I had scheduled a busy ham radio weekend. There were four contests I had put on my agenda. Actually three and a half. There’s the JIDX where you only work Japan. There’s the Georgia (state) QSO Party and the local UBA Spring contest on 80m SSB. But yesterday my motivation was ZERO. First of all: SFI = 69, A = 8 to 10. Working JA with these figures? Only a handful but nothing more. The same for the GAQP with the smaller stations and the mobile rovers that don’t run HP into a big antenna. And now for the half contest as in “3.5”: the local 80m SSB contest on Sunday. Working SSB in such a lame contest? Not this time, thank you.
What’s that you say? Only up to 2.5 contests? Well another contest I missed was the EU Sprint CW. I would have loved doing that because I like the Sprint concept. And I always complain that Sprint would actually be more fun with a lot more activity yet I bail out myself. This contest is also a historical landmark for ON5ZO. The Spring leg of the EU Sprint marks the start of the seventh year already from this QTH. I put up a wire in April 2003 when we didn’t even move in yet. The coax was running through an open window. There was no power outlet in the garage yet so I used an extension cord from the kitchen into the garden to feed the SGC SmartTuner. I remember the feeling though: finally my own QTH with room for a tower and real antennas. And from my 3830 post that weekend: “I had a hard time to get concentrated, I was very distracted by the fear of QRM/TVI in the new neighbourhood, but I have had no complaints about this so far”.
A lot of things have changed since then. And more changes are to come this summer with some major construction projects that have nothing to do with antennas. But there is a temporary impact on the antennas. I took down the low band 160/80m vertical and all the elevated radials. I need to cut some trees and prune all the rest and I use these to suspend the radials. The feed point post will have to move too. So I found myself without 80m antenna which I needed in Sprint and the local UBA contest on 80m.
I could have overcome that problem by putting up the 80m dipole I still have. But for that I needed to raise the tower which would have helped in JIDX and GaQ too. But I wasn’t in a tower raising mood at all yesterday. The weather forecast was talking T-storms and I’m not particularly keen on having the tower up with lightning all around. But as always the T-storms do not hover over ON5ZO when all his coaxes are unscrewed and his antennas are down. Furthermore we did some heavy work in the garden on Friday which made for very sore limbs yesterday. I know: not used to hard labor… So given the propagation, the T-storm threat and my aching muscles I wasn’t in a DX / contesting mood yesterday. I’m glad I’ve finally learned to say “thanks but no thanks” when I am not motivated to sit down and participate in a contest. In stead I cleaned the windows, washed the car, walked the dog and worked on a homebrew project. No, not a ham radio project, rather a general proof of concept but it could serve a radio purpose in the end.