Cycle 24 sunspot production is tantalizing but it takes activity to move an event from contender into established franchise winner. The Russian DX Contest (RDXC) point structure does a good job promoting international activity however until the solar flux reaches triple digits, this event is one for the east coast.
Certainly, when one looks west of the Mississippi, population density drops significantly and its influence is felt on the reach of potential participants and enthusiasts. Frankly, I’m competing against a wall signals whose advantage is a single hop into Europe, albeit modest stations with sub optimal antenna systems or competitive stations with optimal antenna systems.
East coast advantage is a RadioSport constant that is nearly fixed across a continuum of time. It validates one of three variables when considering a goal within the game. The other two are antenna systems and station configuration.
One must weight location in relationship to score structure. Location is a RadioSport reality and options exist when considering the next competitive level.
Ed, N4EMG made a good point, one’s rate in the game will influence whether or not it is worth spending time in that game. I listened across three bands; 10m, 15m, and 20m through Saturday morning into late afternoon while calling CQ on the same spaces. My flatline rate meter, for one who has an iron butt in the chair, perhaps was indicative of activity west of the Mississippi?
Likewise, Keith, W4KAZ pointed out that station configuration follows one’s motivation and it is not unlike other competitive sports. One competes for different reasons however moving to the next level requires serious commitment both in time and resources. It is important to determine strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) when mapping out the next level of the game.
What did I gain from this weekend?
- Adjusted AF and RF gain controls to match headphone impedance according to K3NA’s Setting Receiver Gain Controls.
- Added four 10m quarter wavelength radials.
- Reduced listening fatigue because of improperly set gain controls.
- Contributed to the success of other competitors.
- Scored Brazil on 10m.
My goals were modest however my expectation overshot the reality of the game. I achieved at least one -Q although I’m curious if band conditions were not as stable as Cycle 24 numbers suggested? I heard Asia on 20m and 15m; South America on 10m; and, North America.
Ric, N6RNO suggested mapping goals. I drifted a few degrees from this advice although re-visiting RDXC was five hours of additional experience which meets a long-term goal. Rate, on the other hand, does determine commitment in the chair or time spent in the game while motivation to improve is an on-going, component-by-component, process.
I have to venture something to gain something at the end of the day.