What If?

12 Mar

This post is intended to expand on an idea and develop some dialog towards renewing Amateur Radio. It also is intended to continue some interesting thoughts that were presented by Leo earlier this morning on his “Brasspounder’s Cafe” website. We have to stop meeting like this Leo!

The aforementioned post is a reflection of how one Ham, Leo JJ8KGZ, views Ham Radio and why it continues to be a rich experience for him. It also talks about a typical Ham Experience that ends up with meeting goals (in this case DXCC) and in the end finding no more enriching experiences- at least ones worth exploring and he quits Radio. It is a sad repetition of a story we all have witnessed.

The sense that it has all been done before, and in a lot of cases, done faster, better and cheaper if that analogy fits the experience. Contest are won by big iron. That game gets a bit stale and large contest clubs find motivation is a real challenge. DXCC is a paper equivalent of a non renewable resource. DX Clubs have trouble with interest and motivation when all the members or a large percentage of them are older and at the top of their DXCC totals with little incentive to get excited or interested. Local clubs concentrating on EMCOM find themselves whiling away the meetings and hours waiting for that NEXT BIG STORM.

Any of this sound familiar? It does to me. I watch it happen here locally with zero interest in contests, small DX Club meetings and high dropout rates for local clubs when something more exciting comes along. There always seems to be a single root cause. In my humble opinion it is centered around  “When Learning Stops, Challenges Dry Up and Interest Wanes”.

In my case I keep myself motivated by the challenge of minimal antennas, changing propagation and a constant battle to tame my physical and mental handicaps by improving my Morse skills. That model isn’t for everyone.

But “What If”? The learning didn’t have to  stop. What if you got a more level playing field in a contest by competing with home brew gear- at least a chunk of it? Your own home brew gear. What if the ARRL DXCC was enhanced to new heights by completing it with some form of hand made equipment-at least a part of it is home made? I am not sure how that would be administered. This conversation is just spit balling to see if the idea has any merit. However some form of learning should be involved to gain self satisfaction and or recognition.

Creating change is a good thing. It refreshes tired truths and opens new vistas. It reinvigorates old frameworks and rules. It keeps us all fresh. I never want to feel so comfortable in my knowledge of things that I want to relax and hit that comfortable spot so I can cruise along with no work or incentives. If I wanted to do that I would be a stamp collector or participate in DXCC. Life is too short to stop learning and doing. The doing tests the learning and vice versa. We need our hobbies to continue that challenge lest they become stale and irrelevant.

I wonder if I can do DXCC with a home made CW rig? A home made wire antenna? I always learn something new when I experiment… lets see where is that soldering iron…..

In case you can’t  tell; I love E&M. I love the fact that it can carry my voice to a faraway place. I love the fact that it gets into everything when you don’t want it get there. I love the problems it creates unintentionally. That causes me grief and that enables learning. When was the last time you had a stray capacitance problem?

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W7MAP/5

1 Comment

Posted by on March 12, 2009 in Radio


One response to “What If?

  1. Leo

    March 12, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Hi, Chas

    Thanks for your offer to have a meeting:-).

    I think the name of this hobby “ham radio” harmonizes various values and amusement of each individuals with any forms. I have seen some people pull dwon their Yagi antennas from the towers and say “I’ve had enough” or “I feel refreshed”. They will never come back to knock at the doors of this hobby. On the other hand, I have a good friend Masa, JA4MRL who achieved his DXCC honor roll and then changed his main purpose of his radio activity. He was bitten by QRP and learning CW. He has a giant station in his hometown but he had to move to another town due to his business. He is very active from his current house where he installed only one tiny vertical, R-7.

    Shin, JA1NUT is also the same. He used to be a DXCC chaser but has enjoyed ragchewing with CW for over 40 years and sends his strong signal into north America almost EVERYDAY. I don’t know anyone who is active like him.

    It may depend on the degree of ardor of individuals but there is no balance to scale. We can’t count on “enthsusiasm” because it is also soon hot soon cold.

    I can say that the people who keep their activity for much longer than the others may depend on unexpected ways.

    In my case, “pounding brass” is the most refreshing thing for me even if I have no QSO. I feel well when I hear the note of CW from my rigs. It’s like my favorite tunes.

    I agree your idea, Chus.
    Changing things and making new challengings are good idea. DXCC with homebrewed rigs or antennas will be great if ARRL makes the category.

    If there are no awards like them, I think it’s easy to use your initiative to make a new challenge and step out for it.


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