[CQ-Contest] New Blood in Contesting (can one go home again?)

Bud Hippisley k2kir at telenet.net
Fri Mar 17 01:35:49 EST 2000

At 04:27 PM 2000-03-16 -0900, Wigi Tozzi wrote:
I'd like to see some comments posted
>about how people got into contesting... So that maybe we can look at
>those stories, and see if one or more of those ideas can be used to
>bring more people to contesting now. Since I offered the challenge, I'll

>From K2KIR -- Shortly after I first got my General Class license I was rag chewing on 40 meters one August afternoon when a station called me and asked me if I would take a message for a non-ham in my city.  From that chance encounter evolved my lengthy involvement in traffic handling.  I learned from my ARRL literature that I could apply for an appointment as Official Relay Station, which I did, and a local club member pointed out that as an appointee I could participate in something called a "CD Party", where I would trade exchanges with other traffic handlers and other League appointees.  I knew nothing about contesting and less about CD Parties, but the potential fraternalism interested me, and so with details of the next quarterly CD Party in hand, I entered and had a ball.  I think I might have made all of 30 or 40 contacts that first time, but I was hooked, and I never missed a CW CD Party from then (1955) until they were terminated.  Sometimes (such as when I was in co!
llege) I could only get on long enough to make two or three contacts and sometimes I took first place, but I was always in them, going after my own personal goals -- and helping others fill their logs.   From there I branched out into SS, VHF QSO Parties, various state parties, Field Day (oops, sorry, I forgot -- Field Day's not a contest), and an occasional foray into DX tests.  

The point of my story is this -- I got into contesting much like the proverbial frog in boiling water.  I didn't start out my operating career by saying "I want to be a contester", nor did some speaker at a hamfest or club meeting convince me that contesting was the way to go.  I got into contesting by accident, but once there I found I enjoyed it even though it wasn't what I had originally started out to accomplish.  I believe that when the CD Parties disappeared we lost one of the better migration paths for budding contesters.  So perhaps one train of thought should be to find another way to get individuals active in other aspects of ham radio exposed to a contest environment without contesting, per se, being the primary immediate objective.

Bud, K2KIR 

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