Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Contester/DXer Files Disability Claim

Avid contester and DXer, Melvin Blouhard, K6LID, has filed a claim for disability with the Social Security Administration claiming physical impairment of his left index finger has made it impossible for him to work. He is applying for benefits claiming to be permanently disabled.

Carpel tunnel of the left index finger, know as F1-finger, is emerging as a major threat to active contesters and DXers. The constant, repetitive motion of pressing the F1 key on the computer keyboard to call CQ produces stresses on the index finger and can in extreme cases result in painful inflammation of the finger’s ligaments.

“A typical contest weekend I might press the F1 key two to five thousand times,” says Blouhard. “Then add in all the hours sitting in pileups or rare DX stations - I use F1 to send my call when DXing - that’s probably another three to four thousand times a week. It starts to add up.” “We’ve had a lot of good DXpeditions the last couple of years,” he added.

When questioned how impairment of his left index finger would make him completely disabled, Blouhard responded,”Everybody has to use a computer these days, regardless of the type of work you do. My left index finger is so sore and painful, I can’t hardly type anymore. I can barely stand to type out responses to some of that bull bleep stuff on CQ Contest, let alone set those boneheads on QRZ straight. The pain is just constant. Even when I’m not in front of the computer, it hurts so much I can hardly do anything using my left hand. I’m single so my, uh, personal life has also suffered tremendously.”

It is not known just how many active amateurs suffer from F1-finger, but it is thought that this is the first time a claim for disability from the syndrome has been filed. If successful, Blouhard’s claim may open a floodgate of claims based on contest and DX related injuries. The law firm of Howe, Dewy, Cheatham, and Wynn is considering adding disability claims to their radio related portfolio of services offered to the amateur radio community.

In the meantime, Blouhard continues to suffer with the pain of F1-finger as he sits in the VP8ORK pileup and attempts to log a new one.

1 comment:

  1. To press F1 I use my middle finger, giving lids The Finger surreptitiously.