Contesting. For the life of me, I just don’t get it. I’m trying my best to be open minded here but I honestly don’t see the same glitter everyone else sees.
I can understand and appreciate the value of learning the strategies and acquiring the skills that are apparently needed to be successful at contesting – especially as it would apply to emergency communications, but beyond that, what is there?
What personal satisfaction does a contester achieve in being able to tell all who are interested that he/she made a successful, less than 1 minute contact with another ham at QTH whatever?
“I was contesting this weekend.”
“Oh yeah? How’d it go?”
“It was great. I finally got that contact I needed from the Outer Hebrides!”
“That’s fantastic! I know you wanted it for aeons… What was their name?”
“I don’t know. I have to look up their callsign on the internet.”
“What gear were they using?”
“Well, you know contesting… I couldn’t ask.”
“I know you normally contest with your QRP rig… Did you use that this time?”
“Yep. QRP is awesome. Its amazing what you can do with it.”
“How clear was your signal to them?”
“I have no real idea. You know contesting. Everything is 599.”
“So how do you know if you need to tweak your system or not?”
“I don’t. There is no real way to tell.”
“Was the ham friendly? What kind of things interest them? What was their weather like? Do they have a difficult time getting hold of ham gear? What kind of antenna were they using? How long have they been in amateur radio? What license do they hold? What do they think of the proposals to change their band allocation? Are they retired? What kind of work do they or did they do? Have they ever taken any college courses in radio engineering? Are they married? Does he or she have any kids? Are the kids involved in amateur radio? Does he or she belong to a local ham club? Do they participate in any emcomm program? Are they in the RSGB? Does he/she travel much in Europe? Do they ever take their rig with them when they go on holiday? Have they always lived in the Hebrides…”
“Wait. Hold on. Slow down. You know I was contesting. How was I supposed to find out all the interesting stuff? You know contesting is just call signs and 599…”
Yeah. Contesting is such a great way to make new friends and learn a bit about our world…”