[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!
>Gud Dx,
>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. 


John, K4BAI.

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