DX Stories by Paul M. Dunphy, VE1DX

How to Work Bouvet

By Hugh Cassidy, WA6AUD

(Originally Published in the West Coast DX Bulletin)

It was raining last week and one of the local QRPers was up the hill and in out of the rain. This one came with the indescribable look of fulfillment. "Bet you worked Bouvet," we ventured and the QRPer smiled. We expected more, but all we got was the enigmatic smile. Finally we had to ask questions. "Oh, it was not hard," the QRPer expounded grandly and somewhat in contradiction to what others were saying, "all you really need is a plan. That does the trick." This was telling nothing and we were getting a bit anxious.

"But what did you do?" we demanded, "use that group plan where the bunch would spread out one kilocycle apart from two-ninety to three-ten and call simultaneously until someone caught the Bouvet station, then throw in the list and everyone could coast home easily? Is that what you did?"

The QRPer laughed, a bit condescendingly we were thinking and a bit irritating we were sure. But then again, how does one treat a station that has worked Bouvet? And with low power to boot? We had to know more. But there was the QRPer, all nonchalance, carefully flicking a bit of dust off his knee. "Oh, that was not it at all," he said, "not that at all." We had to bring in another supply of patience, finally lapsing into a silence that we knew the QRPer could not endure, he wanting to enjoy the luxury of the moment. Finally, he got to the point. "Actually it only took two of us," he explained. "Only two. One went up above three hundred, acknowledged the 3Y5DQ, gave a signal report and asked for his in return. With the instant QRM on the frequency, he kept saying he only could get part of it and kept asking for a fill. Naturally, within a matter of seconds everyone just about was on the frequency, calling Thorey and yelling and hollering and things like that, all of it non-stop. The normal set-up that came every time the Bouvet station came back. You know how it is." Of course we did, any DXer that was awake in recent weeks knows how it is. "But how did you get to work Bouvet?" we demanded and again the QRPer was all smiles. "Well," he continued, "while everyone was up above three hundred trying to tail-end or something like that, the other one of us would drop below ninety-five and call. With our low power, no one would pay any attention to us, not while things were being torn apart up the band. Of course they could not hear anything, neither could Bouvet. We figured he'd come looking for something he could read. And we were right. It was easy,"

There was something in this that did not seem right and we were not going to let things go unnoticed. "Do you think it fair to give those signal reports and Bouvet not being on frequency?" The QRPer shook his head. "Certainly not," he said earnestly, "and we are not going to do it again. That's for sure." We gave up at this point for there are a lot of things about Bouvet that makes one wonder and especially how the Island station can hear anything with everyone on the same frequency non-stop. We will have to consider this DX 'bait and switch' routine before giving a measured judgment. DX is for the strong and loud and belligerent . . . isn't it? And as many true blue DXers often say, "Operating ability and DX techniques are directly proportional to the height of your tower and the excess of your power."

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Elected Silence, sing to me
And beat upon by ready ear,
Pipe me to countries still and be
The DX that I care to hear . . . 
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