[CQ-Contest] Sleep and Fatigue on Dxpeditions; looking for a solution!
John T. Laney III
k4bai at worldnet.att.net
Mon May 1 08:16:09 EDT 2006
ah8dx Craig Maxey wrote:
>I know us contesters have rehashed this subject over and over again and
>again but I don't understand why I haven't learned from my past mistakes. If
>you can, please post your strategies that seem to work for you.
>On a contest dxpedition there are many negatives right out of the gate. To
>begin with, jetlag and the time change is the starter. Setting up antenna's
>and equipment usually in a tropical place sets you back even more. Changing
>your diet that you are used to is yet another negative. Staying up day and
>night before contests handing out qso's on the top band and needed modes
>such as rtty during the day also sets you back. Operating from a hard chair
>and small table isn't anything like your comfortable chair and big operating
>position at home. This list goes on and on and on.
>I usually can make it through the first night but that second night gets me
>every time. A funny story from my recent trip to Guyana for the ARRLDX SSB
>contest. I began to get tired about at midnight the second night so I told
>my host to wake me up in 45 minutes. 45 minutes later, he was telling me to
>get up and back on the radio. I told him to give me another hour in which he
>did. One hour later he came in to wake me up and I sat up on the edge of the
>bed thinking. I then told him that in order for me to run them fast on
>Sunday, I would need more sleep to do this. I told him to wake me up in a
>hour and a half. He came in a hour and a half to wake me up and by that
>time, I was more tired than I was than at midnight when I first went to
>sleep. It appeared that all of the tiredness had finally caught up with me
>from being sleep deprived for the past five days and I told him to wake me
>up at 6 a.m. The daylight and 6 a.m. came and I got up and started calling
>cq at the radio. When my host came in after hearing me at the radio, I asked
>him why he let me sleep so long!
>Any ideas that have worked for you when traveling to do a contest? I sure
>would like to get to the bottom of this!
>Craig Maxey, AH8DX & 8R1EA
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>CQ-Contest at contesting.com
The best advice I ever got was don't go to bed. Nap at the radio if you
must. This was from N6AA at a forum at the ARRL National Convention in
Houston in 1983. Since then, during single op CQ WW CW Contests from DX
QTHs, I have slept only 20 minutes. That was on the second night at
4V2C in Haiti in 1985. During all of the 8P9HT and 8P9Z operations, I
stopped the second night and took a shower and shaved and went back to
the rig. I was always alone at 8P and was had no one to wake me up
other than an alarm clock. (One exception, in 2000, I had a rig failure
(amp failure, I mean) on the second night and that took up the time I
had allocated for the shower. Got a second amp on line, and went back
to CQing without the shower.
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