DX Stories by Paul M. Dunphy, VE1DX


One of the local QRPers came by, absolutely exhausted. "It's that ZK3RW Dxpedition and his 20-meter operation today.", the QRPer said, getting right to the point. "I didn't get any rest and, I'm here to tell you, I'm in bad shape! Why I went almost four hours straight without hardly letting up on the keyer! I'm beat." We had to know more for it was not like this particular QRPer to have trouble working DX on 20 meters. "What was the problem?", we asked, "Don't you have a 5-element monobander at 50 feet for 20-meters? We've heard you work most everything with one or two calls."

"I know!", the QRPer replied, staring at us with his beady little eyes, "and that was what confused me at first . . . Ron was on 14.025 and as soon as I saw the spot on the Packet Cluster, I was right there calling him. I must have called a dozen times and he kept working other stations that I knew just had to be weaker than me. So I figured I'd turn on the amp and fix that! I loaded up for full legal power and popped my call in three or four times." We sat back, reassured that this one was going to be short and sweet. "So that's when you worked the ZK3, right?" we asked. "No! Not at all!", the QRPer snapped, "he never answered me. I figured I'd be 50, maybe 60 db over and he never heard me! And all of the local Big Guns were working him left and right. And to make it worse, I don't think they even had their linears on 'cuz I couldn't even hear them on groundwave!"

This one got to us and we got our sympathetic look all lined up and we applied the right amount of concern to our voice. "So you never worked him?", we asked. "Yes! I finally did get through! He was were working split. Listening up the band 2 or 3 KHz. I got through in one or two calls when I finally figured that out! What a poor operators that guy is! Why, he must have worked a dozen or so stations every time before he gave his listening frequency! How was I supposed to know he wasn't working tranceive?" We thought this over for a moment and decided we had to offer an opinion. "Maybe if you had have listened for a few minutes you could have saved some time.", we suggested. "Heck no!", the QRPer plunged on, "I never listen first! Worst thing a DXer can do! Why, he might QSY or QRT while you are listening and you'll miss him. You've got to get your call in there as fast and as often as you can! You, of all people, should know that!" We were not quite in agreement on this one, but since this was a nice warm summer day, we decided it wasn't worth cranking up our energies to arguing level. We still were a bit confused at the weariness of the QRPer though. "If you worked him after a dozen calls or so, why are you so tired?", we asked.

"Well," the QRPer continued when he had gathered up his strength, "since he's such a poor operator, I figured I better help out him out. I didn't want the other guys to make the same mistake I did." We looked at the QRPer a with a puzzled expression. "Don't you see," the QRPer snorted, "I had to be in there and keep order on the frequency. Someone had to tell the Deserving Dxers that he was working split! Do you know how exhausting it is to send UP UP UP for four or five hours? He's supposed to be on 15-meters in about an hour so I have to get back to the shack and clear out 21.025!" And with that, the QRPer was off down the hill, the weight of the world still on his shoulders.

We had to think this one over for a bit. Son of a Gun! What could we say? We decided we had better do some listening on 15 ourselves . . . for it was not often we had a QRPer so willing to keep a clear frequency for us! We had snuck in and worked Ron while the QRPer was holding the 20-meter fort! Bring on the DX! DX IS!

Best Regards, Paul

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