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eHam Forums => Contesting => Topic started by: AF5C on November 24, 2012, 08:11:31 PM



Title: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: AF5C on November 24, 2012, 08:11:31 PM
I have been licensed since 1980 and active in contests for almost as long.  My first contest was the 1981 November Sweepstakes as a novice, and my first serious effort was the 1981 Ten Meter Contest.  However, on reflecting on recent events this afternoon, it became apparent that trying to fit contesting in with the rest of my life is becoming too stressful.  I hate to say that but I have my hands full with raising a family (only 1 kid), a job, trying to stay in shape, and watch football.   I have decided to take a break and maybe log only 2 or 3 contests a year, like the 10m contest, the IARU contest, and the Illinois QSO party.

Has anyone else had to make this decision?  Was it tough at first? Do you regret the time you missed?

John AF5CC
A stressed out parent/ham/DXer


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: N4NYY on November 25, 2012, 05:52:06 AM
I do about 2-3 per year. Because of my power and antenna, I do search and pounce, which in itself is fun and challenging. I just try to out-do myself from the previous year.

The one contest I did that I will never do again, is the sweeps. I could not believe the exchange on that. It just was not any fun. The exchange should be lowered to 3 fields. Otherwise, world wide SSB or QSO parties are what I do. And it is actually calming, and not stressful, because there really is no pressure.



Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: KB3LIX on November 25, 2012, 08:55:06 AM
In a word....NO
I work most contests, every weekend if there is decent one running.

No kids, No job (retired), piss-poor antennas with 100 watts
and I still participate. De woman works wednesday
thru sunday (afternoons) so it leaves me LOTS of time alone
to play contesting.
Even do quite well sometimes.

I am working the CQ WW CW this weekend, and there is LOTS
of activity.

I have a binder full of certificates from regional,
national and international slugfests.

So, No, I am not planning on quitting anytime soon unless
something happens that I cannot sit in the chair.


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: AF5C on November 25, 2012, 10:12:57 AM
I would continue to contest much more if my life allowed it as well.  RIght now it just doesn't seem to be.  It is stressful enough without the additional stress of trying to fit a contest into it.  I just run 100 watts to a dipole as well.  Did use the cluster to find and work EL2A a few moments ago for a new 10m country.  That is probably how I will make contest QSOs for the next few years-just get new band or mode countries.  Not even send in a log. 

In 9 years or so my daughter will be off to college. Things should really settle down then (I sure hope, at least).

John AF5CC


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: NN4RH on November 25, 2012, 12:43:55 PM
If I have time I'll spend a little time working contests but it's not something I plan my life around. The last contest that I made more than about a hundred contacts in was probably two years ago. Usually only a couple dozen in each major CW contest. I had a little spare time this weekend and grabbed about 30 contacts in several short sessions on 15 meters in the CQ WWCW.

It's just a pastime. Not in it even for any personal goals.



Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: KB3LIX on November 25, 2012, 02:16:27 PM
Amateur radio and contesting are my "something to do"
now that I am retired. It keeps me busy withm something to do
instead of sitting around and watching mindless television
or other waste of time.

Lots of decent DX to be had this weekend.

Score is way down versus last year.

700,000+ last year...at 426,000+ this year.
I lost several hours friday night when my
furnace died, and several hours saturday
when the "grand monsters" came over.

Fun and games !


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: AF5C on November 25, 2012, 04:34:35 PM
One common thread I see so far is that contesting seems to pick up in retirement. Is it normal to have your ham activity dip way down when raising kids?

John AF5CC


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: KU4UV on November 25, 2012, 04:40:44 PM
I have been licensed since 1980 and active in contests for almost as long.  My first contest was the 1981 November Sweepstakes as a novice, and my first serious effort was the 1981 Ten Meter Contest.  However, on reflecting on recent events this afternoon, it became apparent that trying to fit contesting in with the rest of my life is becoming too stressful.  I hate to say that but I have my hands full with raising a family (only 1 kid), a job, trying to stay in shape, and watch football.   I have decided to take a break and maybe log only 2 or 3 contests a year, like the 10m contest, the IARU contest, and the Illinois QSO party.

Has anyone else had to make this decision?  Was it tough at first? Do you regret the time you missed?

John AF5CC
A stressed out parent/ham/DXer




We all need to remember that this is just a hobby.  Yes, we have an obligation to help out in an emergency when called upon, but this is still just a hobby.  I got my license 20 years ago shortly before I turned 18.  I would love to do more in the hobby, but I have a lot of other things going on and a life outside of amateur radio.  If I never win any contests or make DXCC Honor Roll, I think I'll still live and be just fine.

73,
KU4UV


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: K9NW on November 26, 2012, 08:17:32 AM
The only break I take is the time between the last contest and the next one!   :)

I try not to miss any of the major (DX contest) events and, indeed, I often schedule my time and vacations with them in mind.  But I'm able to do that.  Over time, though, I've come to realize that it's ok to miss one here or there.  Life still goes on just fine.  Just don't want to miss too many of 'em!


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: N2RJ on November 26, 2012, 09:34:02 AM
I try to work CQWW and ARRL DX x2 (cw and fone) every year, at least put in some kind of effort.

I also try to put in a serious effort for WPX. Sometimes I put in a serious effort for IARU.

That's about it for me as far as contesting goes.


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: NQ3X on December 01, 2012, 06:24:05 AM
The only times I've taken a break from contesting since I got interested in contesting have been when I was taking a break from ham radio entirely.  ;D 

I piddle around in a contest pretty much every weekend.  For example, I made 20 or so Qs in the TARA RTTY test this AM.  I save my "serious" efforts for CQWW, ARRL DX and CQWPX contests.  I will try to hit the NAQPs from here (KP2) as well as IARU.  Gonna try to get up to speed on RTTY for those CQ and ARRL tests.  We'll see.

Cheers,

Bob WP2XX


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: AF5C on December 01, 2012, 08:52:52 AM
Bob, thanks for the 30m QSO and QSL.  The return card is on its way.  GL on WAS

73 John AF5CC


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: NQ3X on December 03, 2012, 01:28:23 AM
Got it, John!  Many thanks!  ;D


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: N4UM on December 03, 2012, 07:22:20 AM
Yeah, I took a break about 25 years ago and have (with a few minor exceptions) been on my "break" ever since.  It stopped being fun about 3 AM one morning during a very slow time in a CW DX contest.  I asked myself why I was doing this if I wasn't enjoying it or getting paid to do it.  I couldn't come up with an answer so I just shut the rig off and walked away for about 25 years.


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: N3QE on December 03, 2012, 09:51:01 AM
I think there's room for "non-blockbuster", "not-all-weekend" contests too. The NCCC NS Sprint on Thursday nights is a great half hour dose of contesting with some of the best ops in the business. A little longer and on a weekend, but the NA Sprints are very competitive and only 4 hours long. I haven't really explored the CWops mini-tests myself. All these events try hard to not be long slogs

There are also an increasing number of limited time participants in the big contests who try to effectively use limited time to great advantage. One way is to enhance S&P with RBN or other spots.

Some of the Euro contests this past year, I noticed, had a "6 hour" participation class. Worked out well for me in DL DX.


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: N3QE on December 03, 2012, 09:55:36 AM
One common thread I see so far is that contesting seems to pick up in retirement. Is it normal to have your ham activity dip way down when raising kids?

I was licensed as a kid (age of 10!), did the Novice roundup while still a novice, and had a lot of fun on the radio through high school but then came college, then grad school, then jobs, and I neglected radio. Now I have a family and kids and am back into radio and especially contesting.

Some of the most intense contesters I know, are younger than me. Not many but they are very notable.


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: WA8UEG on December 05, 2012, 01:04:53 PM
We all need to remember that this is just a hobby

To some it's a hobby and to some it's a passion. While we all have to have our priorities in order it's easy to put something off that's a hobby but much more difficult when it's a passion. Amateur Radio is a different breed of hobby, contesting can be a passion within the hobby and while you might be able to slow down your ham radio activity due to personal obligations you will still miss it on contest weekends. Golf is another hobby that many have a passion for. A friend of mine had to cut back his golf activities quite a bit because of family obligations and every Wednesday he mopes around all day because that's when his league played. DON'T GET ME WRONG, personal obligations trump hobbies every time I am just saying if your a casual all around ham and do not have a passion for the hobby or a certain segment of the hobby it's not as tough to walk away from as it is for those of us who have a passion for it. I understand why he posted the question as I think he has a passion for contesting and while cutting back won't be easy of course it's the right thing to do. Gotta go now and do some work on my DVK so I'll be ready for the 10 meter contest this weekend. ;D


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: AD6KA on December 10, 2012, 04:36:50 PM
Yeah, I did take a contesting hiatus a few years
ago when I returned to school for another degree.....
while still working Full Time.

I love contesting but it's hard when your
job requires you to work weekends. So when
vacation "bid requests" (times off awarded based on seniority)
are posted at the beginning of the year,
I have to balance contest weekends I want to bid
on versus the times my XYL wants me to bid on.  :o
It can get hairy, but she's a good sport about it
and knows how much enjoyment it brings me.
Of course it helps to have a job with 5 weeks a
year paid vacation. ;D
73, Ken  AD6KA


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: W7TZ on December 13, 2012, 12:16:03 PM
Looking back over the years, I've had several hobbies and some I have been quite passionate about. One thing I discovered was that the hobby will always be there in one form or another. Family, on the other hand, requires.......demands your attention. Don't miss out on weekend events with your children and family because of a hobby. It will become regrettable.

73, Roger


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: K2TTM on December 20, 2012, 11:35:04 AM
Looking back over the years, I've had several hobbies and some I have been quite passionate about. One thing I discovered was that the hobby will always be there in one form or another. Family, on the other hand, requires.......demands your attention. Don't miss out on weekend events with your children and family because of a hobby. It will become regrettable.

73, Roger

Nobody has said it better.


Title: RE: Did you ever take a break from contesting
Post by: KO4NX on January 23, 2013, 04:08:01 PM
I had been really active in contesting from my home station. My primary interest was SO2R CW and RTTY contest.  I have since decided to build my own contest grade transceiver, which has required me to take about a year off thus far, but I am nearing the end! It has been a dream of mine to complete such a construction, thus I do not mind taking a break.

In the interim I have been doing DXpeditions with a group for contest, but that has been about it.  Hopefully by the end of this winter I will have the rig fully constructed, and placed into service, as I think it would be really neat to put up a decent score with a homebuilt rig!

73

Rich, AJ3G