Weak Planning, Weak Execution Leads to Weak CQ WPX Performance

Well another CQ WPX SSB and I’ll be turning in a pretty low score.

What wasn’t ready?  Lots – I wasn’t, my computer wasn’t, and life wasn’t ready to let me get free.

After a long long week, which finished only a half an hour before the contest started, I didn’t start the contest with a contester’s attitude.  I was tired, had way too much computer screen time all week, hadn’t even had time to warm up my gear.

So no surprise that when I started my rig things kept locking up – that is after I spent a while fussing with contest logging software first.

Because my machine hadn’t been on in a week, it was trying to update – Windows, Adobe Reader/Flash/Whatever, Anti-Virus (Murphy;s law was that it wanted to do a major full update rather than just a data update), DDUtil even got into the act… oh and then some other stuff moaned about needing updates as well.

Also the Anti-Virus and Windows both wanted to do disk scans.

I soldiered on for two hours, getting on the air only an hour and a bit, before I threw in the towel.  I also had made a big mistake by delaying/postponing the stuff the computer wanted to do in the hurry to just get on the air.

Saturday brought chores, the need to do some work, phone calls and Skype calls, correspondence, a visit to family, errands, and I finally arrived end of the day wanting the quiet of reading, not the frantic noise of contesting.  Then I remembered I was going to go to Easter Vigil at 8pm which put me home late and even more tired.

Up early on Sunday to finish chores and by the time I was organized it was time to meet family for Easter Brunch.  After visiting and other stops, it was after 4 pm before I could fire up the station again.

I had left the Dell running and the software all had played badly with each other while idling.  PowerSDR was froze, the Anti-Virus had gone into some sort of terminal collapse that required a deinstall/reinstall to sort out, and even DDUTIL had folded and a begging for the updated version.

Another Skype call on the Mac needed attention, and by the time I got the Dell sorted and stable it was 40 minutes to go until the contest ended.  Two phone calls cut ten minutes off that.

Of course then the Dell ran perfectly, and I logged what I could and after teh contest ended switched to 160m to ragchew with the group.

Like cooking. contesting usually works out with a few substitutions, but fails if you substitute too much.  I had violated too many contesting preparation checkpoints:

  • I wasn’t rested and ready
  • My machine wasn’t fully updated, and ready
  • I hadn’t cleared life tasks away to get on the air at the best times
  • I hadn’t even interested enough time to know when those best times to be on the air were forecast to be

Of course that it was Easter Weekend couldn’t be helped.

Maybe next year??!

 

73

 

Steve
K9ZW

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