this is  a question I do get asked by friends and coworkers when I mention that I’ll be spending my weekend in front of a radio…. Admittedly, to make sense of such an intention, one has to experience the music and rhythm of the contest exchanges, especially in CW.
BTW: last weekend (FieldDay 2008 with RTKCC, MicroHams and RedmondARES), I sat next to Alan AC2K for almost an hour just listening in how he search&pounced the band and made plenty of contacts. He didn’t even bother using precanned CW sequences, all code was live keying with his Begali single-lever key. Ok, now I know why I need to further practice my code speed 🙂

Here’s a YouTube video that explains and conveys the contest rhythm quite nicely: