DX Stories by Paul M. Dunphy, VE1DX

The QRPer and the Net

One of the Local QRPers came by the other day and beat his way up the hill. He stomped over to the tower and paced back and forth, waiting for us to give him our attention. We had just finished touching up a few rust spots that had finally worked their way through the galvanized legs on the tower. There was no damage done, but we'd seen a few towers collapse under the weight of all the aluminum they were holding over the years. We had heard reports of a new one being activated in the Pacific next month. We remembered what Lord Baden Powell so often said, "Be prepared!" And we were. Always.

After we had put the paint brush in a bottle of turpentine to soak, the QRPer began, "I have a problem! This past week I got a complaint from someone that I had QRMed their net. I was calling the guys in The Gambia on 40-meters. Apparently my audio splattered on top of this net. Or so they say!" He paused, took his hands out of his pocket and wiped his forehead. "This is serious", he continued, "and I don't think I caused any problems, either. The person who complained about me cited FCC regulations, and he might be an OO. The thing is, all I was running was 50 watts and I was 2 KHz away from his frequency. I was trying to work C56R. I think it was probably the other dozens of fellows in the pileup running full power that caused the problem, not me! What do you think?" Son of a Gun! If the QRPer thought we were going to dive into this one, he was mistaken . . . so we went for the usual out. We hauled him up the hill to see the Old Timer.

When we got there, the Old Timer was sitting on the veranda. He had just finished painting his own tower. We knew this because we had gotten the idea from him when we were discussing the Pacific DXpedition last week. These were trying times for DXers, with dire forecasts of huge pileups and rumors that the DXpedition was only going to last for 3 days. All we needed was a drop in the flux or a bump in the A and K indices and we would lose our perch on the top rung of the DXCC ladder. We began to think this might not have been the time to bother the Old Timer with questions about QRMing nets. He was rocking back and forth and as soon as we sat down the QRPer started. "I got an email from a W4 who said I QRMed his net on 40-meters!" he said, staring the Old Timer straight in the eye. The Old Timer looked back at him and just nodded.

The QRPer, working up his courage and feeling a sense of urgency, ploughed on, "I was trying to work this C56 DXpedition, and I showed the email to a few of the fellows at the DX club. Some of them say I could be in trouble. They say if this fellow is an OO and if he reports me to the FCC, I might get a citation. A couple of the other guys say he's an NN, an abbreviation they use for Net Nerd! The Big Guns that have been around the track a bit figure that if this fellow is an OO and if he reports me to the FCC and the ARRL, I'll get a citation and I might even lose credit for the DXCC country. And I didn't even work him! And that's the problem!"

The Old Timer looked at the QRPer for a moment, and then he asked, "So, the worry is that this person could somehow get the DXCC desk to delete a country from your totals that you didn't even work?" The QRPer nodded with a worried look, "Yes! That's the problem. I don't want to get an OO citation, either, but I surely don't want to lose credit for a country. As it happens, that would drop me from 175 to 174, and then I'd have to peel my endorsement sticker off my certificate!" The QRPer was sweating profusely now, and he glared at the Old Timer with his beady little eyes. "What am I going to do about it?"

The Old Timer took a deep breath and asked, "How can the DXCC desk delete credit for the country if you didn't work it?" The QRPer looked at the Old Timer and said with a little less desperation in his voice, "Well, you see, I didn't work that C5, but I did have the country confirmed before from another operation. So if this net guy reports me to the DXCC desk, they will likely delete credit for that country. They won't check which call I worked for the credit. They'll just read what the W4 said, and delete my C5!"

"Why", the Old Timer replied, "would they do that? You are a member in good standing with the ARRL, right? And you participate in the DXCC program, right? So why are they going to take a country away because someone sends them an email saying you misbehaved trying to work someone else? What proof does this W4 fellow have that your signal was the one that interfered with his net? What about the 100's of other guys that were calling at the same time, and most of them using full legal power, or maybe a bit more?" The QRPer nodded in agreement. "He's got that covered! He said in his email that he and two other members of the net closed down and moved to the DX's listening frequency, 7.180 MHz. He says he copied 10 other people calling the DX! I think he's going to report us all!"

The QRPer was pacing in a circle and looking at the ground. He stopped, looked at us, then at the Old Timer and finally said, "Well?" looking the Old Timer in the eye with a defiant glare. "Well what?" the Old Timer shot back at him. "What if he reports all of us? We'll all lose credit for C5! And I'll lose my sticker!"

The Old Timer never answered. The QRPer looked at him and started tapping his fingers on the arm of the chair. The Old Timer began humming to himself and looking out over the bay. We wonder which one would give in first. Finally the QRPer jumped up, bellowed "What's the use!" and was off down the hill, arms waving and shaking his head back and forth. We looked over at the Old Timer, "What do you make of that?" we asked. He shook his head slowly, "Who knows? I'd say that fellow has as much chance of losing C5 as he has of the W4 letting him check into the 40 meter net he supposedly QRMed." And that was all he would say. He turned and made his way into the shack to tune 20 meters for the late afternoon polar path to Asia.

What could we say? Only that the Deserving will work the DX. DX IS!

73/DX Paul VE1DX

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