DX Stories by Paul M. Dunphy, VE1DX

The QRPer's Cousin

One of the Local QRPers was by the other day. "What's new in the world of DX?" we asked, hoping to get things off on a positive note. "Been working anything new?" The QRPer sat sown and looked at us for a moment, then replied "Oh yes, I've been working a lot of DX . . . and good stuff too. New ones overall, and at the bottom of the cycle." We were becoming curious because in spite of the new DX, the QRPer was not happy. "I'm wondering if I'm wasting my time?", he asked.

We were not following the flow here. "If you've been working lots of DX, especially new ones, why the dejected look?", we asked, not really wanting to hear the answer. This was a nice fall day and we weren't sure we were up to listening to yet another argument. So before the QRPer could answer, we took the offensive, "Why, BS7H, BV9P, ZL9GD and XZ1A have all been on in the past while. We heard you work them all! That kind of DX is sunspot maximum stuff, not DX to be worked when the flux is 70! All the locals have been logging these stations and it feels like back in 1989-1990 when the flux was 250. What more could a true blue DXer ask for?"

The QRPer was quick to reply. "That's the way I was looking at it", he replied, "but I was talking to my cousin, East-Coast Bob, this last week. East-Coast Bob is a true blue DXer and when he speaks, we all listen." We'd heard about East-Coast Bob quite a few times before and, although we suspected he was a charter member of the Legion of Hand Wringers, we decided to not to comment. After all, Bob was the QRPer's cousin and our mother had taught us not to comment on other's relatives! So we put forth a poker face and simply said, "Tell us more."

The QRPer leaned back in his chair and said, "Well, the way East-Coast Bob tells it, there isn't any point in working any of this DX. Bob says that all the east coast guys spent a lot of late nights and early mornings waiting for this new DX, and now that they've got it worked, the league won't count it! He said that it's a waste of time working new ones that will never count. He said that we Suffering-Sixes can nail these new ones as soon as they show up, but the east coast has to wait hours just to get the short lived far-east openings, and when they finally do work the DX, they don't count! Well, I'm here to tell you, East-Coast Bob is right! Whether we get them in one call, or you catch the short openings, it doesn't make a bit of difference. Bob says there is no point of working DX that will never count. He says the league is stalling the process of accreditation because not enough members of the DXAC and the ARRL directors have worked the DX! And I think he's right!"

Son of a Gun! We'd heard this argument before, and although we weren't about to tell the QRPer, we were convinced the ARRL didn't make DXCC accreditation decisions based on who in the league had worked them. So, we hauled the QRPer up the hill to the Old Timer. The QRPer repeated his story, complete with arm-waving and praise for the opinions of East-Coast Bob. The Old Timer looked at the QRPer for a few seconds and then asked, "Why do you work DX?" The QRPer looked a bit confused and finally stammered out "So I can add to my DXCC totals . . . so I can get stickers for my DXCC certificate. So I can get my call in QST. Why else would anyone work DX?" The Old Timer was silent for a moment, then he retorted angrily, "It sounds to me like you haven't even begun to grasp the meaning of DX IS! You don't understand one of the fundamental Mysteries of the Ages . . . and, to top it off, you listened to someone who understands them even less than you do! Why are you wasting our time?" And with that, he turned back to the rig. It was clear that was all he was going to say.

We walked back down the hill with the QRPer and he glared at us with his beady little eyes and asked, "What did I say wrong? I know the true meaning of DX IS! I just explained it to him. I think he might have missed one of those calls I mentioned and that's why he's grouchy. What do you think?" Son of a Gun! We knew the Old Timer hadn't missed any DX in a long time . . . longer than we cared to remember! What could we say? "Probably you're right." we replied, knowing this was a lost cause. The QRPer smiled knowingly and strolled off to call East-Coast Bob with his new found knowledge. We had to think this one over for quite awhile. We made a note in the log book to remind ourselves to hide the next time we saw this particular QRPer coming! There are some things in this world of DX that defy explanation . . . and this QRPer and his cousin were two of them!

Best Regards, Paul

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