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is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Sleep is for the weak

I have for well over thirty years worked shifts mostly 12 hours. When I was a child I was always more awake in the early hours of the morning than during the day, but I could when I needed sleep on a clothes line. As I get older it get harder and harder for me to sleep during the day when I am working nights. It leads to me getting more and more crotchety and stressed out. I end every batch of shifts feeling seriously jet lagged. Talk to me after a bad set of nights and you will realise that my mouth and brain appear disconnected, often I cannot remember the names of even my best friends with whom I converse with every day. I get so bad sometimes I worry that one day it will be permanent.

There have been advantages to being used to working nights over the years, such as staying up all night working sporadic e on 2 metres SSB, or DXing on HF. I have also been called on to run the night shift on special events stations and during RAYNET call-outs, both of which I have enjoyed.

I was on the night shift last night and it was the first of four shifts. I got in this morning around 7am and while I had a last coffee I got involved with answering my emails. Before I knew it, it was 9am and I literally dragged myself upstairs and fell into bed. Around 1pm I was roused by a call of nature and found I had the feeling my tongue was welded firmly to the roof of my mouth. I needed a drink and went downstairs for a drink. While the kettle was boiling I went in to the shack and turned on the radio. The Icom 706 was on 7.116 mHz and I tuned down to hear Hans DL/PA3FYG/P on DM/RP-412 Höhe Haardter Hochwald a summit that had never been activated for SOTA before. Lucky strike one! I went to make my coffee.

Coffee was supplemented with some beef sandwiches and as I sat down to eat them the Kenwood TS-140s I use for 5 mHz sprang in to life with a call from Martyn MW1MAJ/P on GW/NW-017 Y Llethr. Lucky strike two. Before I could finish my lunch I had a call from my wife on the local 70cms repeater. She had been to a meeting and was returning to work. It took me totally by surprise that she called me as she knew I should still be snoring away in bed. It seems Helen knows me better than I know myself. By the time I had finished talking to Helen it was nearly 3pm and I went back to bed again.

It was 5pm when I woke and got ready to head out to work and I was just extracting a fresh tee-shirt from the washing pile when I heard Martyn MW1MAJ/P calling on 5.3985 mHz. This time he was on GW/NW-041 Moelfre and I was able to spot him on SOTAwatch. Lucky strike three.
So I lost a bit of sleep but got three nice SOTA contacts in the log - Result.

Before I left for work my eldest son arrived and told me his offer on a house had been accepted. Lucky strike four. I arrived at work tonight with a bit of a spring in my step and it must have been noticed as one of my workmates commented that I must have had a good sleep. Now what will we do with all that space when James moves out?


  1. According to an article on BBC News today, getting less than 8 hours sleep a night increases the chances of death by 25%. It's probably only a matter of time before someone finds a link between disturbed sleep patterns and Alzheimer's. So one day soon you shift workers will be able to sue your employers for industrial injury damages.

  2. I am pretty sure you are right, Frank, Fred, Bill, err! Sorry Julian ;0)