[CQ-Contest] Improving Concentration

Rick - K6VVA dx35 at hilding.com
Sat Jan 6 00:33:04 EST 2007

A couple of more items for Pete's Master List.

Dale, KG5U, mentioned:

 > Comfort is a big deal to me, Pete.
 > If I'm not comfortable, I'm cannot focus.
 > I have a fan running at slow speed in the far corner of the room to
 > augment air circulation so my little world doesn't get stuffy...

IMHO, "comfort" is mega-Important.  I start to gag if I'm in a warm to hot 
stuffy room (one reasons I had difficulty concentrating in similar 
condition classrooms in school), and also have a fan on to circulate 
air.  For Field Day, etc., I have a very small battery operated fan to blow 
air on my face.

In my first year of college, one professor told us that various studies 
indicated that the optimum room temperature for "mental activity" was in 
the low 40 degree range (if I remember correctly).  I would agree.  When it 
came time to take our final exams at the end of the semester (December or 
January), before handing out the tests (as he headed toward the windows), 
the professor said: "Remember what I told you at the beginning of semester 
about the optimum temperature for mental activity?"  Most folks groaned and 
moaned, 'cuz they knew what was coming next.  Yes, it was in the low 40's 
outside, and he opened all the windows.  I loved it.   IMHO, operating 
environment temperature can be a really important factor.

I forgot to mention one thing I've found extremely helpful is to 
periodically put cold water on my face at least every 4 hours, 
especially  during a 24 hour contest.  Fortunately I have running water 
within a few feet of the rig, but a person could keep a bowl of water with 
ice in it on the floor next to the operating chair along with a 
washcloth.  In the late night/wee morning hours, the cold water on the face 
routine also wakes me up, and...get back to concentrating better.  I get 
real miserable if I don't do this, and it definitely affects my ability to 

Shoes are also ditched during contests, and I wear what resemble flip-flops 
but are more of a sandal (so there is no widget between the toes to allow 
for socks if desired in cold weather).  Going without socks in these is so 
much more comfortable during warm weather, but a person could also use a 
small space heater to keep their feet warm if desired.

IMHO, clothing is a major factor in comfort.  Not that anyone would wear a 
Polyester Leisure Suit during a Contest, but especially if it's warm or 
hot,  I recommend wearing cotton vs. any Polyester or hybrid blends...it is 
much cooler.  Loose fitting items also contributedto the comfort factor.  I 
prefer a tank top and shorts, but in the winter sometimes dress a bit 
warmer.  I haven't tried operating buck-naked yet, but maybe sometime if 
the A/C breaks and it's over 100 degrees :-)  If you ever hear K6VVA/N, you 
can visualize what's on the other end - ha ha ha.

I've always had problems sitting for lengthy periods, so try to 
periodically stand-up and stretch during times of unanswered Auto-CQing.  A 
comfortable chair is a MUST.  I use a swivel chair, but also add extra 
cushions for more butt-padding.  This has helped tremendously!!!  I've been 
doing Tendonitis Hand-Therapy exercise during some Auto-CQ 
periods.  Similar hand exercises could be preventative in nature for those 
who haven't yet experienced this affliction.

Umh, I never thought of this before, but you could set an alarm clock to 
periodically remind you to stretch, put cold water on your face, etc. (as 
long as that wouldn't create any type of "Assisted" operating problem :-)

FYI & 73...

Rick, K6VVA

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