If only we could settle in our cave before winter, fall asleep and come back out when the suns shines and it’s 20 °C.
Just like most people here, I’ve had it with winter and its associated phenomena. Darkness almost all day round, freezing cold, snow piling up – it’s all part of winter. And as such we can live with it. Say from November to early March. That’s all us North Sea people can take. But this year it has lasted all too long. Imagine Easter being much colder than Christmas. Actually: don’t imagine – it was the case. Imagine massive snowfall in Belgium in the last week of March. It was like that.
The flu/cold I had two weeks ago migrated into a severe cold with pneumonia-like coughing. All day round it seemed my lungs were aching to leave the body. No way I could recover from this without rest and medicines. Normally I have an ‘it’ll blow over’ attitude but this approach had gotten me so ill in the first place. That’s what you get when you let a busy schedule and an over cultivated sense of duty overrule the signals of your body.
Then came WPX SSB. I already made up my mind to do a SB15 effort. But with the cold and the coughing, my motivation was on the low side. Then the sun decided to disturb the propagation. Nevertheless I cranked up the tower on Friday and landed in the seat on Saturday morning. But I just couldn’t do it. Too tired, too ill, too much coughing for a phone contest. Saturday was spent on the couch. National Geographic and Discovery Channel provided the distraction. I tried again on Sunday morning but I just quit with less than 100 QSO in the log. Later on I read on 3830 that it was a fun contest and propagation wasn’t that bad but from my side the higher bands just sounded bad. Few DX and weak signals. I’ll have my turn in the CW part in two months. By then I hope to discover a green freshly mowed lawn under the permafrost.
Last week we went to the shore in South-West Holland. It’s abroad yet only 150 km away. And the Dutch sea shore is free of ugly concrete boxes piling up tourists fifteen floors high. I prefer nature over commercial concrete. The XYL booked this trip and some activities in July 2012. I said: “Let’s go early April, the weather will be much better than early February”. And so we found ourselves on the North Sea shore with negative temperatures and a 5-6 Bft wind. We needed to count fingers and toes at regular intervals. All of this didn’t really help the coughing either.
But by now it seems the cold is slowly moving and we’re getting temperatures around 10 °C (positive!). Of course with the wind coming from S-SW, we can’t keep it dry. I enjoyed two sunny days outside working in the garden. It wasn’t really warm, but it wasn’t cold and there was sun! Boy that felt good. Too bad the rain keeps me from completing the project and starting another one. The to do list is long and keeps growing. I think there won’t be much ham radio in the near future. But since the topic here is amateur radio after all, I should at least add a few radio related items.
As usual after a major DX contest (ARRL both modes), the QSL direct comes in. I tried not to let it linger and reply ASAP. I also ordered a few direct QSL cards for myself. Yeah I know I said I’ve had it with QSL cards but no more sending my own card, explain the local post office teller what an IRC is and that I’m not pulling his leg, no more writing envelopes. In the twenty first century I use ClubLog (READ) and PayPal to order a direct QSL. I ordered and received 7O6T and 6O0CW (2012) and I’m still waiting for 5X8C, 9U4U and only yesterday I ordered my TX5K QSL. And I chip in a few extra Euros as support. I don’t need to buy an IRC and don’t need to put a stamp on my outgoing request so why not?
I was also surprised to find this in the mail:
Thank you RRTC organizers. For the enjoyable event and for the nice little banner.
Last but not least, another episode in the ‘me and my big mouth’ series. There is a Dutch saying, and I translate: “You shouldn’t sell the bear’s skin before you actually shot the bear”. It seems I did sell before shooting since the latest WRTC 2014 qualification update moves me from #4 to #7. So all my considerations about going to WRTC 2014 or not seem absolutely premature. I won’t be losing any sleep over this since not being able to qualify settles the matter right away.
And since the title is about hibernating and while we’re talking bears, I just came across this:
Bears have an impressive hibernation physiology. They are able to recycle their proteins and urine, allowing them to stop urinating for months.
Now THIS is the ultimate solution for those long contests!