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Sunday, 9 January 2011

Unchallenged 2011

In amateur radio we all need challenges from time to time to keep thing fresh. That was one reason for my CQHQ challenge, which has resulted in a steady stream of emails vowing to have a go at doing a few things not normally routinely attempted. The idea was to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while and at the very least prove to yourselves you really do hate contests, SSB, FM or whatever. The hope is you will actually find these things more fun than you expected. I suggested picking 10 items from my list, but it is all really about personal challenges.

Now having proposed a series of personal challenges I should not knock someone elses challenge, but I laughed my socks off when I heard of Keith Maton G6NHU and his "ambitious challenge" to have a QSO every day for a year. To me a more difficult challenge would be to stay off the air for more than 24 hours. A more serious challenge for me would be to have a minimum of 25 QSOs a day.

I picked this gem up from Amateur Radio Newsline for January 7 2011 who had managed to cock up Keith callsign in their previous issue. I was surprised to find I missed it the first time around. So off I go to Keith's blog to suss out the details not quite expecting to spray coffee all over my monitor when I read this... The caveat to this is that if I’m away from home (holiday, working away, etc) then I won’t be able to have a QSO on those days – It’s difficult to have any contacts when one isn’t near a wireless! Talk about setting yourself up to fail. Personally I am never more than a few feet from a radio transceiver for very long wherever I am. I would never go on holiday if I could not take a radio, what would I do. If I am in work the radio is in the car for at least the trip to and from work.

While I wish Keith every success in his venture I do find it a little underwhelming, a bit like telling someone you intend to get fit by leaving the remote control on top of the TV. Still whatever works for you! By the way who on earth still uses the word "wireless" other than when talking about Internet connections?


  1. Hi Steve, one QSO a day keep the doctor away... my internet connection is still not yet wireless. ;-) 73 Paul

  2. Steve, I am not sure I agree.

    What is a challenge for me, may not be for someone else as we all have different starting points. I couldn’t do a marathon, but Paula Radcliffe can do one in her sleep! If Keith has been inactive for a period and/or has a busy life then one QSO a day may be a real stretch so good on him for trying to be more radio active. Lets be thankful someone is making an effort to get on the air, this is very much in the spirit of your "try something new" list.

  3. I think you are being a little mean to Keith. :-) Some of us are not so lucky to have as much time for radio as we wish we had. I do agree one must try and make an effort though. I have a young family and demanding work, so often my radio time is limited. I don't drive to work, however, I am able to run a remote station, so there are times when I have some free time I can operate the remote station.
    Generally I am lucky if I am able to get at least one QSO in on a day in the week.
    I can tell you something really awful, my first QSO this year was 70cms FM via a repeater, yesterday! And I am an HF station! Sad I know, but not from a lack of trying, just been a bad stretch.

  4. Yes, I agree I am being a bit mean and I am sort of sorry, but the serious nature in which this was covered by Newsline just gave me a fit of the giggles.

    If we could get everyone to follow Keith's lead it would really make a difference to the hobby, so kudos to him.

    There is no shame in using 70cms (even through a repeater) what we need is more activity on all bands and the higher we go in frequency the more important it is that we use those bands. The use it or loose it thing applies more and more as the mobile phone/Internet/WiFi guys try to grab more and more bandwidth.

  5. I've just found this and would like to say that it is a valid challenge for me - I leave home at half six every day and don't get home until at least twelve hours later so that doesn't leave me much time to play wireless during the week. Twice a week I get home from work, grab a bit to eat and am then back out again so my operating time during the week really is limited.

    I do have a radio in the car but I really don't want to include mobile or repeater QSOs in my QSO365 project, I'd rather they were all done at home.

    I agree though, Steve - The article on Newsline did make it seem very serious. Far more than it's intended to be.

    Keith, G6NHU

  6. Hi Steve,

    I know personally getting on the air isn't easy every day and I work from home, sometimes the radios on in the background but I honestly cannot give it much attention.

    What you have to remember is peoples life styles are different and the amount of time they can dedicate to the hobby, 1 QSO a day could really push them and their station which isn't always all singing and dancing beams and high power!

    I love your comment "I would never go on holiday if I could not take a radio" If a lot of hams did this they wouldn't be married for long along if at all!

    I'll keep operating when I can find some free time in-till then I've a business to run.

    73 Peter, 2E0SQL

  7. Keith, G6NHU thanks for taking the time to reply to my post and being so nice about it.

    I have often been made to think I don't try hard enough when I hear of DX and contest stations working 100 plus station a minute. I know when I try it is hard enough to work 50 stations a minute, but one has to wonder how those stations would fair if they had to have a real conversation or two.

    I do think that we get more out of the hobby the more we put in and these little personal challenges are a good step in the right direction. Personally I would like to see more hams getting out of their comfort zone and trying something different. I feel there are too many listeners with licences to transmit, for a start.

    Please let me know if you are involved with anything that might need a plug and thanks for being a good sport about it.

    73 Steve GW7AAV

  8. Peter, 2E0SQL if we were all the same it would be a boring world wouldn't it.

    I work 12 hour shifts, but during the hours I am away from work I have radios monitoring at least three bands mobile and up to ten bands at home 16 hours out of 24.

    My station which isn't all singing and dancing beams and high power! Most of it is twenty years old and home brew antennas.

    I understand that having a business to run is a full time commitment. I am not well off but I am fortunate enough, as I have zero interest in money, to make enough not to have to worry about it. I realise that some people have to worry about money and spend the time I spend having fun trying to earn it. I feel sorry for those people, but I don't have any sympathy for those obsessed with cash. We get one go at this game and the winner is not the one with the most money in the bank when they die. I may just however be slightly obsessed with radio and maybe I can't quite understand why everyone else is not quite as obsessed.

    73 Steve GW7AAV