DX Stories by Paul M. Dunphy, VE1DX

To Have and to Have Not

DX in the morning,
DX in the evening,
DX at supper time.
Log that new one right now
But that reflector's mine!

We were sitting on the verandah looking out over the bay, watching the bees' squabble over a particularly attractive flower, when one of the local QRPers came beating his way up the hill. This one was livid, for he had both fists clenched and he was glaring to the left and right. A real "pile-up busting" QRPer!

"Have you heard what's happened?" he said, getting right to the point and staring right at us with his beady little eyes, "Have you heard?" And, to make his point, he thumped the arm of our chair with his fist. We had heard a lot of things over the years, so we asked for details, "Heard what?"

"About the DX Reflector! The Reflector! It's going off the air. This is terrible. We all depend on it for our DX news. And now it's going away. There will be no more DX!" He was sweating and pacing back and forth. We thought back to the final days of the WCDXB and the final meeting when we had called the gang together. And although the bulletin had run its course, and everyone was disappointed that it had to end, we couldn't recall any arguments or fights. "Everything runs its course," we tried to explain, "and as you know, DX is a moveable feast. Some get on the DX train at one stop and get off at another. And while no one may see the same DX on their part of the train ride, most realize that the train keeps on going. Understand?"

The QRPer stopped pacing and looked at us quizzically. "What?" he said, "What do trains have to do with DXing? And can't you see the problem here? This has far reaching implications!"

We were starting to feel that maybe we hadn't heard the whole story. So we asked, "What's so terrible? There will always be DX. There always has and there always will be. That's the meaning of DX IS! It's the one of the fundamental facts that prove the Eternal Enigmas of DXing and the Mysteries of the Ages. Hasn't the Old Timer explained this to you a dozen times?"

The QRPer was not to be pacified. "Well, the DX Reflector has got to stay," he replied, "and that's the problem. I can understand the current custodian wanting to give it up, but it has to stay. And I'm here to tell you that I intend to see that it does." Son of a Gun! Enlightenment set in. But, when dealing with an agitated QRPer, one soon learns to put forth a poker face. "How so?" we asked.

"I brought it up at the club and I offered my gear to run it. And then another guy said he wanted to do it, but he would need some help. Then I read that a number of other clubs are going to put up other reflectors. And there's even talk of some of the contributors to the current reflector want to take over the equipment and keep this one going. Now, surely you see that I can do a better job than any of them! I have the expertise, the equipment and the DX knowledge to do it. Why won't they leave me alone? I will build a better DX Reflector!"

We took a deep breath and looked at the QRPer for a moment. What could we say? "Build a better reflector and the world will beat a path to your door" we said slowly. "Exactly!" the QRPer said, smiling for the first time, "and I'm glad you see it my way. I can't understand why everyone else doesn't. But I don't care! I'm going to do it." And with that, he was off down the hill, convinced that his way was the only way . . . and the right way. Somehow, we felt that there were other QRPers in other QTHs doing the same thing. As Lord Baden-Powell, the Hero of Mafeking, so well put it, "Be prepared!" And the QRPers were prepared. Of that we were sure. But, for what? A good question.

73/DX Paul VE1DX

FOOTNOTE - From the editorial of the final edition of the West Coast DX Bulletin, 19 July 1979, published for 11 years by my good friend Hugh Cassidy WA6AUD:

Finally they were leaving. One QRPer, the one always dragging in Bartlett's and the abridged version of DXer poetry, hung back a bit and slipped us a note. "I knew what was happening and I wrote this for the group. I hope you'll like it." And then he was gone. The note read....

Let us go then, you and I,
To where the evening meets the sky
To where the yesterdays have gone,
To where the words are always song.

It got us. When we looked again the group was down the hill, about the place where the road enters the trees. They paused there and raised their hands and from down the hill drifted the shout - "DX Is !!" And then they were gone. And we doubted that we would ever see them again. Things had run their course.

And thus it ends ........

73/DX Paul VE1DX

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