Fuel Your Desire

While my outlook and opinion on food has changed, thanks in part to Dr. McDougall, it has not been an easy journey convincing people to “think different” when it comes to what they eat. I swear by a plant-based, whole food diet thanks to the changes I have seen and experienced in just over 6 months. I feel better than I ever have and looking at myself in the mirror I am more and more pleased everyday knowing the decision I made was the right one. Can you fuel your desire by eating differently?

Now I am working on an idea to share this way of eating with a group of people who are very competitive in the hobby of amateur radio contesting or radiosport. Not sure it will be all that successful, but why would you sacrifice that edge by filling yourself with crappy food over the course of a 48 hour contest?

It comes as no real surprise that many amateur radio operators (or hams) are not the healthiest bunch; struggling with weight, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes. Generalizing the group, many are older, some not in the best of health. So it would only stand to reason that else individuals who make a 36 or 48 hour commitment in a radio contest using the best equipment and sometimes the best antennas would compromise themselves when it comes to what they eat during the contest.

As a youth I can remember my the smell of coffee, donuts, candy and many other sugary snacks that were in my dad’s ham shack during a contest weekend. These days, not much as changed as hams turn to that quick energy to get them through a challenging period. What if they had the opportunity to eat better and not suffer coming down from a sugar or caffeine high?

The food would have to be something that allowed operators to feel satiated, but also something quick that doesn’t require much time to eat. It would need to be food that could be pre-made and  warmed up within minutes. There must be better food to fuel the body when you are dedicated to a long contest. Then again, maybe it’s somewhat of a pipe dream, being able to share my food ideas in this hobby. Maybe it’s not worth the effort, but the logic makes sense. Fuel your body with good, healthy food and you should be able to excel in your endeavors.

Radiosport…Coming Soon!

With the kick off of European football (soccer for Americans) as well as the NFL, here in the states I have not really paid too much attention to my love of radio. We are in the twilight of the summer months with the NAQP contests now behind us and nowhere near as successful (for me anyway) as the winter contests were. Guess that was to be expected.

September starts the contest (aka radiosport) season, but prior to that I will be operating as K6B to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Northern California Contest Club. This will run for the 2 weeks, September 18 to October 1, prior to the start of the California QSO Party, which I am looking forward too. I was hoping to be mobile from 27 counties this year, but I continue to struggle with tuning issues with my ATAS-120A. I still have not narrowed down the problem.

If I had gone mobile, I would have kept the K6B call sign for the CQP event, but as it stands now I will play a full effort from my QTH as W6ONV. The only work I have prior to the start of the contest season is to purchase and install a new 30′ mast in the backyard. I was hoping for a Rohn H50, but I am not paying the absurd price for shipping. The Channelmaster I am looking it has free shipping to my local Ace Hardware. How can you beat that deal?

The only other item on my list is to add some more longer radials to the SteppIR BigIR (w/80M coil). I have been very unhappy with the performance of this antenna. I have made it known on the SteppIR Yahoo Group as well, but I don’t fault SteppIR or their quality product. I believe the installation and the “short” radials are to blame.

The first big contest to kick things off for me will be CQ WW RTTY Contest starting September 25. In this same contest last year I scored I score 47,762 in 14 hours with 173 QSOs. It was not a serious effort, but I will look at operating all 24 hours in this contest. I will set up some goals as we get closer to the actual contest.

Element #3 Passed!

“Radio contesting, or “radiosport” as it is known in some parts of the world, offers an opportunity to demonstrate skills in station building, operating tactics, physical endurance and strategy. Although strongly contested by thousands of enthusiasts and casual participants, typical prizes are just plaques, certificates, published score listings and the occasional bottle of wine. We do it more for the excitement of participation and the admiration of our peers than for any more tangible reward .” (excerpt from Rick Tavan N6XI Blogspot)

I only bring this up because this is another “sport” like gaming that is highly competitive! I took another step in that direct yesterday by passing what the ARRL calls Element 3, this radio exam (as of February 23) will give me more high frequency (or HF) privileges in the world of radio. This is a big step considering I studied for some 6-8 months last year in order to prep for the Morse code (or CW) element and was never able to get the ear to pass a 5-WPM exam.

I also visited N6RO, another “ham operator” who lives about 2 miles from me. It was recommended by a friend of my father, who is also an old time ham to go meet this guy in person. Funny thing is, I had driven by his house on numerous occasions because its the only house around that has four, 100′ towers rising from it, set on 5 acres. But this ham shack was amazing! Usually a ham shack can be a single radio, but this was a plethora of radios, all networked with PCs and thousands of feet of wire running every direction.

He gave me some good information, considering I am just a rookie and have much to learn, but there is no timetable on any of this stuff, as you are always learning. I was given a few frequencies to tune into as well as a few new websites, NoCal Contesting Club and Contesting.com.

So with any luck, I will be able to incorporate my radio hobby into my current computer setup that already features 3 computers and our monitors to go along with all sorts of added hardware for shoutcasting and videocasting.