Around the middle of September, I issued myself a challenge to have at least one QSO a day for a month. I’m not normally one for quitting things early, but I felt that it was time. The challenge had become a chore and had begun to impinge on the people around me. Hobbies should remain hobbies, not an additional task to complete during the day.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad that I operated for as many days in a row as I did. I learned a great deal about my rig, the capabilities of QRP, the vagaries of propagation, and the challenges of operating in less than ideal conditions. I also met a lot of new operators who I hope to work again. I’m certain that my head copy skills improved as well.
However, it was hard to give the people I was working a real conversation if they wanted one during the last week of the challenge. In the early days of the challenge, I began to feel a camaraderie between operators who make a QSO, especially one that is low power and that uses Morse code. This camaraderie began to diminish the longer the challenge went on. I felt that was a real loss for both of us and for ham radio in general.
Moreover, my wife and I had company coming over the evening of day twenty-eight. I didn’t want to rush through a QSO in which we only exchanged the bare minimum of information yet again. The twenty-ninth day would have been equally challenging as I had a cross country team to take to a meet. Therefore on day twenty-seven, I decided to end my run for thirty days.
Even though I ended it early, I enjoyed the majority of my challenge. The trial sharpened my skills both in terms of knowing the code and being a better operator in general. Some of the people I met along the way might become lifetime radio friends. I wholeheartedly recommend that anyone try it. Perhaps when the day comes when I have more free time, I will also have more ability to ragchew so I’ll attempt the challenge again.