RDXC 2013

I haven’t been taking a rain check for a major CW contest in a very long time. But for this one, I did.

Friday afternoon, I was putting the elevated radials back up again after I took ‘m down for tree / hedge cutting the week before. I was ploughing through the remains of a nasty layer of snow, leftovers from a sudden but fierce snowfest earlier last week. The wind was blowing in my face when I headed for the tower to winch it up. I just didn’t want to do it. I’ve done it too many times with the wind blowing and all ropes just get tangled up into a nylon spaghetti. Furthermore the wind plays with one of the ropes controlling a safety flap sixteen meters up and then I can’t lower the flap because the swinging rope is heavy enough to retrieve the flap, which in turn means I can’t secure the tower unless a brief and well timed lull in the wind force allows for the rope to relax and the flap to fall down. And then I would have to get 80/160 up, which in turn is a struggle again when the gales take the copper wire everywhere except where I want it. I knew that on Saturday, the wind would even blow harder, so delaying it was of no use.

But I just couldn’t get myself hyped. The thought of spending yet another twenty four hours in the shack was not appealing. I was already tired from work at work, work at home for work, and work at home for home. And not to forget a busy few days with two rascals demanding my attention. Tired already, I would have to struggle my way through the contest only to be a wreck afterwards. And start yet another workweek as a zombie.

Add to that the announcement I picked up somewhere that during the weekend the propagation could be disturbed, and I decided not to participate.

Which is, believe me, a strange feeling for me. Not that the contest can’t go on without me, but… I can’t describe it. It almost feels like betraying myself or what I stand for. A self declared die hard contester skipping a major contest? Maybe it would be like the pope staying in bed on Easter Sunday for a change? “No urbi et orbi this year guys. I had a rough week at the office and it’s cold out there on the balcony. I’ll take a rain check. CU next year folks!

But I shouldn’t worry. And neither should you  😉   I have been going through this phase before. A brief period where I have had it with the operational side of contesting but not with ham radio. Being fed up with the hobby? Couldn’t even if I wanted to. Yesterday I was in the workshop drilling holes in aluminium for a hardware project. And I’ve been thinking to try a new WARC antenna that can stay up when the tower is down. That way I can still work DX for fun without having to crank the tower up. But no contest for me this weekend…

3 replies on “RDXC 2013”

I know this feeling very well. We get so conditioned (addicted?) to operating the contests that it feels strange to walk away and do something else. This is a sign to take a break and do something else for awhile. You will be back soon enough!

I did what the Japanese call “the long QRX” from 1996 to 2009, as radio interest waned and kids/job demands increased. Came back in 2009 and have had a great time operating loads of contests, building out a station (with still almost no antennas) and for the first time in my contesting career operating under my own call – and watching the DXCC totals go up. But, I’ve also increased my outdoors interests – biking, hiking, boating, etc. So, much more balanced than in my younger days.

One thing I’ve noticed is the amazing number of contests that exist now – every weekend there is at least one fun one! So, one thing I do now: in country contests (like the RDX or UBAs and others) where everyone can work everyone, I usually only get on to give out QSOs to the host country participants. That way I figure I’m supporting the contest, can have short bursts of fun – and still spend most of the weekend outdoors. It is actually kind of amazing how *few* in-country CQers there are in most of those contests – we really need to get more casual ops used to running so they get more addicted to rate!

Of course, when I come across that booming OQ5M signal, I’ll usually answer that one, too…

Good call, it wasn’t for lack of a good event, storm conditions pummeled great potential such is RadioSport at its finest. On the other hand, I had time to survey potential club station improvements and look at the condition of a KLM KT34A in need of attention. Likewise, after opting for the off switch, I was able to earnestly evaluate potential antenna system locations given two 45 foot telephone poles are without wire. Ultimately, my weekend was successful, it was only a matter of perception.
73, DRR

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