[CQ-Contest] Going all the way....

Robert L. Shohet kq2m at earthlink.net
Wed Feb 21 10:11:23 EST 2007

My vote to limit operating time is NO!

Here's why...  At 45 and not in the same shape
healthwise that I was a few years ago, it has gotten
exponentially harder to do 48 hours.  No doubt it will
continue to get harder in the years ahead, as does the
ability to sleep soundly all night.  That's part of the downside 
of aging and it sucks, but it WILL happen to ALL of us!

As a "serious" SO for the past 25 years, I can tell you
that competing at the top level and trying to win is all about
motivation, and iron will. If we are out of shape and/or, have
physical/mental/emotional issues, that saps our will and ability to
gut it through for the duration.  That's just how it is.

We all have the ability if we are motivated enough, to explore
our limitations and try to push them further, and in doing so
achieve more and learn more about ourselves in the process.

We are NOT created equal and life is not fair, so competing
at the top level is not possible for all of us, for many reasons.
However, the GOOD NEWS is that we can ALL PARTICIPATE 
to the level that we wish.

For those who want to be the best, you must be prepared to 
give it all you have for the duration - "Survival of the Fittest"
if you will.  Evolution has gotten us this far so I have no complaints.
We can work at physical and mental conditioning, improve our
skills by operating and by doing real-life with the same drive
and skill sets as with contesting.  They both help each other,
and EVERYONE has the ability to condition and improve themselves
for the competition, just the same as athletes, and I suspect,
with similar results!

Years ago, I did two CQ-WW SSB contests for the FULL 48!
That's PHONE NOT CW!  CW would have been easier, but
I was never one to take the easy way out.  I learned a few things:

1) You CAN do it if you want it bad enough
2) Doing 48 DOES NOT help your score, compared to 46
3) Some guys can do it easier than others
4) Some guys can do it but are unaware of how much NET score
they lose by their impairments over the final hours
5) No contest is worth dying for

Having once had a serious heart arrhythmia and tachycardia during a WPX SSB 
contest I decided that if I was not competitive operating 46 hours, then I needed to
increase my skills so that I could be.

In CQ and ARRL DX contests, I KNOW that if I could have operated 40 hours and
been near the top because no one else made the effort, that my skills and "want to"
would NOT have progressed to the levels that they have.

Learning to deal with sleep deprivation and the necessity of focusing and performing
despite "the pain", has been invaluable in my life during times of crisis as well as
in business.  You never know when you will need it, but if you do, you will
value that contest "training" as an invaluable life skill!

For those who want to operate less, DO SO!  This is supposed to be fun.
I really believe that if the only reason you push yourself to the wall is for the pursuit
of a plaque or certificate, you should seriously reevaluate why you are doing this,
not ask for a watered down category.

The marathon is still the marathon and everyone, regardless of age, can still compete.
Most know they have no chance for winning and they have their own reasons 
for entering anyway.  Giving the increasing popularity of marathons over the years
it seems that the small possibility of winning hasn't dampened enthusiasm much.

Sure there are various categories, and also mini-marathons.  These are valuable
gradations and improve participation.  We already have this in contesting:

IARU is 24 hours
WPX is 36 of 48
Sprints are 4 hours
NAQP is 10 hours, etc.

We should NOT water down the SOAB category to make it less than 48 hours.
Let's keep the marathon a marathon out of respect for those who still
wish to "go all the way", and have the personal character to accept when we can't
or don't want to compete any longer at that level.  Let's NOT impose our personal needs
or selfish desires in an attempt to harm those who wish to make a GREATER EFFORT
than others who are unable or unwilling to do so.

Rather, if the demand is there, establish a seniors category for SO
with UNLIMITED TIME OF OPERATION.  That will level things a bit more.

Bottom line:  If you want REALLY want to compete (in any category), 
then be willing to make the effort, or be willing to accept the results.

Bob KQ2M

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list