DX Stories by Paul M. Dunphy, VE1DX

The Fall Classic

One of the Local QRPers was by the other day, this one with a glare in his beady little eyes that gave us thoughts of ducking out the back door before he got wound up. But, as usual, our conscience kicked in and we decided to see what the QRPer was up to. He didn't waste any time getting started: "What's all this stuff about a new DXCC program?", he blurted out, "I just read in QST they have set up a committee to redo the DXCC. They want to call it DXCC 2000!" We had heard there were rumblings in Newington about modernizing the DXCC program, but maybe this was a time not to let our knowledge show. "What are they going to do?", we asked, putting forth our best poker face, "and how about them Yankees?"

"Yankees?", the QRPer muttered, "I don't know about any Yankees. It's DX that I'm worried about! There are lots of suggestions and stories going around", the QRPer continued, his face becoming more and more concerned, "there's talk of starting the DXCC program over at regular intervals, maybe once every solar cycle. The idea is to take away everyone's DXCC credits at the start of each interval, and we'd all have to start over. What do you think of that?" We were silent for a moment, but our silence was not to be mistaken for quick thinking! This was a no win situation and the tying run was on third, so we decided to throw a curve. "Well", we answered, slowly, "the notion of restarting at some point always has merit, although sometimes more than others. And the idea of disrupting what probably works now is not to be taken lightly, but you have to keep in mind that change is not always a bad thing, although sometimes it is. Follow?"

The QRPer looked at us for a moment, then uttered, "Huh?" We gave him the standard "Isn't that obvious?" look and his puzzled expression was replaced with one of false knowing. We had caught the inside corner . . . call strike! The QRPer dusted off his hands, clenched his teeth and tried again. "Well, I guess that makes sense", he said, then continued, "but what's this talk about DXer Emeritus status for DXers who have worked every country on the list? Isn't an Emeritus position reserved for scientists and professors and the like? Those who have retired from their profession, but still get the respect of their peers and the use of their offices and the like. What's that got to do with DXing? Unless, of course, you are a DXer and a scientist . . . and how many of those are there?" We watched the ball go high and outside, but the QRPer had swung and missed. Zero and two!

"What has it got to do with DXing?", we asked with an indignant look, "Everything! Look at the contribution Albert has made to DXing. How often hasn't he said: All things are relative, although some more so. And haven't Professor Cass and Albert explained the Eternal Enigmas of DXing and the Mysteries of the Ages to you dozens of times? And the Old Timer? What about him? And Sir Gus? Are they not deserving of Emeritus DX status? And what about Martti and Tony? Clearly you don't understand the significance of all this. And if you don't understand it, you can't be a believer or be one of the Deserving. You are asking questions with obvious answers!", we concluded, in a bit sharper tone than we hand intended. "Yes, I guess so," the QRPer replied, looking around the room a bit and still fidgeting. While he was behind on the count, it was clear he still wasn't giving up.

He took a deep breath, knocked the sand out of his cleats, and looked us right in the eye. "OK, buster", he continued with renewed vigor, "what about deleted countries? There's talk of taking away credit once a country is deleted. And, word has it that some of the DXers on this committee have suggested deleting countries if the criteria changes so that they don't meet all the guidelines anymore. What about that?"

Son of a Gun! It was the bottom of the ninth and all we needed was another strike. We glared at the QRPer and he stared right back, his beady little eyes glistening. There are times when discretion is the better part of valor, but this wasn't one of them. We let one go straight down the center, a straight fast ball that was in the catcher's glove before the QRPer knew the ball had been thrown! "What about deleted countries?", we roared, pointing our finger at the QRPer and backing him toward the door, "What do you want to do about them? You've been asking all the questions and filling in some of the answers. Do you want more DX or less DX? Are you a DXer or not?" The QRPer was out on the front lawn by now and sputtering "Yes, yes I'm a DXer. I don't have any deleted countries, but I want to know what will become of them when I do work something that gets deleted." He had managed to stammer out that much before he noticed he'd been called out on strikes! "Then fill out that questionnaire in QST!", we bellowed, "Write to your ARRL director. Participate in forming the new rules! And if you like them the way they are, participate in keeping them that way. But don't waste our time complaining about rumors and decisions that haven't been made yet! Better yet, work the DX that IS! Stop worrying about the DX that WAS and the DX that WILL BE!"

We weren't sure the QRPer had heard the last part, as he was off down the hill, glancing behind apprehensively as he ran for cover. What more could we say? We walked back and forth a few times, trying to calm our self down. Then realized we'd struck the QRPer out in three pitches! Son of a Gun! And we didn't need any help from Roberto, either. Maybe there is balance in nature . . . at least in Yankee Stadium!

73/DX Paul VE1DX

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