I’m a little late to the party with the typical new year’s goals/year-end wrap-up post, but tonight on our club’s two-meter net, the topic for discussion happened to be something along those lines, and I realized that, sadly, I don’t seem to have any new ham radio goals for the new year.
Looking back, 2013 marked an incredible year of ham radio for me. I met almost all of the goals I set out for myself. Here are a few of the achievements I’m particularly proud of:
- I served in a leadership position in our club as treasurer and handled public relations. I also found myself helping re-develop and manage the content of the club’s website. As PR officer, I managed to get a couple TV stations and a local news website out for summer Field Day operations. I also took over most of the photography for our club and started working in some video in as well. (Consequently, I’ve been re-elected to the same position for 2014, for better or for worse.)
- I completed Worked All States (Basic) back in the spring on my FT-847 and FT-817.
- I finally sat down and learned Morse code and scored my first on-air contacts (with a straight key, paddles and Winkeyer).
- I immersed myself in kit-building, completing all the kits from Breadboard Radio, a K1EL Winkeyer USB, and ultimately, an Elecraft K3/P3 combo.
- I put up a moxon antenna to get on 6 meters and had a blast with that band on all modes.
- I scored my first satellite QSOs.
- Operated a digital mode station at Field Day.
- Operated as a mobile station with N4LDL for the SC QSO Party, which included some straight-key CW. Epic!
Who knows what 2014 will bring? I don’t have any burning desires related to ham radio at the moment; any progression is likely to simply be incremental improvement on my current skill-set. My CW is always going to be a work in progress. I’m still 50 (confirmed) entities short of DXCC. If there is any straight-up goal at present, it’s to simply continue working on the WAS Triple Play. I don’t feel like getting TOO hung up on paper-chasing, because life is just too short.
I do look forward to putting in serious efforts on winter and summer Field Day operations and participating in the SC QSO Party again. I enjoy the camaraderie and competition. It would be nice to raise a more efficient antenna system here at home, but I’m satisfied with the dipole for now and a big beam simply isn’t in the cards right now.
As far as hardware goes, I’m running the station of my dreams right now. The K3/P3 is far better than I deserve. Everything is perfectly integrated with my PC for digital modes and CW, and the Heil PR 781 makes me sound good on sideband. There is nothing I would change about the rig at this point. There is a certain comfort in thumbing past magazine ads for the new Yaesus, Kenwoods, Icoms, etc. and not pausing in envy, simply because I know the rig I’m running slays them all.
I hope the remains of this end-of-year lassitude will soon pass. My interest in nearly everything has waned in recent months and I feel like I’m always running 100 miles per hour, only to arrive late to my destination and accomplish very little or nothing after I get there.
In other news, our club supported a 50K trail race Saturday and I’m still trying to thaw out from the 9-hour effort! Photos and more info posted here.