If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there, but after more than forty years in this hobby, I’ve found it much more useful to have a plan.

Amateur radio is like an action movie with endless sub-plots. You might think it just a means to communicate with someone else but that’s an overly simplistic view. In order to keep it fresh and interesting for more than a century, radio hams have become good at making up all sorts of games and challenges.

Contesting is one such “game”. Rules are made up and contest dates selected and at the appointed hour the bands light up with operators trying to make more contacts than anyone else within the constraints of the contest rules. DXing isn’t much different except the rules in the world of DX chasing can make a small cluster of rocks in the middle of the ocean a new “country” to be worked and confirmed.

Then when that game gets too small, there are embellishments. Say you’ve worked a hundred different countries, but have you done it using CW only, or RTTY only, on a single band, or at QRP? These kinds of twists and turns captivate the interest of those who consume each new challenge with a vigor that keeps them feeling refreshed, challenged, and coming back for more.

I’m not immune to the allure of these many sub-plots and here in the waning days of summer, in the year of the global pandemic, I’ve decided to follow a new radio pursuit, the DX Marathon. It’s a year long event that really resonates (no pun intended) with my radio interests. I’m not a competitive person and my aim is not to “win” in any category. I’m more interested in honing my radio skills and seeing incremental improvements in my score over several years.

I intend to jump into that fray on January 1st which affords me months of preparation and I need that running start. I’m presently working to remodel the shack and install new antennas. There’s a lot more that goes along with that. Like improved station grounding, lightning protection, ergonomics, new computer and software, and various hardware additions.

Lot’s of work ahead.