The late summer and fall of the year is often a pleasant time and with October near, it is a time to rest and prepare. Rest from the summer of antenna and tower maintenance; prepare for the coming great season of DXing. It is a time for both relaxation and anticipation. But we had hardly anticipated what came trudging up the hill in the pleasant late summer weather. It was a Local QRPer and he was not happy.
"Tell me", he began, "why is it that these contesters are such a pain? They just started and they'll be on almost every weekend for the whole DX season! If they're not on phone they'll be on CW. All they do is jam up the bands, tune for smoke and buckshot 5 kaycees up and down from their transmit frequency. What chance do us true blue DXers have of working anything?"
Son of a Gun! "What do you mean?", we asked, "just a month ago you were telling us about all the new ones you got on 12 and 17 last season when the contesters fired up a few days early. About how you sometimes caught them the Wednesday or Thursday before the contest and got them to QSY to 30-metres too. And then, during the contest weekends how you filled all the band countries with the multi-multi stations. And didn't you even work a half a dozen brand new ones in the contests? Last season, you lived for every contest weekend! What happened?"
The QRPer stood up and glared at us. "That was then and this is now!" he retorted. He stared at us as if that told it all. "You're not making any sense" we replied, "what's different from this year and last year?"
"What's different? What's different!!??", he retorted, "I'll tell you what's different. This weekend I missed three new ones because of a contest, that's what! Last year they were all over me for multipliers and counters. This year three rare ones told me to shove off! Told me to QSY, that they were only working Europe. So I did. It's only proper if they are working EU only that you wait your turn. So I did. And when I found another one, I called him and he told me the same thing: 'Europe only, QSY.' So I went back to the first one, 12-14 hours later and he still wouldn't work me. All three of them dodged me all weekend . . . and towards the end they were calling CQ with no takers and they still told me to QSY! What do you think of that?"
"Were these stations in Africa, Asia or the Pacific?", we asked. The QRPer nodded, "Yes, and semi-rare too. I needed them all for brand new ones. How'd you know?" We just looked at him for a moment and then replied, "Just a lucky guess. Maybe you are right about these contests", we replied, "It could have something to do with the increased propagation we're starting to see with Cycle 23." The QRPer jumped up and said, "I bet that's it! They've been working Ws and Ks for the last few years and now that the flux is back up, they want to work something different. I knew we'd figure it out!" And with that he was off down the hill, still unhappy three countries had got away, but sure he had gained knowledge and understanding.
We looked out over the bay for a while. Sometimes it is a good thing to explain things in detail . . . and other times it is better to let them figure it out on their own. For while one may work a lot of DX in a contest, it helps to read the rules . . . especially those for the Worked All Europe contest!
73/DX Paul VE1DX (EX: VE1PMD, VE1UK, VE0UK, CJ1UK, etc.)
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