The CQ WPX SSB contest is in full swing. I operated a little last night after it kicked off, in between basketball games and also when the games went to halftime. But this has been a long week at work for me and I just couldn't stay up any longer when the games ended. I guess I made about 40 QSO's and then called it a night.
This morning I looked around and probably made another 50 or so before going off and doing other things. I'll probably check back later this evening and perhaps make a few more.
Obviously my heart and soul just aren't in this one. Frankly, I prefer CW contests. I have nothing in the world against those that prefer phone/SSB though. I have heard and worked some of the smoothest operators during this contest, I've been really impressed. In fact, it's been a real nice learning experience for me, I've spent most of my time just listening.
I've even run across some of the operators that have posted videos of prior contests on YouTube. It's funny to actually recognize their voices on the air! One great example is K5TR, who I heard last evening (and worked). If you haven't seen this video, listen to the rate he keeps up! It's from a few year's ago, but it is still a great video. I can't even talk this fast.
The fact is, my station is simply not setup for even casual SSB contesting. The only microphones I own are the ones that came with a few of the radios and, quite honestly, they're not much to write home about. By the time I end up pressing the button, giving my call, and then releasing the button, the other op is usually already into giving the serial number to the stations he's talking to (and that's usually not me). I've got a lot to learn - like getting comfortable with phonetics. I've fumbled around pretty good so far.
Here's something else, since recently buying the K2, I had to dig in the documentation to even learn how to set the radio up for SSB transmission. My first couple of attempts didn't seem to work very well, but I think I finally figured it out. No one seems to be saying that I sound like crap. I even used the FT-857 for a little while and it seemed to do quite well.
Eventually I'd like to be more serious about a phone contest but for now I'm content to just listen.