Life Priorities Over Contesting

The best laid plans…isn’t there a say about that? Heading into Friday I was thrilled to have Saturday off to participate in the first big contest of 2012, the ARRL RTTY Round up. I had hoped to put in a full 24 hour effort, unfortunately I was not able to get Sunday off from work, so my 24 hour effort was suddenly cut in half and the contest was still a day away.

The one thing nice about contesting in the world of amateur radio is, if you miss one this weekend, there is one next weekend. Sure, it might not be the same mode and RTTY is a favorite mode of mine considering all the hardware issues I have recently had, coupled with the fact the insurance claim took most of 2011 away from me and I would have felt too guilty to spend time in a contest when I had remodeling to finish.

While radio is a hobby of mine, family and friends take priority. That was the reason I spent only 46 minutes at the start of the RTTY contest participating. All but about 5 minutes was spent on 10M before moving to 15M right before I shut the radio off and hung out with a friend in need for the day. Thankfully it was wild card weekend in the NFL and we sat around drinking beer, eating pizza (or potato leek soup in my case) watching football, with a spattering of discussion over his situation.

Not sure if our time together was beneficial to him or not, I hope it was. I know there have been times in my life where I needed a friend and thankfully my buddy went above and beyond to spend time with me and discuss my situation, for that I was very thankful to know I have friends like that in my life. Sometimes just being there for others allows you to escape the current situation and just have a bit of a break from life before you must think about situation at hand. Maybe a Saturday together with pizza, beer and football was a well needed break for him.

Contesting seems to be very tough for me with a 6 year old son, my wife’s work schedule and the fact that I don’t have weekend off, when most all of the contests run. I do wish I would have been more involved in contesting when I was first licensed (1995) or even earlier when I didn’t have so many responsibilities to fulfill. While it’s not a problem, you don’t look at what you missed out on, but what is coming up. Thankfully that is a long list that runs the rest of 2012 and every subsequent year.

With any luck my schedule and priorities will allow me to participate in the winter sessions of the North American QSO Party. The CW contest is January 14, while the SSB contest is a week later on January 21. Just like last year I was not able to participate in either contest, but only have 2010 numbers to go off. With any luck I will be able to put in a full effort for both contests, but we will see what happens.

I guess this one of those instances, where you cherish the family and friends you have, forgo contesting and be thankfully for the people around you. Sometimes it might seem difficult to set aside but contesting won’t go away. The last thing you want in your life is for family and friends to do the same.

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