First, some of the reasons I like Ham radio (including last contest)
This contest was by far my favorite I’ve ever gotten to take part in. Sure, my grandpa wasn’t here or able to come up to our house to watch or help, but he was calling dad the whole time. I’ve seen my grandpa when he watched me call the first time; he started to cry he was so happy. If my grandma was alive to see this, or my great grandma, I’m sure they’d do the same. There is and always be a slight pressure for me to continue ham radio but only because I’m the 4th generation. Plus, I enjoy that pressure. To know that I’m continuing something my dad’s whole side of the family worked on, its a great feeling that I can’t begin to explain.
Dad doesn’t think we will win the contest in our division and that’s ok. It won’t be the first and it won’t be the last. However, I was the one who got most of the contacts on 40m and 80m (to his extreme surprise that I could actually find people since we had such low power and a short tower, new slope-wire and a short vertical antenna.)
There was one time I remember looking over at him and he was just sitting there staring at me with a huge smile on his face. I asked him ‘what’ and he simply said ‘nothing’ smiling even bigger.
My favorite moment of this tournament was the final hour. I had been taking a break since he had taken over. He came into the room I was watching TV with mom in and said, “I think we’re done…” i didn’t bother to look at the time. I asked, “Did we reach 80k points?” he shook his head telling me no and that we were 6k short. I immediately got back up and ran into the room and onto the radio. He had been on 40m looking since it was loud there. I instead jumped to 15m and listened there, knowing we only had 24 contacts there. 1 by one, I found people that were new multipliers for us but they couldn’t hear me. I could remember shouting on the mic but nothing. I had even found someone from Saint Helena Island (off of Africa) which dad said only 2 hams lived there. We couldn’t get him but he was loud and clear.
With literally 25 minutes left, I found the remaining contacts we needed, all different grids and multipliers. Dad looked at me like I pulled a miracle for simply following through on my goal. I told him 80k points for Sunday, and he tried to quit at 74k… We finished the contact with 81k+.
Now some of the downfalls that make me not want to continue ham radio….
Granted, we know some of the contacts will get pulled because people were in such a rush to get hourly contacts that they;d get my dads long call wrong and that is frustrating like no other. Is it soooooo hard to simply say QSL to us when they hear our state or call? I don’t think so. Especially not if you’re just calling CQ!
Then there’s the other thing… the thing that really hits nerves. I was sitting on 80m with the headphones on so that dad could read his ARRL magazine. Most of the time all i heard was some older people having random conversations about their lives or ham radio. There were the states that were calling CQ that I couldn’t contact since thats the contest this past time…
But then there was this guy… I had tuned in at the right moment to hear him saying “No buddy, you fucked up, I got your fucking call now.” I remember it almost word for word. The other guy wasn’t tuned enough to make out everything but mostly I was hearing him laugh at the man swearing. He threatened the man saying he was going to get his address and send him stuff (not saying what the stuff was). He also began to play taunting music OVER THE RADIO. There was more swearing and taunting and yelling back and forth. It made me want to put the mic/headphones down and not go near the radio the rest of the contest. I was under the blind assumption that hams were these nice welcoming people. That they like to talk to new people and make friends like a global network… they proved that wrong. I don’t know the calls of either man. But it made me afraid to even talk to the man who was on 16 because they were on 14, just 2 down, and I was afraid he would get my dads call and harass me or send something to our house….
Maybe there is some good that comes out of this. I’m a CJ (Criminal justice) major with a minor in Pre-Law. I’m also a certified Polygrapher (someone who works with lie-detectors) and part of the American Association for Polygraph. All of this fuels my want to get these people off the air. Maybe instead of working for Homeland Security, I’ll go and work for the FCC….