[CQ-Contest] On the Bus with WRTC - #1 - 10 July 2002

Bill Tippett btippett at alum.mit.edu
Thu Jul 11 18:08:09 EDT 2002

This is amazing!  The number of people and calls and faces showing up
from all over the world -
some familiar from the log and some familiar from face-to-face meetings
past - boggles the
mind.  It's like Saturday at 0000Z in the flesh.

My wife Nancy and I arrived yesterday on the 9th, shuttled flawlessly to
the WRTC hotel
headquarters by the efficient OH committee members led by Marje OH1RX.
There is nothing more
welcome after a long flight to a new land than a smiling face holding a
sign with 'WRTC' on it.
We had hardly set foot to ground before being greeted by OH2BH and
company.  A milling company
of previous arrivals milled about the lobby and patio of the Radisson
SAS Espoo - WRTC nerve
center for the next week.

The big attraction on opening day is, of course, the beer tent where you
are suddenly
surrounded by a WAZ of friends.  There are stories to tell,
congratulations to be made, and
pictures to be taken.  Already present was Team Africa, Chris ZS6EZ and
Bernie ZS4TX, holding
their own with a running commentary of humourous observations.
Contesters from Zone 38 need a
certain amount of humor to keep going in the sport.

Also present are the "separated at birth" twins Trey N5KO and Juan
Carlos TG9AJR.  If you've
never met this pair, you'd be amazed to learn that they are not
brothers.  Trey, of course, is
well known from his many contest wins and the big presence from HC8N and
other Zone 10 calls.

A particularly loquacious trio is Wayne N7NG, Ohms PY5EG, and Walter
DL6QT.  Here in a few
square feet is a troika of many years of contesting experiences and
adventures.  You can ask
these guys anything - as in anything - and you will learn something

The long, long, extra long daylight at 62N kept anyone from feeling the
late hours after their
long journeys.  Suddenly, even though the sky said "mid-evening", our
watches said "1 AM" and
the jet lag started making itself felt.  It was time to try out our
sleep masks and grab a few

The 10th found us working down the pileups at the breakfast buffet and
ready for the first of
our preparatory meetings.  Appropriately for hams, this meeting was held
in the Dipoli
building.  All of the competitors and referees were treated to an
overview of the competition
organization and rules, the basics of our stations, and a new element -
the WRTC Real-Time

The scoreboard is an idea that was finally realizable after the three
previous WRTC
competitions.  Every hour, the referees will report the team's score to
a central server, using
Finland's legendary GSM mobile phone system.  Nokia is a major sponsor
of WRTC-2002 and has
contibuted a number of interesting technologies to make the event both a
success and up-to-date
with the latest in communications.

The score information from each team will be posted to a Web page (see
www.wrtc2002.org for the
link to the page) for people around the world to watch.  You will be
able to see simultaneously
the score and ranking of each team starting one hour after the start of
the competition at
1200Z on Saturday.

By the photographs you can see how seriously all of the participants are
taking WRTC and how
much work that the OH committee has done to make the competition a
success.  After 90 minutes
of explanation about the competition, OH5JQ presented a fine video about
Finland and Finns.
They're very proud of their country and culture.

After lunch, we're all piled on buses, where I'm writing this. Headed
for Himos and SRAL (the
Finnish national radio society) Summer Camp, we're enjoying a cold soda
pop and the scenery as
we drive north from Helsinki through Lahti and the lake country.
Martti, OH2BH, has done a
good job of explaining the Finnish psyche - which has a lot to do with
three months of little
sun in the winter.

As a humorous interlude, a songbook of parodies of Beatle's song were
prepared by several of us
before WRTC. On the way to Lahti, we had a sing-along of songs like
"Martti Laine" (to the tune
of "Penny Lane") and "When I'm 64" rewritten by K1DG in honor of Jim
Neiger, N6TJ, who is
celebrating his 63rd birthday during the festivities.

All in good fun, of course.  So far, there has been a little bit of ham
radio and a lot of
meeting and greeting.  Tomorrow things begin to get a little more
serious with training of
referees and detailed review of rules by the competitors.  On Friday, we
draw the referee
assignments and pick our secret callsigns - to be opened only minutes
before the competition.
Very quickly, it will be time to begin - as the hours pass, there is a
little more tension and
sharpness in the contester's demeanor.  These are, after all, the very
best competitors in the
world getting ready for one of the best contests.

So for today - a toast from the bus on the way to Himos...Kiipis!

73, Ward N0AX/OH

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