By K5PO, on the scene
BARROW-IN-FURNESS, England — Radiosport, or amateur radio contesting, is not for the faint-of-heart, but it may in fact be for the faint.
Thom Tranton, a ham radio operator from Barrow-in-Furness, reports he had a “rather fine” performance in the latest UK DX BPSK63 Contest despite not really remembering much of it.
“It’s just been an awful long week at the office,” said Tranton. “We’ve been blasting out our yearly reports since we closed the fiscal year, and I haven’t had much sleep. That aside, I told myself I sure wasn’t going to miss my favorite digital contest of the year!”
Mr. Tranton, a big advocate of the PSK mode, placed a respectable 15th in last year’s showing. “This year, I got home around 2300z and started setting up for the contest. I was tossing back coffee and was up to about 142 contacts before things got fuzzy,” said Tranton.
Logbook records seems to indicate that sometime around 0600z Tranton passed out in the middle of calling CQ on 40 meters. “I’d switched from coffee to a bit of ale, and I was trying to do a bit of a run on 40,” said Tranton.
Tranton had recently installed a webcam in his shack to use during contests and it captured it all. Contest participants observed his head grow heavy and starting to nod, eventually falling forward firmly onto the keyboard.
He’s not sure what keys his head came to rest on, but despite being asleep, his PSK macros trudged forward, racking up an impressive 78 QSOs in the hour that followed as Tranton snoozed away. “It was one of the best run rates I’ve had in a contest,” Tranton says with a bit of hesitation.
Thom Tranton’s final QSO count ended up at 382 total contacts, including the 78 contacts occurring during his nap, a performance that would likely place him among the top performers this year. Contest officials are working through details of Tranton’s results, as the contest rules don’t specifically state an operator must be awake.
Trenton’s contest results again show the power of what one can do if they put their mind to it, or in this case, if they put their mind on it.