? It would just sit idle most of the time. Buy an auto-tune amp? I’m not particularly fond of solid sate. That brings an auto-tune amp to at least 5000 Euro. Sell ACOM 1000 and upgrade to ACOM 2000? What’s up the the GU74b availability then? And at what price can you get rid of an ACOM 1000 in mint ON5ZO-condition? In Belgium you need to give it away for free before anyone is interested. And then even deliver it to the “buyer’s” doorstep! OM-Power has a new auto-tune version of their heavy amps. Price and specs beat the ACOM 2000. But still a lot of money. My temporary final decision is: no new amp for the moment. I’ll be glad if the current amp will make another QSO.

An amateur friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in a long time came by last week. He told me he hasn’t made a single QSO in almost 18 months. He’s virtually off the air. I replied that the level of activity here isn’t the same as it was 2 or 3 years ago. He asked me if I regretted having spent so much money and efforts into putting up a tower and big antennas. Believe me, my little toy station has cost me quite a bit. Good question… Regrets, I have a few but then again: too few to mention. Of course not. My interest in ham radio and contesting is quite alive. It’s just that there’s always something that I have to give priority. And that compulsive feeling is gone. Between 2005 and 2008 I felt I had to be on the air each weekend. I had to be active in each and every contest. As if my life depended on it. That feeling is gone now. But I’d welcome something new and refreshing but that is still CW and contesting. Operating from a BIG station in a DX location? I assume I have reached the limit here. It’s impossible to pack more and bigger antennas in my garden. And I don’t want to spend another pile of money. I have made the most of this setup in a few big contests in 2007 and 2008. It’s hard to beat myself.

So what exactly is wrong with amateur radio? Nothing. It’s just that I’m not in a radio-mood lately. But I’m doing fine. Thanks for asking.

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