The CQWW DX CW contest last weekend represents the end of the road for DX chasing in 2023 for me. I’m boxing up the IC-7610 for a return trip to the factory to have the display replaced. The duration of that service work will no doubt leave me without it until at least the end of the year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since I’ve accomplished the HF goals I had for DX chasing. Long ago I came to terms with the simple fact that I’ll never make the DX Honor Roll and that’s okay with me. Working all but a few seems a terrible frustration and working them all even worse, finality. No, I’m happy to have played in this game for a season, learned a lot, earned some wallpaper, and now is a good time for me to move along.
Besides, I was never cut out to be a lifelong DX chaser.
By the way, radio skinny dipping might be copyright K3NG for all I know? Earlier this year he wrote about the freedom to build equipment unencumbered by anything. He said he occasionally walks over to that gear and taps out a message using Morse code and if he gets a reply, he remains in the moment. No logging, no looking up anything, no contest scores, nothing. He called that “radio skinny dipping” and I was reminded of that today when I saw a QRZ bio of a fellow I had looked up that said in part, “Glad to hand out FISTS and SKCC numbers any time. I don’t collect them for myself, nor do I maintain a log. I no longer have any operating goals that make them necessary”.
While I have often suggested it, I haven’t (yet) had the courage to completely forego logging. The record-keeping fetish is predicated mostly on the need for data to apply for awards or to judge success or failure in contest, or simply to be able to say “look at me I’ve made a million contacts in my radio life”. A more vapid exercise is difficult to imagine though what makes each of us enjoy this hobby has always remained a mystery and to each his own. You do you and I’ll do me. I intend to spend the balance of this year playing with HF casually at low-power and without logging or concern for who, where, or how many I work. I’m going radio skinny-dipping and I suspect the water will be just fine.
When 2024 rolls around I’ll share my plans for my next radio adventure. I’ve dropped enough hints and alluded to my desire to follow a different path “one of these days” and it will finally be time to move on. There are a lot of different facets to explore in amateur radio and I feel sorry for those who get stuck doing the same thing over and over again, often for decades. Sometimes until they lose interest and drop out of the hobby altogether. My bucket list demands attention and if the events of 2023 has taught me anything it’s that life is short and those with a desire to do anything need to get busy because a year turns quickly into a decade and a decade into a lifetime before you even realize it.