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[CQ-Contest] Improving Concentration

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Improving Concentration
From: Pete Smith <n4zr@contesting.com>
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 21:24:27 -0500
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Wonder of wonders, this message has nothing to do either with contest rules or 
cut numbers.  Please don't tune out, hi!

Until recently, I was pretty much of a solitary contester - never had any 
occasion to operate in multi-op situations, nor to compare my results with top 

Over the last 8-10 years, though, I've built a fairly capable station for the 
first time in my 53 year ham career.  I've also had a couple of occasions to 
operate at multi-ops with some top operators, and I'm struck by the fact that I 
do not seem able to consistently get the sort of results they do, even from the 
same station.  This is particularly the case in hell-bent contests like the CW 
Sprints, but I have the same feeling about the first evening in Sweepstakes, 
and to a lesser extent in the big DX contests.

To the extent that I can isolate the problem, I think it lies in the inability 
to keep myself totally focused in the moment.  Even in the midst of a 120-150 
hour on CW I find myself not always totally "zoomed in" on the pileup.  
Watching good ops, they seem to have a really special focus that I find hard to 
maintain, even for a 4-hour sprint.

If there's anything to be done about this, I'd like to try, even though at age 
65 I am inevitably losing some of my edge.  So I'm wondering what others have 
done about this, whether there are particular techniques that you use to help 
stay focused.  I don't know what I'm looking for here, so any suggestions would 
be welcome.  If you want to send them to me off the reflector, I'll summarize 


73, Pete N4ZR
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