I used to get a lot more stressed over the holidays. All the shopping, decorating, cooking, and dreaded family gatherings interfered with some fun, year-end activities on the air. KL1BE and I agreed some time back to severely prune the commercialism, and magically there is much more time for radio!
First on the December docket was Skywarn Recognition Day. SRD in Fairbanks serves as the primary opportunity for the Arctic ARC to activate KL7FWX at the National Weather Service Office. Dan KL1JP has been instrumental in organizing these events for several years. This time he focused on heavy automation with Ham Radio Deluxe, his FT857D, a Microkeyer II, and an LDG autotuner. I helped configure the HRD and MK2. Echolink driven primarily by Mac Carter KL2GS netted hours of contacts. Phone, CW, and digital modes worked on HF. In total, a 10-year best number of stations went into the log.
The ARRL 10M Contest proved a hoot, although some prime operating time was missed due to other obligations. I haven't made so many contacts on 10 meters in ages. Later in the month I find the RAC Contest an enjoyable hunt, and this year was more successful than most. The few hours of Rookie Roundup was enriching, and I worked some good new ops. December always ends on the positive note of leisurely holiday ragchewing.
So now the look is ahead to the on-air events in the coming several months. Push onward and upward!