>And so my question. What psychological factors allowed these two gentlemen
>to raise their performance "above and beyond" what would be expected?
>Here's my list, for discussion, addition. etc.
> - Does the history and track record of a station stimulate confidence?
>Or does it induce a "fear of letting the station down"? Does it make an op
>feel that he "must" do well; that it's expected?
> - If an op goes from a "normal" station to a "top 5" station does the
>change, the pileups, raise the op to a "higher" operating level? Is there
>an "exhilaration factor"?
Thanks for sharing your interesting questions. I had an experience in WPX CW
a couple of weeks ago that I think bears on them. I operated for 10 or 12
hours with Arnie, N6HC from his station, and I definitely noticed a
difference in my performance. My own station is a TS940S with just dipoles
but an excellent ridge top location (love those CC&R's!!) but I enjoy
contesting to test my own ability to achieve self set goals.
When Arnie invited me to be the other op in a "fun" effort at CW WPX I
jumped at the chance. N6HC has an excellent location, TS950SD, Henry 2K and
TA-34. The result is that there is almost never a need to call a station
more than once, and reasonable runs can be established to JA and the
Pacific. Arnie and N6HC also has an excellent record in SS and in CQP, as
well as other domestic contests. This time we did around 500 Q's, 300 mults,
in about 16 hours.
After a couple of hours of operating, I noticed that a change had come over
me.... As I said in a report on the experience to a friend of mine, I became
aware that because of the capabilities of the station, results achieved were
determined by MY abilities. In other words, there were no excuses. In short,
I found that I felt more pressure to do as well as possible, and to keep
going when things got tough (like Sunday afternoon), rather than giving up.
But that pressure was a positive influence on me.
It also meant, I think, that I found it easier to cope with quickly learning
a new station (and my first experience using CT for a logging program). The
ramp on the learning curve seemed less steep because of what you call the
Two other comments:
During the same contest, I also operated for perhaps 6 hours from my own
station. The second segment, Sunday morning, was after 6 or so hours at
N6HC. I found that I was sharper (and more effective) from my own station
than I would have expected given the situation and my relative fatigue. I
believe that also comes from the "exhilaration" factor.
While you don't mention it specifically, I believe that there is also major
impact that comes from sharing the operating with someone else (especially
someone more experienced). Of course, there are opportunities to learn, but
perhaps more important, is the ability to take a half hour off and get
refreshed by a walk around the block, without feeling the pressure of
wondering whether the station is "missing something" by being off the air.
The result is that as an op, I was more effective, because I could take
those short breaks to help "keep an edge".
So in summary, operating a contest at a highly capable station is a very
valuable learning experience for anyone, even those of us who are the "fun"
contesters as opposed to those who are "in contention". After those few
hours, I'm convinced that there really is a synergy that comes from
operating at a station which is significantly better than ones own. And
maybe most important, that synergy has effects that extend beyond the
specific contest itself and enhance ones performance in general and for
Cheers & 73,
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