A very powerfull tool for improving your skills at ANYTHING you do is to
benchmark (compare) against the very best. The road to improvement is
not always easy. A place to start is to ask yourself "just how good am
I" and "how can I do better". If the cream of the crop of the current
contest ops decide to enter in your category, it gives you an excellent
chance to compare yourself, your station, your technique, etc. It will
remove one unknown from the equation: power.
What is next? Your station? Probably some room for improvement here,
but factors such as real estate and cash flow will probably be the
limiting factor. Location? Many factors limit one here, primarily
money. Your skills as an operator? This is the one area where you can
make the biggest difference. Unfortunately, it is also the most
difficult. You can buy a station at the best location, but no amount of
money can buy operator skills. It is the most difficult part of the
equation to obtain, and the one that most of us (myself definately
included) will strive for but may never reach.
Hey, I know that I don't always copy each callsign correctly the first
time. I also know that the Top Ten ops do. I know that I don't always
zero beat when I call. The Top Ten ops do. I know that I can't copy
much beyond 32 wpm. The Top Ten ops do, and they do it easily. I could
go on, but the point I'm trying to make is that I can look at myself as
an op and find a whole bunch of things that I need to work on. For me,
this is part of the attraction of contesting. I don't know if I'll ever
get it all correct, but the challenge of it keeps me motivated. For me,
winning is DEFINATELY not the only thing. If it were, I would have hung
it up a long time ago. I just like the game and to compete. It's fun.
Just sign me another unknown little pistol...