Over the yearsI have attempted to introduce new hams to contesting.
Recently I have found a new problem. They do not just need to learn
about logging, pile up techniques etc they have to learn how to just
listen on HF through the noise!
Increasingly entry for the young operator to Amateur Radio is via 2M FM.
Unlike we old farts they do not serve an apprenticeship listening to
short wave signals on a pathetic receiver with lousy antennas! Even when
they get going many young ops start with adequate HF equipment that they
have never learned how to drive properly. If you doubt this just sign on
to the transceiver reflectors for more complex transceivers like Orion
etc and see the level of knowledge.
The result is that many tune around a contest for a few minutes and
simply cannot hear anything intelligible. Once taken through the way to
listen, how to use your ears to focus on the signal not the noise, then
they begin to get the hang of it! Without a mentor/helper they may never
make the transition to listening on HF in a noisy environment. They will
just join the incompetent operators that whine endlessly about contest
QRM!!!! Simply because they have not learned how to listen on anything
but a "clear" frequency!
They will not learn this skill from their buddies as we did in the past
because their buddies are suffering the same deficiencies.
If we want more contesters and good HF operators we have to get into our
local clubs, fire interest and then show them - patiently - how its
There is no magic answer, no silver bullet! Randy is correct on the
awards etc you have got to learn to love playing the sport! If your
enjoyment comes only from getting a certificate, plaque etc, it may
surprise you to know that there are some of us that get quite serious at
times but don't take much interest in results. For me after the contest,
the contest is over!! The buzz, the thrill comes from the operating, the
openings, the camaraderie - that is what we communicate to the new guys
- if they get a certificate that is great too, but don't just rely on
that for your fun.
Tel +61 3 62602600
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