For M0JKS 2023 could not have begun better; well the first few days. 2022 had seen the wireless microwave company I worked for and help setup sold and then asset stripped. I jumped ship just before it shut down, joining a RF company in Cambridge. As a radio amateur it was a dream job, what could possibly go wrong…
Starting date was January 3rd, and I had to spend just a week in the office. The rest of the time I could work remotely with the odd trip down south when required. The week went smoothly and I spent the week collecting lots of nice RF gadgets, and setting up a new Linux workstation for doing FPGA simulations and builds. On the Friday evening I bid farewell to my new colleagues and headed back home to my QTH in the Peak District.
Sadly just seven days into the new year, this is where 2023 came crashing down for my family and I. I don’t want to go into details, but our world fell apart the next morning. A tragedy I thought could never possibly occur happened to someone I love dearly. Sadly that tragedy was compounded by yet another just 3 months later, something someone so young and vunerable should never have to go through.
After many weeks of despair, the likes of which I have never experienced before, in an attempt to break free from the black dog, my wife suggested I collected together some radio equipment and hauled my sorry ass up the nearest SOTA summit. It was a bright February day and I sat there for what seemed like hours, just listening to radio chatter, glad my mind was occupied by something else. It was there that I set myself a task, something that would allow me to get away from things and disappear into the world of radio. I set myself the task of activating as many different summits as I could, and bagging as many S2S contacts in the process. This would be my therapy.
Weather permitting this is what I have done for the last 10 months; albeit with a 7 week break while I had titanium pins inserted in my right foot to correct crippling arthritis. With just my faithful KX2, my 10/15/20/40m switchable inverted-V antenna and my little KX2 microphone clone, in 10 months the SOTA database tells me I climbed 68 summits (more than any previous year), managed 1272 S2S contacts resulting in 6249 S2S points and 288 activator points. I’m also fitter, mentally stronger and have a brand new right foot (well not quite, it just doesn’t hurt as much as it did).
I’m writing this on the last day of 2023, a year I have to say I will be glad to see the back of. Although after 11 months we have almost come to terms with what happened that night in January, the ramifications will drag on into 2024; but hopefully no further. As 2023 is about to become the past, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all; all my fellow radio and SOTA enthusiasts for helping me through 2023. Hearing familiar voices and callsigns of fellow activators like you Martin, Peter, Ben, Shane, Robert, Simon, Roger, Tom, Vicki, Ian, Esther and Frazer (to name just a few)’and the army of chasers out there has been truly cathartic . Despair is a narcotic, it lulls the mind into indifference; for me playing radio (as my wife likes to call it) has been the therapy that has kept me going. So thank you all. You didn’t know it at the time, but to me every contact was worth so much more than points in a database.
Just Keep Smiling