One of the Local QRPers was up the hill today, this one looking tattered and torn. He was carrying a D-104 in one hand and the remains of a keyer in the other. There were scratches on his face and one of the sleeves of his shirt was torn clean off. We had to know what was going on, for clearly this QRPer had been in battle! "What happened?", we asked, "you look like you've been in a riot! Were you on 14.010 trying to work the ZL8?" "No!", the QRPer replied, with the cord of his D-104 dangling, "way worse than that! I've been in some pretty bad pileups over the years. Why, I even survived the Bouvet pileup of 1990 with less battle scars. And the VP8SSI battle on 28.495 was bad too. But I never saw anything like this!"
We sat the QRPer down and asked, "What were you trying to work that was so rough? Did someone show up from P5?" The QRPer looked at us for a moment, then replied, "No, nothing like that. I've been on HF for quite awhile and I'm pretty well hardened to the antics that go on during Dxpeditions. I can even work DX on a net without too much damage. But this is the worst I've ever seen!" At this point we didn't know what to do. It was clear the QRPer had been in through the mill, but he wasn't about to tell us what happened without some prying and prompting. We were wondering if we had a case of post-traumatic stress disorder . . . was the QRPer suffering from shell shock or battle fatigue? "Tell us what happened", we said, "it looks like you've ran into a case of someone violating The Amateur's Code."
The QRPer looked around a bit and then stood up and said in a shaky voice, "Your darn right, Buster. All six points of it too! Every item defined by W9EEA in 1928." We were astounded! "Where did this happen?", we asked, feeling our anger starting to build, "DXing isn't all robins and roses, and DXers sometimes get overly excited chasing a new one, but to toss away everything in the pursuit of DX! What band? When? Who was the DX?"
"No, no, no!", the QRPer replied, "not in a pileup at all! Not on the HF bands. Not on 2-metres. On the internet! I got an internet account and started looking for DX related sites and discussion groups." This was not what we'd expected and we were clearly out of our league. We'd heard a bit about the internet and computers, but we didn't know a lot about either. "What happened?", we asked. "Everything!", the QRPer replied, with sweat breaking out on his forehead, "why it's war on there! Everyone seems to have a surplus flame thrower, grenades and some even plant Claymore mines! I stepped into a discussion on DX and look at me. This is all that's left of my shack! My modem blew up, the computer caught fire and shorted out the power supply on my rig! All I have left is my mike and keyer! And the guys tossing the grenades are the same ones that I used to work on 40-metres who sent "TNX FB QSO ES GUD DX ES BEST TO U ES UR FAMILY 73 73 SK" I just don't understand it! It's like everyone who gets on the internet goes through a personality change!" And with that, he was off down the hill, looking for a used rig so he could get back on 20-metres where it was safe.
Son of a Gun! 20-meters where it was safe? We didn't know much about the internet, but this told us enough! We had come across one of the Eternal Enigmas that even the Old Timer would have trouble explaining. Then it came to us. The Legion of Handwringers had gone 'high tech.' The malcontents had computerized. While the medium may have changed, the message was the same. We hoped it stayed that way too, because we'd been noticing the flux increasing ever so slightly. The Legion of Handwringers were on the internet, the Great Days of DXing were returning and the DX was on HF! DX IS!
Best Regards, Paul
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