When Are You going to get On the Air?

Hey, this is something I am guilty of right now.  Significant additional work responsibilities have whittled away at my “free time” and summer activities have taken another chunk.

In my case my work-load and sunny weather induced hiatus is temporary – as soon as I have my time reorganized I’ll be on the air a bit more.  My hiatus is also only partial, with operating time reduced to a couple times a week.

For too many of us it is more serious – we end up seldom on the air at all for extended periods of time.  Tongue in check only a little, it seems that many of the people offering operating advice to other newer hams are people from this rarely on the air group.

Not that they don’t have plenty to offer, but the really neat “come over to my shack and I’ll demonstrate how I am doing it, and then let you have a go” isn’t usually part of their offer to the newer ham.  Come to find out that some haven’t had an operating station for years.

How to fight these blahs – yeah, what seem to work for me to get on the air that might also work for you?

  • Make and keep Skeds – set up a schedule to meet with friends regularly on the air.
  • Work Special Events – make a plan to work that special DX or Event station while they are up.
  • Be part of Club Events – sign up to operate at a club event.
  • Be an Elmer – invite a newer yet ham to come over so you can demonstrate & share how you are operating.
  • Improve your Station – make a plan and rework your station so you just “have” to test out the new configuration.
  • Take a Class – the ARRL on-line Digital HF Class comes to mind, as the greater number of graduates become active working HF digital mode.
  • Go Portable/Mobile/QRP – trying that new challenge may just get you fired up!
  • Contesting – work a few sprints, ladders, QSO Parties or full contests.
  • Different Mode Operating – brush off that CW key, or go digital – over how about RTTY or AM?
  • Homebrew Some Gear – just like the reconfiguration you would need to test this newly built gear!
  • Move your Station into your Living Area – many hams share the frustration I have of my station being tucked away in the house, move it no more than 10 steps from your usual traffic pattern area and most people are rewarded with more operating time.
  • Leave your Station on to Receive & Listen – you’ll want to work what you hear!
  • Use DX Spots or a Skimmer Type Feed as your Screen Saver – so you have an on-going display of hints to work.
  • Get involved in an On-Air group – groups like OMISS, 10-10, Century Club or similar operating groups offer an increased fellowship is magic to increasing your operating satisfaction.
  • Do a Mini-DXpedition – operating from an Island, uncommon County/Grid Square, Lighthouse, Museum Ship or Event Location can spark a lot of interest.
  • Get Family Involved – if the XYL and children in your household want airtime, you may be inspired to get on more too!
  • Make Your Station a Group Opportunity – Adding an Audio System with Guest Headsets, or a modified Aircraft Type 2-way intercom may make it fun!
  • Work to an Award – that WAS (Worked All States – perhaps in a new mode/band), DXCC, IOTA, County Collectors or other award can be a goal to work to.
  • Get really out of your usual “box” and add something special – maybe satellite operations, a vintage station, that 160m set-up you never had, microwave or some other special technique/set-up.
  • Roll in EchoLink/ILRP type VoIP/hybrid-VoIP-Radio operations – whether to augment your on the air time or substitute during life periods when you don’t have a operating opportunity, these fun “near-ham” activities can keep you interested.

These are but a handful of the many ways to spark your interest!

See you on the air, and soon I hope!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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