Son of a Gun! We were sitting on the veranda in the early fall when one of the local QRPers made his way around the curve and beat his way up the hill. He was not happy. "I worked a lot of DX over the years, and lately I've been running into the same roadblock. I can't get a QSL. Or, more properly put, I can't get one on time, according to the rules!"
"What rules?", we replied, looking at the QRPer with our standard poker face. "Well", he replied, "I don't know if there are QSLing rules set forth by any organization, but I would think that I should get my QSL the same time as all the other DXers. And furthermore, why do I have to wait so long? If the operators of a DXpedition don't get the cards out right away, we miss our chance to submit them in time for the listings in the DXCC Yearbook. Until last February, we always could look in QST, but they don't list the DXCC standings anymore. Now I only have one chance to get listed . . . and if I miss the DXCC Yearbook, I have to wait a whole year to get another chance!"
We looked at the QRPer for a moment and thought about the discussion that had gone on in the DX community during the past 6-8 months. Why were the listings in QST missing? Some had said that it was because of a computer format conversion. We weren't sure what that was, but it sounded reasonable to us, the computer uninitiated . . . some of the more knowledgeable DXers who knew about computers weren't buying it. And a couple of the members of the Legion of HandWringers went so far as to say that we'd never see the DXCC standings in QST ever again. Their theory was that the DXCC listing pages had been replaced by advertisements. We weren't about to re-hash any of this again, so we looked the QRPer straight in the eye and repeated one of the Eternal Enigmas of DXing.
"The DXCC program", we began, "is an awards program offered by a radio club. A radio club that has its headquarters in Newington, CT. You have chosen to participate in this radio club's awards program. If you follow the rules as they set forth, then you will be on equal footing with other DXers who also compete in this awards program. Understand?"
The QRPer was shifting from foot to foot. "Yes, I sort of follow you", he answered, "but isn't the DXCC program the top echelon of DX achievement in DXing. Isn't getting you call listed in the DXCC the pinnacle of DX achievement?"
"Maybe so", we replied, "but if the folks in Newington change the rules, and you are a member of the club, then you have to change your way of thinking with them. Follow the rules of the awards program, and all this will be equal. But remember, it's just an awards program offered by a radio club."
The QRPer looked at us for a moment then started with "But I thought . . . " We raised our hand and stopped him in mid-stream. "You are a DXer, son!", we said, standing up, "and DXers are the top echelon of Ham radio. Make no mistake about it. Stand tall! DXers are better looking, richer, more competent in their operating style and wiser than other Hams. DXers realise that their DX contacts are true-blue before any net controller or radio club gives it their blessing. They realise that no radio club can take away from their achievements by changing a date, or allowing or disallowing a QSL because of a technicality. Believe this, for it is the essence of a true-blue DXer! You know you worked the DX station. You will get a card! Don't let a radio club take away the enjoyment of DXing. They set the rules for their awards program, but they do not define a DXer! Understand?"
The QRPer looked at us for a moment, then said, "I never thought of it that way. I worked the DX. And I know it was a good QSO. Why do I have to prove it to anyone?"
"A good question." we replied, and we were silent. The QRPer was as well. He was deep in thought for several minutes, then he looked up at us and simply said, "Thanks." He made his way down the hill and around the bend in the road. We thought things over for a few moments and turned back to the rig. The flux had been good the past few days, but the Ap index was high and the bands were not that good. And even though conditions were poor, we tuned the bands . . . as DXers always do. The rare and exotic land were out there, ready to be worked. They always are. And will they send a QSL? Probably. And if they do not . . . who cares? Always remember, DX IS!
73/DX Paul VE1DX (EX: VE1PMD, VE1UK, VE0UK, CJ1UK, etc.)
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