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The contesting dilemma.

Subject: The contesting dilemma.
From: alan@dsd.es.com (Alan Brubaker)
Date: Wed Feb 24 08:33:01 1993
It is amazing to me how what I thought was a relatively inocuous
comment would create as much discussion as it has. I believe that
we have seen these discussions before, as George and Rick pointed 
out, mostly in the NCJ from time to time in the form of editorials 
and letters from contesters. Fortunately, I have never seen a contest
yet that had a rule that you had to operate the entire contest
period in order to enter. Syl has some good ideas in his "Equalized
DX contest" proposal, some of which have been discussed in the past.

I have had opportunities to operate contests in many situations
both as a single operator and as a member of a multi-operator team
at a superstation. There have been times during the sunspot cycle 
peaks when we could work hundreds of JA stations on 10 meters in a 
weekend with the same ease that stations on the east coast could 
work hundreds of Europeans. My recollection is that there are 
several HF license classes in Japan, with various priveleges to go 
with them (similar to what we have here in the U.S.) If I remember 
correctly, only the highest license class in Japan (like our Extra
Class) is allowed on 20 meters, but 10 and 15 were open to the 
"beginner" classes. As a result of this, the number of workable 
JA stations has always been much higher on 10 and 15. I recall
having worked many many 20 watt "novice" JAs on 10 and 15 meters. 
In general, my observation has been that the interest in CW has 
been in a contining decline over the years, but of course there 
is still a hard core of active stations that you hear often. Bob's 
numbers and observations are a perfect illustration.

As to the XYLs and YLs (and in some cases OMs)... Incredibly enough,
my XYL and I will have been married for 25 years in April. I know 
many people, including contesters, whose marriages did not survive
for anywhere close to that long, and I also know some people, 
including contesters, whose marriages survived for longer than that. 
I think that there exists a rather delicate balance of what each 
partner is willing to tolerate with respect to what the other is 
doing, especially when it comes to what one does with his or her 
"spare" time. In my case, I was an active contester long before I 
even met my XYL. For the most part, she has been willing to put up 
with my contesting activities because she knows that it could be 
sky diving, hang gliding, flying, drag racing - I could go on and on 
- instead of ham radio and contesting. On my side, I try to give her 
"equal time" and to keep things fair. She is and has been pretty good 
about putting up with my contesting activities. I have tried to get 
her interested from time to time, but she just is not interested, 
and still cannot imagine why anyone would want to sit in front of a 
radio depriving himself of sleep for a whole weekend! Perhaps someday
she will wander out to the shack and ask if she can try operating in
a contest. By the way, her call is N6PZO.

So excuse me for stirring up the pot. It is "just" a hobby, after all,
isn't it?

Alan, K6XO


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