Another contest missed (IARU’08)…

This evolves into a blog about a contester that does not seem to contest… After RDXC and WPX CW and some smaller contests I also let IARU go by. And while I made a few hundred QSO in the other two, I didn’t even touch a button in the shack this weekend. We put new fencing around the garden last week and that took longer than anticipated due to unforeseen circumstances. The weather to name but one. We had to take shelter quite a few times. The current season is called summer but the WX doesn’t show. Not at all! Strong winds and heavy showers. The job got done Thursday so I could set up the station on Friday but that was yet another windy day with lots of rain and I really didn’t want to get wet again. I was tired and not motivated. WX cleared a bit late Friday night but then there was a local T-storm which prevented me from setting up and the forecast predicted more of the same on Saturday morning. So I decided NOT to participate in the IARU contest and the XYL agreed to go on a trip to the North Sea coast on Saturday. WX was said to be better there and it would clear up from west to east.

Saturday morning it was more of the same: rain and wind. While waiting for the train on the platform, I received a TXT message on my cell phone from OT1A. He actually was setting up for the contest and got all wet. Yes indeed: another shower accompanied by strong gusts was upon us. I think I made the right decision. On the beach it was quite sunny yet cold and a very strong wind. We arrived back in our home town and got out of the train at 9PM local and it was a blue sky with absolutely NO wind. That was a painful moment. Should I have set up Saturday morning? Probably not as experience tells me that setting up a few hours before the contest starts makes Murphy show up. So you end up in the chair 5 minutes before the start all stressed out and tired before making the first QSO.

When I got home I looked at the DX cluster and saw mostly EU-EU spots. Crappy conditions were confirmed by ON4BHQ / OQ4B by MSN. Wim was working the bands but did not report sudden magical propagation. I looked up spots for OT1A but they were few and not really DX. No loss then and I sent a mail to ON4WW to see if he was home on Sunday. He kindly brought me some stuff from the Friedrichshafen ham fair that I still had to pick up. So on Sunday I headed over to Mark’s place and we had a nice long chat about ham radio in all his aspects. I really enjoyed the ham talk and seeing his low band antennas again gave some ideas.

Then I decided to make a detour and make a surprise visit to OT1A and see how well he did. My ETA there was about when the contest ended. I entered his shack with less than 15 minutes to go. My presence ruled out a post contest nap and once again I had an enjoyable ham radio chat. On my way home I called local ham ON4AFU who still has my UBA contest awards he brought from a UBA meeting. Bummer, he wasn’t home so ham talk #3 got delayed until Monday (tomorrow). That gives me the time to find two nails to put my trophies on the wall…

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