Follow up half a year later FROM HERE…
Last week the WRTC qualification scores were updated. I am now still #4 in my EU region. But in the top regions I am the only one who has done it without being part of some multi-op and from a little station with a modest tower, a small tribander. And from central Belgium – not on a ridge over viewing the Atlantic so to speak.
Next on the list who has no M/x scores in the list is EA3KU, placing ninth. Leader is CT1ILT with only two multi-op operations adding to his total, but he is in another EU1 when it comes to propagation. F8DBF has a high score because he’s on the TM6M crew list, one of if not the EU top scoring M/S stations.
Just to say I am pretty happy with and proud of the results. But should I be proud? What is my part as an operator in this score? My goal after WRTC 2010 was to really give a shot at achieving qualification as a team leader. I seem to be on track for that. I never intended to actually go to WRTC in 2014. But honestly: it has been easy so far and the only thing I did up to now was entering a lot of contests seriously, year after year, especially the CW parts. Given my small station, the location (not the best in EU1) and mult status of Belgium (all but rare), I guess there isn’t really a lot of serious full time single operator competition or interest in this category. How else could I end up on #4? This is confirmed by the calls that usually precede me in the contest results: Russians, Ukrainians, Balkans and a bunch of Germans. Glad they’re not in EU1!
Just for the record: I don’t like the fact that the scores from multi-ops count. Or at least not as much as they do now. What is actual the part of an operator in the total score? What does he have to do? Just get his call on the operator list. Maybe a few QSO and some beers. Lots of fun and sleep so he doesn’t drag himself to work zombified on Monday, like many Single Ops. Maybe the same holds true for the team mate. He gets picked by the TL maybe with less time spent and dedication/stamina as the runner up TL who just didn’t get qualified. Just the way I see it. The organizers make up the rules. ‘Nuff said.
Suppose I manage to qualify as a TL. When evaluating this scenario the question pops up: should I stay or should I go? XYL clearance is in the pocket, as expected. Because of the nature of ‘waffle iron politics’ I’ll have to do some serious XYL back scratching as mine will have been firmly scratched with her ‘off you go to WRTC’ blessing. My guess is some DX trip with the family the year after. If I manage to make it a ham DX vacation, I’ll cut my losses. I hate travelling!
Something that has been on my mind too was who to take with me. But now that ON4CCP/OT1A is back into serious contesting after a work-induced absence, that seems to be solved too. He stepped up and brought the subject on the table. Initially (2003) we talked about WRTC a lot but the plans faded. I guess they’re back on the foreground now. So Ken and I need to talk this over. Because there are other issues.
I’ve come to terms with the question whether I am WRTC material or not. Probably not since I don’t perform under stress and when extracted from my natural habitat (= my shack and the way I have it organized). And the combo ON4CCP/ON5ZO usually messes things up big time despite careful and extensive planning. But who cares: being there is fine and it’ll give me a chance to meet some of the people I’ve been working each and every contest. And when push comes to shove, it’s just a matter of hitting F1 right?
But then there is the operating style for WRTC that involves extra hardware like triplexers and single band pass filters. This will have to be purchased but I see no need for that after WRTC. We can always dump it second hand. The real problem that comes with all this hardware is taking it all on board a plane: transceiver, filters, power supply, laptop, interfaces like keyers and their cables etc. And a Belgian USB AZERTY keyboard since I’m lost on any other international keyboard.
I looked it up: a flight round trip to Boston in July (2013) costs €750 to €800 with Air France from Paris CDG. Now I am a total n00b when it comes to air fares (last time I flew was 2002) but this seems much money to me. The XYL thinks this is a fair fare for such a trip. Come to think of it: our flights to OH, LA and CT (DXCC, not WAS) were about 400-500 Euro more than a decade ago. So maybe it isn’t too much after all. My problem is that I’m a cheapskate when it comes to certain expenses and to me this is a silly investment. It’s just the way I think about flying and travelling. Maybe I just have to try to change my view on this.
Anyway according to Air France’s site excess luggage can be charged from €100 to €300 depending on the weight. I think everything we need to pack should fall between the weight limits for these numbers. Maybe Ken should NOT buy a new Japanese paper weight TRX after all and settle for the lightweight K3. He also raised the thought of grouping the western EU’s that go there together (DL’s, maybe us two, F’s, EA’s, judges etc). That way he thinks we can negotiate a better fare, especially for the excess luggage. Now is he a commercial mind or not? I just think it’ll be hard next to impossible to arrange this.
I have been thinking about having a W1-local buy me a new K3 fitted with the options I want and have it delivered there at the WRTC site and pay it cash. That way I save the expensive yet worthwhile UPS shipping and VAT on the shipping. I just need to get clearance when importing it on the way home and pay 21% VAT. Or just play dead and put it in the suitcase. But then I have to find a buyer for one of the older K3’s. Maybe this isn’t a smart plan? Maybe I shouldn’t do it with a K3 since I don’t need a new one but with something else?
But we’re not there yet. First I really need to make it as a TL. In the mean time I subscribed to the WRTC2014 email reflector. It seems quiet there but I’m sure all hell will break loose by this time next year…