Sunday, April 18, 2021

Taking a Wee Break From the Shop

My trusty ICOM IC-718

This weekend I took a bit of a break from the shop to say hello to some folks that I hadn't spoken to for a little while. 

In most cases, I have never met these people in person, and they live literally hundreds if not thousands of miles away from me, and to be honest, I need to do a lookup to see what their actual names are since  I only really know them by the government issued code name that has been given to them. Likewise, they only really know me by my own special code name - which happens to be VA3ATW, and in certain circles that is the name, I go by.  

In some of my past posts, I have featured projects that had a bit of a radio theme, whether it was a receiver that scanned the skies for gliders or weather balloons or kept an ear out on the activities of my local fire department. As part of my fascination with all things radio, I managed to obtain my amateur radio license about 15 years ago and I've enjoyed the opportunity to explore the world from my desk by talking to people who were living in different parts of the world. 

So far I've talked to people from almost 200 countries. I get a bit of a charge that my voice has been heard in Antarctica as well as such places like  Kazakhstan, Greece and even the Galapagos Islands. 

Every once in a while, I take part in amateur radio contests, where the goal is to try and contact as many people in as many different places in the shortest amount of time as possible (usually within a 24 hour time window). 

It's a pretty intense experience for me that has periods of frustration (why can't they hear me?) to extreme busyness when you have multiple people trying to talk to you at once, to moments of excitement when you talk to a station in a country that you haven't contacted before.

While it's rather exciting for me, I do know that I do come across looking like a bit of a lunatic to others in the house since excitement to me appears to others like I'm sitting in the corner for many hours at a time shouting strange cryptic words to a little glowing black box.

I know sometimes I wonder if I am a bit crazy to spend a weekend in this matter, and just before a contest, I start telling myself that I could be spending that time on something more constructive. 

Eventually, I end up promising myself that I would only spend a couple of hours on the radio. But once I put the headset on and make that first contact, I know I am in for the duration. 

It's a bit of an addiction I must confess. This weekend I got pulled into a contest that I swore I would only do for a little while since I had a lot to do in the shop this weekend.

As a result, I still have a lot to do in the shop, but sometimes you do need that break from time to time to do something different as a change of pace to act as a bit of a recharge.

So, it's good to have a little break - cleanses the soul I suppose. 

Now to head back into the shop!  


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