DX Stories by Paul M. Dunphy, VE1DX

Winners and Losers

We had a confused QRPer up the hill last week, this one burdened with a problem. "You know the sunspots are declining", he said, "and I guess we just have to accept the fact we're going to have to work DX on the lower bands." We couldn't argue with this so we listened a bit longer. "The trouble is", continued the QRPer, "I just don't have room for big antennas. It was bad enough I had to put up two towers and monobanders for the top of the cycle. Now I can't work anything on the higher frequencies and all the activity is on the lower bands." We were following so far but starting to get the feeling this was leading where we rather not go.

"I was listening to the Old Timer on the DX repeater the other day", he explained, "and he was asking one of the Big Guns about a Beverage antenna. They were saying it should be 500 feet long, maybe even 1000 feet! Why, the Old Timer even has a delta loop for 80 meters!" We had to agree for we had seen the Old Timer's station many times. The QRPer's frustration was starting to show. "It isn't fair", he continued, in a much louder tone than we would have liked. "How come they need those big antennas? Why can't they use slopers and dipoles like the rest of us? What chance do we new DXers have?" We were beginning to feel more than a bit uncomfortable with the glare we were getting. "And don't give me any of that stuff about only the Deserving, Buster!" he shouted with both fists clenched.

Son of a Gun! We were looking for a way to bail out in a hurry! So we hauled the QRPer up the hill to the Old Timer. We had to listen to the whole thing again, complete with arm-waving and table-thumping and expressions of incredulity. After awhile the Old Timer spoke. "Don't you have a full legal limit linear?", he asked, "and aren't you a regular on the packet cluster?" The QRPer fixed his beady eyes on the Old Timer, "Yes on both counts, but what good will that do me in the low band pileups?" he shouted. The Old Timer spoke again, perhaps a bit wearily this time. "When you see low band DX reported, call the station with full smoke, give a report, wait the proper amount of time and then sign. Doesn't matter if you hear him or not. He'll hear you." And that was all he would say.

The QRPer contemplated this for a moment. The glare was replaced by a sly grin as he ran down the hill to tell the local club members of his new plan. The Old Timer's advice was starting to worry us. And we were thinking of the consequences in the eighty meter pileups. We glanced over at the Old Timer and noticed a faint smile. "Should be interesting at the club when he tells the net traffic types what he going to do", the Old Timer snickered as he turned back to the rig.

Son of a Gun! The more we thought about it, the more we understood the wisdom of the Old Timer! What could we say in a situation like this? Only that there will always be winners and losers . . .

Best Regards, Paul

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