We were sitting in the August sunshine, watching the dog days of summer drift by, when Slim came by and sat down beside us. "What have you been up to lately?", we asked, not really sure if we wanted to hear the answer. "Well", Slim replied, "I hadn't been on the air too much this year. Just worked a few of the Deserving, signing A51AB in the spring." We had seen the Bhutan spot on the packet cluster and figured it was Slim, enjoying himself as always. "You know", Slim continued, "it never ceases to amaze me . . . the rarer the DXCC country I sign, and the more unlikely the propagation path, the bigger the pileups!" We had to admit we had noticed this too.
"Anyhow", Slim continued, "I got to thinking. I've had a lot of fun putting on the rare ones for the Deserving DXers and, although I enjoy it, now and then I felt a twinge of guilt." We doubted this, but our arguing energies were not up to full strength yet so we just nodded. "You know what I did? For the first time, I actually had some QSLs printed! I really did . . . for my Singapore 'operation'! And, I got a box number in the name of a recent SK and used him as my QSL manager." We weren't sure we liked where this was going so we simply put forth our best poker face. "I got on 20-meters and, in my best foreign accent, I took a list of stations for the 9V. Then I turned the power down and worked them with my 9V call! You should have heard the happy DXers . . . bellowing out their calls, guessing 4 by 4 and 3 by 3 reports and thanking me over and over for the new one! I never had so much fun since I was QRV from Peter 1st a couple of years ago. And, this was my first SSB operation in over 15 years! I'm a CW man, you know."
"But why the QSLs, Slim?", we asked. We knew he had never sent out a QSL in his entire life and we were curious about the change of heart. "A bit of guilt, but mostly for profit! Plain and simple. If I'm going to put on the rare ones, it's time I got paid for it! Heck, those guys started sending me $1, $2 and even $3 for a QSL. Why, I made enough in a week to buy a new beam! And, everyone was happy because they got a QSL! Now I've gone QRT, my 'manager' has quit and everyone wins. It was the perfect idea! One station even sent me $20.00 for his card . . . and he got one right back too!" We were not impressed and we told Slim so. "What kind of thing is that to do, Slim?", we asked angrily, "those guys thought they worked Singapore, not Boston! You should be ashamed of yourself! This isn't what amateur radio and DXing is supposed to be!" Slim didn't flinch a bit. "The DXers don't know that. The ARRL doesn't know that. It'll count for DXCC! I've got a new beam and the Deserving are still Believers . . . what's the problem?", he asked as he sauntered away. We had to think this one over for a bit. We remembered the that one of the Local QRPers had been up the hill the other day bragging about his 9V QSL. While we were in adamant disagreement with Slim's methods, we had to concede that he was right about the results. We thought a bit more about the happy QRPer and his 9V QSL. Son of a Gun! As Albert so often said, "All things are relative, some things more so."
Best Regards, Paul
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