As the 13 Colonies Special Event comes to a close tonight for 2017, I am seeing typical comments on social media. Those who got a clean sweep are elated and those who haven't ........ well, let's be charitable and say they are writing posts that are way less enthusiastic.
To be sure, I posted to Facebook my own quandary about my experience with K2B's abrupt disappearance from 40 Meters last night; and someone answered by letting me know that parts of Virginia were experiencing severe weather last night. Heck, that would sure explain that! And with discretion being the better part of valor, I highly commend the op for pulling the big plug and making self preservation a top priority.
Having worked this event several times now; the complaints somewhat amuse me. Yes, we would all like to have that "Clean Sweep" certificate hanging nicely framed on our shack walls; but sometimes things preclude that result.
1) Propagation - which is in the pits this year as we plummet towards the bottom of the sunspot cycle.
2) Participation - we can all bemoan the fact that the Colonies that we so desperately need aren't on the air enough, but you have to remember ....... these folks are all volunteers. They have lives, things happen and they can't be on the radio 24 hours a day the week of Independence Day. Did you participate in Field day for more than just a couple QSOs or a couple hours? Did you put in a lot of time behind the mic or key? How did you feel after that? A bit tired or exhausted? Imagine doing something similar for an entire week!
3) Experience - this one kind of goes hand in hand with point #2. Listening to these pileups, it is quite apparent that some of the ops can deal better with pileups than others. But again, these guys are volunteers. They are graciously giving up their time and we should be happy enough with that. I'll tell the complainers one thing right now - if you think that handling a Special Event pileup is such a piece of cake, then you should try it sometime. I'm willing to bet that, if you've never been in the situation before, hitting that wall of noise of 1,000 Hams calling you all at once, all at the same time would probably incline you to wet your pants, or otherwise soil yourself.
The event ends tonight at midnight and I have a lot of non-radio things to get accomplished this evening. I doubt I am going to get much of a chance to hunt down, much less work, K2B and K2C. Will I be disappointed? Yep. Will I be devastated? No. because after all, whether I work 'em all or not, the sun will still come up tomorrow and I'll still have to go to work tomorrow. The world's still going to turn on its axis and orbit around the sun. No is going to care much that I didn't accomplish a personal goal.
And with all that said, thanks to the organizers and operators behind the radios of the 13 Colonies. In spite of the peeing and moaning of some, you have yet again done a phenomenal job of putting another fantastic special event into the books.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!