Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Going QRT on HF

I rarely mention other's blog posts directly on this blog, the reason being that I hesitate to be seen as plagiarizing another's ideas or content. But I am going to make an exception in this instance.

Yesterday, I was reading Jeff KE9V's post on his blog "Perturbation". He was telling of his experience of coming across someone's QRZ page and how they stated that they had left HF for good.  I'm not going to reproduce Jeff's work on this blog, you can go read it for yourselves here.

Jeff mentioned that he was startled by the reality of the announcement. I for one, can't even wrap my brain around the concept.

2016 marks my 38th year as a licensed Amateur Radio operator. Since the day that I first learned about Amateur Radio - what it is, what you could do with it, what the possibilities are - my eyes were always on being an HF operator, first and foremost. I had a laser like focus on it. For me, operating on the HF bands has, is and always will be what Amateur Radio is all about.

Yes, I realize there are more facets to this hobby than appear on the Hope diamond.  I am in no way denigrating those other facets or saying that those are some way invalid.  No, this is just a very personal thing.  To ME, Amateur Radio is all about HF.  That's not to say that I haven't enjoyed some of those other facets, myself.  I have communicated through satellites, I've taken a whirl at packet back in the day when that was the fad du` jour.  But through it all, the one constant throughout my Amateur Radio career has been the ability to operate on the HF bands.

Maybe it's because I've never owned a "Super Station". Maybe it's because my antennas have never been more than wires and verticals. Maybe it's because I've never had as much time to devote to this pastime as I would like ...... there's so much more to do, so many challenges to tackle. And, sadly, so little time to do it in.

I doubt I will ever make DXCC Honor roll.  I'm not what you would consider a "Bigtime DXer", but I still get a thrill each time I work an ATNO. I enjoy the challenges of the QRP Foxhunts and the outdoor QRP sprints, but I don't consider myself a big time contester.

Like everyone else, I get my "feast or famine' times. 38 years is a long time to be doing any one thing and yes, there have been times that I haven't touched the rig in months. There are days when life gets so consuming, that I don't even feel like being bothered. But this is normal, and I know that these times pass. And even during those periods of non-operating, I was always comforted by a thought in the back of my mind that my radio was always there, in the shack, like a loyal hound waiting for me to come and play with it.

On the flip side of the coin, there have been times when I have had to send a rig away for warranty repair and was left alone without a backup. I felt like a part of me was missing. Not an addiction, but still an essential and big part of my life. Maybe I'm being shortsighted, but I cannot imagine the day will come when I will NEVER get excited about sitting behind the rig and throwing out my "fishing line" to see what I can catch.

My grandfather, a wise Polish man, once told me that everyone has to have a passion in life. Something a person can get excited about and forget about their cares and worries, even if it's just for a little while. I have two such passions in life - Amateur Radio and baseball. They both have a place in my existence. I control them and not the other way around, but life would be a lot duller and more gray without them.  Even though I understand the science and the theory behind Amateur Radio, it still maintains an air of something "magical" for me. I hope and pray it always will.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


  1. Well written Larry. I do understand why someone would leave HF and do something else after so long. I know some operators that left UHF/VHF DX/EME simply because they worked it all. This hobby is so diverse, it's just what you feel doing is best. Personally I will never leave HF. HF radio is my life. I even haven't got a antenna up for VHF/UHF just because I'm not interested. But you never know, ask me in 20 years....73, Bas

  2. As Bas said your post was very well written and as for me the flame of ham radio is still alive and well.
    73, Mike

  3. There is so much to do on HF, it takes a lifetime to accomplish it. I can't imagine leaving.

  4. If you leave HF you miss 2016 skeeter hunt AG4P

  5. Larry,

    We share two of the same passions. I'm headed out to Surprise, AZ tomorrow to watch some Rangers spring training games. I was an all-district, all-county left fielder in high school. I used to wonder how I was going to play pro ball and go to college:-) It worked itself out pretty quick. Glad I went to school.


    Mike AD5A