DX Stories by Paul M. Dunphy, VE1DX

The Radio Inspector

by Hugh Cassidy, WA6AUD

Originally published in the WCDXB, 9 September 1975

WEST COAST DX BULLETIN - Published every week by the Marin County DX Group. One of the local QRPers came by last week, the worries of the world heavy on him. "I think we amateurs must enhance our image," he said, "and we must be a self disciplining group so that the rest of the world will know how true-blue we amateurs really are." We had heard the call to up-lift before and this time we were a bit more wary. "How's that?" we asked and the QRPer was well into his pitch.

"It's the question of excess power." He said. "I think we must be very scrupulous in this area and in order to self-police ourselves, I think we ought to have something along the order of the Official Observer Station. Maybe we could call it an Official Antenna Station. What do you think?"

We were thinking we were being lead down some path but at this point we had to know the answer. "How would it work?" we asked and the QRPer beamed that big beady-eyed smile. "Simple" He said, "very simple. And I have made my application to handle the duties and workload in this area myself, figuring that I had to set a good example. All I will do is look for antennas capable of handling excess power. I will do some simple checking, like feeding a heavy overload into the antenna system under check and if it does not blow, it will be a de facto matter of excess capability and we will have the wretch nailed. I will duly note it in my report that I will forward for remedial actions as may be needed. I certainly will feel it my duty to note and cite all transgressors. We must enhance our image with 1979* coming on. Definitely!"

We thought this over for a bit for there was something missing here. "Tell me", we asked very carefully, "if an excess load does blow the traps, shorts the elements to the boom and blasts the coax, what will you do then?" The QRPer was again all smiles. "THAT would prove that the station was legitimate, that the antenna system was not capable of handling excess power and I would duly issue a certificate of compliance. Thus the honest DXer will be rewarded and the transgressor identified. And it will be a bit quieter in this area and by then some of us more deserving DXers will have a chance at those rare ones. Get the picture?" We were getting the picture . . .

* 1979 was the year of the highly anticipated WARC conference that, among other things, gave us the 30, 17 and 12-metre bands.

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