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

Andrew Faber andrew.faber at gte.net
Wed Feb 21 14:52:48 EST 2007

I have to agree with Bob's post.  I came late to serious contesting, just 
starting 5 years ago at age 56, and have operated, for example, ARRL DX CW, 
for the last 5 years as a single op.  I'm not at all sure that the endurance 
and concentration needed to win such a contest as much to do with age.

I find it fascinating (though not easy) to attempt a serious effort in a 
48-hour contest.  What seems to work best for me as a compromise on 
operating time is to be in the chair for about 44 hours.  But the compromise 
could be different for each operator.  You really do learn a lot about 
yourself in making such an effort.

And, as Bob says, there are lots of contests for shorter periods.  I'm 
always worn out after a 4-hour Sprint (though there of course isn't the need 
to recover for a few days as you may have after a longer contest). Thank 
goodness the other contests don't quite have Sprint's frenetic nature.

Nobody has to try to win a 48-hour contest, just like no one has to try to 
run a marathon, but it's really challenging (and potentially highly 
satisfying) to try.  I vote to continue the current diversity among 

73, Andy, AE6Y, P49Y

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert L. Shohet" <kq2m at earthlink.net>
To: <cq-contest at contesting.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 7:11 AM
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Going all the way....

> 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 
> 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 
> 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.
> 73
> Bob KQ2M
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